Have you ever seen your toilet bubbling when you run the shower?
This is something that a lot of people may have observed. This is not a great mystery for you to unfold and no, there is no monster living in your sewage system trying to breathe.
But while this is a common occurrence, it is not a normal thing to observe. So, if you are asking, “why is my toilet bubbling when the shower is running,” then you must know that there is something in there that needs to be fixed.
Reasons Why Your Toilet is Bubbling
There are a few specific reasons why your toilet is bubbling. We will be discussing all of them here, so you will know what you are dealing with and how to effectively address it. If you need any help in fixing this problem, do not hesitate to contact a professional plumbing service provider near you.
1. Clogged or Blocked Drain
The most common reason why your toilet is bubbling is that the drain to the main sewer line is blocked. But since the clogged drain problem seems to only happen when your shower is running, high are the chances that these two fixtures are sharing a drain line. Let a professional plumber check this, especially your main sewer line, to be sure.
You must remove that blockage in the drain line to stop your toilet from bubbling. Try to use a toilet drain cleaning solution, whether naturally made or bought from the store, on both the shower drain and the toilet bowl. Do not forget to do the same for the bathtub drain while you are at it.
2. Clogged Toilet Bowl
If the drains are not clogged, then it must be the toilet. A clog in your toilet will create a negative effect on the air pressure, which is why you hear chugging and see some bubbling. Try to flush your toilet and see if the water goes all the way down without any issues. If it does, then the problem could be caused by something else.
Next, open the shower. Let a good amount of water go down the floor drain. Then try to flush the toilet again. Be sure to empty the toilet tank when you do. Do you see some bubbles and hear your toilet gurgle? Then you can assume that you have a gurgling toilet. This tells you that the clog only happens when there is water draining from your shower line. If so, then your toilet may be good, but your vents are blocked.
3. Blocked vents
Drains are normally vented separately. However, for bathroom fixtures, the pipes are very close to each other. Therefore, they are connected to the same plumbing vent that usually goes out to the roof. This concept is called wet venting. Such a setup works well until one drain pipe gets blocked. If it is, then the rest of the fixtures connected to the same vent get affected.
This happens because the air that is pushed out by one plumbing fixture gets sucked into another. Such as in the case of your toilet and shower. So, if you turn your shower and the water starts going to the drain line, the air goes out into the toilet. Hence, the bubbling.
3. Main Line Problem
Drains are the small pipes that connect to the toilet fixtures. The mainline, on the other hand, is the bigger pipe where all these drains are connected. It is also where the hot water from your water heater drains. The main line, in turn connects to the septic tank or the sewer line. If the problem is not with the washer drain but on the main line, then you can expect to pay a little bit more for the repair. More so if it is on the septic system.
This is because the main water and sewer lines are a lot further ahead and are usually located deep into the soil. While there are many modern ways of unclogging the mainline, plumbing experts would have to resolve this problem by digging into the soil to reach your pipes, if all else fails. This is when the job gets more complicated and costly.
You will know that it is a mainline problem if you experience the same thing on almost all pipes in the house including your tankless water heater, kitchen sink drain, and washing machine, not just on the downstairs toilet. But if you can isolate the problem there is a possibility that it is not the main line. Either way, it is best to call a trusted plumbing service provider to check it out for you.
4. Sewer problem
All the wastewater in your home goes into the sewer. The sewer line is maintained on the municipal level. If this is the cause of the problem, then you may not be the only one experiencing the issue. Also, this is something that only the town officials can fix. It may be caused by the sewer gas going back to the main lines. In any case, your town may order a sewer cleanout if several people start complaining about their gurgling pipes.
If you have fixed all the pipes in your home, including the main line, and you are still having the problem, then this is the last thing to check. To know for sure, ask your neighbors if they have experienced the same issue. All of them dump wastewater into the same sewer. So, if it is really the issue, then the entire neighborhood would have the same toilet gurgling woes. You will need a professional plumber for this too. When it comes to sewer issues, there is little you can do. You can’t really do a sewer cleanout by your lonesome, can you?
Things to Do if Your Toilet is Bubbling
The best way to fix a bubbling toilet is to hire a plumbing technician and check on the drains, vents, and sewer lines. However, it does not mean that you can’t do a few handyman tasks yourself if you are so good about fixing things around the house anyway. Here are some good tips:
1. Clear All Clogs
So, the first thing you must do is to find out if you have any clogs in your shower drain or toilet. A toilet clog is easier to spot, as you only need to flush to see if the water will run all the way through. If it doesn’t, then you do have a toilet clog and you must fix that first.
Fixing this toilet clog can be easy. Sometimes, all you need is a toilet auger and a lot of water. If this is the cause of the problem, be mindful not to flush any foreign object into the toilet bowl, including tissue paper, flushable wipes, or any other type of toilet paper ever again. Otherwise, the problem will just happen again and you don’t want that.
2. Check All Vents
Next, check your vents. This is the most common reason why you see your toilet bubbling when the shower is running. You must remove the blockage in the vent pipe, and you may need to get onto the roof to do that. First, you must know where the vent pipe is located, and then find a way to get there safely. Again, the main vent pipe is usually found on the bathroom roof.
Once you have found out where the vents are, check if there is debris or any visible blockages that could be causing the problem. Be sure to remove them immediately. The common debris you will find would be trash and leaves. However, if you see debris deep into the vent and you can’t reach it, call a plumbing professional instead. They would have the necessary tools to remove the blockage safely and securely. You may also have the plumbing service providers cover the vent, so you won’t have to deal with the same issue again.
Hire Professional Plumbers
After reading through this article, you should now understand why you see bubbles on your toilet when your shower is running. This is not a weird phenomenon but an indicator that there is something that you must check in your toilet drain, mainline, or sewer. So go ahead and have some professionals check your plumbing system. They will have the means to follow where the water goes and where it gets blocked.
Do not ignore those bubbles in your toilet because if you do, the problem may get worse. If that happens, it will be more difficult to fix the issue, not to mention expensive and time-consuming. You surely do not want to wait until that toilet bubble inconveniences you drastically before you act on it. Best to have the toilet gurgling problem corrected as soon as possible so you can use your toilet and your shower comfortably again. Get the best plumbing services in your area today.