That telltale glug-glug sound in your bathroom is rarely a welcome discovery.
Plumbing Vent Blockage
Blockages in your plumbing vents can develop over time and cause these types of sounds. The vents are meant to (among other things) let air in so water can flow through the pipes at a steady rate without pressure problems.
It’s similar to the pinhole on your coffee mug, which lets air in so that the hot coffee doesn’t come out in glugs and burn you.
If you know for sure that you haven’t heard the gurgling sound before, that means it’s a recent problem, which makes blockage a likely candidate.
Since plumbing vents are typically located on the roof, it’s best to let a professional handle this problem.
If you’ve just moved in and you’ve heard gurgling in your bathroom the entire time you’ve been there, you face another possibility.
Perhaps the venting system simply isn’t adequate for the plumbing you have.
You’ll need a professional to determine whether this is the problem, though. In this scenario, you’d need some professional plumbing vent work done.
Another symptom of drain problems, along with the noises, is that your drains may tend to drain slowly and clog easily.
A hairball in the shower drain can clog up your drain line effectively even if your plumbing vents are in perfect working order. And it’s easier to do than you might expect.
Even if you don’t notice dozens of hairs dropping into the drain when you wash your hair, you’d be surprised at how much your drain can collect.
Try a catch screen on the shower drain to reduce clogging.
Clogs and partial clogs can also happen in the sink and cause gurgling sounds there.
If the gurgling sound is localized to one fixture, it’s more likely to be a problem — such as a clog — with that particular drain, whereas a more generalized problem can mean clogged vents, sewer line problems, or other less localized issues.
Sewer Line Clogs
Sewer line clogs are no fun. In addition to causing odd sounds in multiple areas of the plumbing system, these clogs can also cause odd smells, slow drainage in multiple locations, water backed up into the tub, and fixtures that seem to be affecting each other.
A P-trap is a bent section of pipe that holds water, like the one under kitchen sinks.
There should be one installed underneath your shower or bathtub as well. But if it’s not there — or if it’s damaged and needs repair — you can get gurgling sounds from your shower.
If the P-trap is the only problem, you’re probably only going to hear gurgling from the shower/bathtub and not from the toilet or sink. Of course, you can’t diagnose it based solely on that.
The symptoms can be similar to other problems — such as a shower drain clog — so it’s best to get these issues professionally diagnosed.
These five issues can all cause gurgling sounds in your bathroom plumbing.
Some of them can also cause much bigger problems, such as flooding and other health hazards, so don’t delay in calling for repairs.