Should a gurgling toilet be a cause for concern

Plumbing problem throughout the house - gargling from the shower, bubbling in the toilet, stagnant water in the shower drain

Update below: Main line meandered

For reference pictures of the drain.

I go through the full story in case details could affect the forecast. If you're not interested in the introductory details and just want to skip over the shower part of the way, skip to the Shower heading.

This plumbing incident began in the late evening of January 19th. The apartment has a bathroom with a washbasin, a toilet and a shower cabin. There is also a sink in the kitchen. There are no other devices or devices with water.

My wife took a shower around 9pm. Her shower lasted about an hour. I took a shower around 10:30 pm and my shower lasted about 20 minutes. Everything was good.

I decided to do a few dishes. Hot water only. I did the dishes for about 15 minutes. When I finished, I went to the bathroom. I've since forgotten why. I saw a pool of water that covered about 10 square meters of the bathroom. I figured: Well, that can't be from the shower.Occasionally some water will leak out because the curtain sucks as hell, but this is a pool. I turned on the water in the sink again - cold this time - and nothing happened. I turned it back on to see if that was the problem and saw the toilet leak under the decorative latch caps. Gross.

At this point it is almost midnight. We did some research online to find out what could be causing such an issue and decided to compromise the wax ring. We bought some supplies at a 24 hour Walmart to address this issue. We only had one oatley wax ring to choose from.

Got home and cleaned up all the water. Started my attempt to fix this problem. Took hours. I reassemble the toilet and realize that I need some new screws and washers to connect the tank to the bowl. One of the bolts was covered with silicone sealant that covered it from inside the tank. Go to Lowe. At this point it is like 6 a.m. I am really tired. Get the stuff, come back, install it. I can't get them tight enough or I pulled them too tight and lick them. So much fun. Reseal the toilet, try to get on with life, and maybe they don't even really leak anymore.

We use the toilet, everything seems fine. I turn on the water in the kitchen and again the toilet lets water out of the floor under the decorative caps. What a headache.

We're calling the landlord about the problem after we've tried to resolve it ourselves. She claims she cannot afford a plumber and has to send her handyman, who has proven to be a problem in the complex. Instead, I enlist the help of a neighbor who is well versed in household maintenance. It shows me the mistakes I made installing the wax ring (I didn't want to sit on a dirty toilet after all the work because I touched it, so I just pressed on the back where the tank rests to close trying to seal the wax ring), the screws for the flange, the strength of the screws between the tank and the bowl and informs me that the flange is below the tile level. Since the wax ring is pretty messed up at this point, I'll get a ring without wax. He informs me that the flange is not drilled. He tries to secure it but can't because he doesn't have a cement drill on hand. We continue. He puts the old wax ring under the new wax ring just for extra help, he says. We get everything in place - the bowl is secured and doesn't seem to move when we move from side to side or front to back. The tank is secured, the bottom is caulked, the new hose is securely installed.

We are nervous. We don't turn on the sink in the kitchen for too long except to wash products or our hands. We use the toilet several times. Everything seems fine except that the sink is not being tested.

My wife is trying to take a shower. Within ten seconds of showering, water rises from the drain and covers her feet. Great. Another Problem. It's been a long day so we set out to take a rest from this problem in the morning.

We arrive today, January 21st. We used Drano Max Gel. Full 32 ounce bottle. Waited 30 minutes. Started rinsing with hot water from the shower and water rises in the drain. We turn off the water disappointed. We'll give it another 15 minutes and check it again. No dice. At this point we know that using more chemical drain cleaners is probably unwise, but we are desperate. We get Liquid Plumr Slow-Flow Fighter, 17 ounces. We slowly pour the entire bottle as instructed and wait. We were busy with other things and left it there for 2 hours and 15 minutes. The water rises again and we turn off the water. We know a third batch of chemical drain cleaner would be pointless and extremely harmful, as would the first two. We see water in the tap and think the stagnant water might be because we failed.

We look for alternatives online and opt for boiling water as it's simple enough and it doesn't cost us more than a dime of gasoline. In the first round, the water disappears in the pipe. Okay, maybe another round for a good measure? We try again and the tap is still there. We decide to run the shower and just wait and see if that helps at all. The water rises to about two inches below the top of the drain, but then subsides a little.

We run the hot water for 20 minutes and see some bubbles over a foot down the pipe. It didn't come back up, but the bubbles make us wary. You can also see water if you look down the pipe. Reading online, the water seems to be in the P-trap. The second picture of the album shows a look into the drain with the flash switched on. You can see where the water is in the drain. Is that bad or is it just water in the P-trap?

When can we be sure that this is normal operation? We are afraid to wash dishes, use the toilet, or take a shower. Is there anything else we should do? When you've read this far, thank you.

The toilet began to bubble around an hour or so after using the hot water in the sink for about 5 minutes. I immediately turned off the water and the water in the bowl receded slightly but did not drain more than half of its normal amount. This is the first time that bubbles have appeared in the toilet.

Update : We reused the hot one in the sink and the bubbly went on. We waited for it to subside and for the toilet to fill with water. Immediately turn off the water in the sink. We tried to flush the toilet, it did not drain and water leaked from the floor. We consulted with the neighbor again and he checked out the toilet and fell a bit. When we saw that this wasn't enough, we tried to use a garden hose stuck in the main line to try to squeeze out the clog as we don't have a snake on hand. The immersion had forced the cover from the cleaning on the other side of the bathroom wall along the same line as the toilet. Trying to use the hose to clean the kitchen sink gave no results and began to secure the toilet again. Same results for cleaning compared to the toilet.

Update 2 : Someone came out and snaked the main line. For how big this clog seemed, nothing monumental came out of it. A little hair, a little obstacle could be felt and that was it. Very overwhelming and worried that the problem was not resolved. Are these typical results happening or is there cause for concern whether the problem has been resolved?


Have you flushed the toilet since Tuesday? That seems to tell you a lot about the capacity of your drain.


We flushed the toilet. We turned the water back on in the sink and it began to flow out of the toilet floor. We consulted with the neighbor and tried to run a hose through the main line to clear the blockage as neither of us has a snake on hand and that didn't work. We seem to have narrowed it down to appear to be after the sink, with the toilet farthest away, followed by the shower, sink, and sewer.

Ed Beal

The drain line is likely filled with hair and soap. Chemical drain cleaners, at best, push the clog further down, making things worse in my opinion (now the toilet is secured), with the exception of the "mule kick" that eats metal pipes, and it's me, not sure if it's still available at all is. What you need is a real snake, a small one that goes under the shower, and possibly a larger one that goes under the toilet. Without clearing the clog, this type of snake that you hold and twist in one hand will get worse by pushing it down the drain a little at a time, probably less than 2 or 3 chemical treatments. You should ask the landowner to take care of this problem in case there is a damaged pipe or other problem and you don't take the $ hit for something they should fix.


If you say the obvious, you need a plumber. But even the seedy "craftsman" should be able to snake the drain.


You definitely have some kind of drain blockage. It's your landlord's responsibility to keep the installation going - it doesn't matter if they can't afford it - they'll need to get someone in to fix the problem asap!


If this is the case in the US, it is likely in the US legal Lessor's responsibility to maintain the installation. I assume that this is also the case in most of the first and second world countries. Tell them as sympathetically as you can that if they cannot, you will be forced to involve the health department. Nor can she afford to ignore it.


I only share my personal experiences with a bubbly toilet when I run the sink. (It was just the sink as the shower uses a different drainage system.)

To cut a long story short: the cause was a drain pipe that the "experienced" plumbers installed at an upward angle. I put an old piece of wood underneath to level it out and voila! - No more bubbles singing smelly songs in the pooper.

NOTE: My home does not have external ventilation, as is normally the case with 95% of all homes. (Check for any natural obstructions like leaves, twigs, bird / bee nests, etc.) The only ventilation for the sink / toilet is under the sink. A tube that drops below the sink trap with a threaded vent cap.

Hope your situation has been resolved!

Always check "common sense" ventilation and pressure points before spending money on anything. e.g. rotor routers [when things seem to be going normally] and plumbers [oh, yes! As you can see, your problem is right here - the fluxuator valve on the Discombobulator water regulator is defective. It's an expensive solution, but it will take you a good 10 years!]