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Post By Admin
July 4, 2024
Why Are My Drains Gurgling? Causes + The Fixes

Does a gurgling from your drain mess up your quiet homebody moments? 

While a gurgling drain is not serious in some cases, it could point to severe plumbing issues, especially if you ignore it, thinking the unpleasant chorus will subside on its own. The next thing you know, it’s an overflowing drain.

As a homeowner, you would want to avoid expensive house repairs. Hence, fixing your blocked drains when the gurgling starts is better than digging up the broken pipes. 

But before you jump into some DIY actions, let’s find out how gurgles form.

What Causes Gurgling Drain?

Gurgling is caused by a blocked drainage system. When a single or several clogs occur, they interrupt the streamline of water and air, causing air bubbles to surface and producing a gurgling noise. 

Gurgling drains commonly occur in the kitchen sink, shower, bathtub, and floor, sometimes requiring an easy fix. However, persistent drain gurgling could suggest a bigger problem in your house that needs help from professional Melbourne plumbers.

Now, let’s answer the question, “Why are my drains gurgling?”

1. Partially Blocked Drain

checking blocked toilet

As mentioned, a clogged drain, including partial clogs, makes a gurgling noise. A partial blockage slows down the water flow, whether in the bathtub or a sink. In no time, the drain will bubble and create an unpleasant gurgle.

2. Completely Blocked Drain

Plumber for blocked drain in Melbourne

Meanwhile, a completely blocked drain will cause water to stop flowing and gradually rise in your sink. This blockage usually happens when a partial clog is not properly addressed. 

Thus, it’s important to identify the gurgling and fix your drain quickly before it clogs up completely. If you’re unsure how to fix gurgling pipes, never hesitate to call a plumber!

The buildup of hair, dead skin, toilet paper, oil, dirt, and even residue from your soap and shampoo contributes to clogging and can lead to a smelly bathroom drain. To avoid asking questions like “How to unblock the shower drain?” be cautious about what goes down your regularly used drains.

3. Clogged Venting System

Clogged venting system

If strange sounds continue to come from your drain, the problem could be with the blocked vent system. 

A healthy venting system allows air to pass through drains without disrupting water flow. If you’re unfamiliar, vents are narrow pipes placed outside the house, unlike regular drain pipes. Vents are open-ended, so when they become clogged, air will be trapped, resulting in an ineffective drainage system.

There are simple ways to diagnose a blocked vent system. Firstly, listen for any weird noises. Then, run the water and check how fast it drains. Remember, slow drainage is a telltale sign of a clog! Finally, sniff your drain to see if bad odors are coming out.

4. Sewer Line Trouble

Sewer line getting a repair

It’s a clear sign of a troubled main sewer line when all the drains in the house gurgle together. For instance, when you wash your hands in the bathroom, the kitchen sink and the shower start to make water-gurgling sounds. 

Typically placed underground, the sewer line is a large main pipe carrying wastewater away from all drains in your house to the septic tank. It can be restricted by tree roots that grow into it in search of water, causing the sewer line to break. Broken pipes can also contribute to blockages.

Bathroom habits also play a huge role in sewer line clogs. Be mindful not to flush hygiene products, diapers, or anything besides toilet paper. If you’re wondering why your drains are gurgling, this could be the first to check!

As this plumbing issue involves the main line, you should seek expert assistance from trusted plumbers. Note that repairing the sewer line can be costly.

5. Blocked or Damaged P-Trap

Blocked p-trap

The P-Trap is a piece of curved pipe usually found below the sink. However, in some cases, this curved pipe may be underground or built into your wall. 

The U-shaped pipe creates a water seal to prevent sewer gas from entering your drains. This prevents foul odors from spreading in your house. How can you tell if your P-Trap is blocked or damaged? If your nose detects an unpleasant sewage smell, your P-Trap might be improperly installed or damaged. It’s a good time to have it fixed or replaced.

How Do You Fix a Gurgling Drain?

There are a few quick methods to fix minor gurgling sinks at home.

First, the blockage can be located by testing for slower drainage. Does it occur throughout the entire house or only in a specific fixture, like the shower? This initial task is straightforward; you don’t need to be a pro to know how to fix a gurgling shower drain yet.

If the problem is in one area, use a plunger, rinse the sink with a drain cleaner, or try a simple hack that often resolves it—pour boiling water down the drain using a kettle! The vinegar and baking soda duo will also work as an alternative to drain cleaner.

If the problem is with the venting system, you can try to clear the debris clogging the vents by hosing them or using a plumbing snake. However, this method is more applicable to vents within walls, such as those near the kitchen or bathroom. 

For roof vents, we recommend preparing safety gear or, for the safest option, calling a professional. This also applies to more severe plumbing issues, like broken sewer lines!


Gurgling drains indicate a blockage in your house pipes, which is normally caused by a partially or completely clogged drain, blocked vent, troubled main sewer line, or damaged P-Trap.

If only one sink gurgles, you can quickly fix it with materials available at home, like a kettle with boiling hot water, drain cleaner, vinegar, and baking soda. 

When the issue affects multiple drains or involves main pipelines that require extra attention, prioritise safety and avoid attempting to fix it yourself. 

Instead, contact Neighbourhood Plumbing to discuss your plumbing needs and learn more insightful tricks to prevent the same issue from happening again.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Why Is My Sink Gurgling but Not Blocked?

The noise comes from trapped air passing through a narrow path caused by delicate debris like rice, coffee grounds, and pet fur.

2. What Is Gurgling in Pipes?

Gurgling in pipes is the first sign of a blocked drain, a clogged vent system, or even a serious issue with the main sewer line. 

3. How To Stop Bath Gurgling?

Using a plunger and a snake can effectively free your bathtub drain from blockages. If these methods don’t work, you might want to have plumbers check your air vent.

4. Why Does My Toilet Gurgle When I Flush but Not Clogged?

This happens when air escapes from the sewer lines. Without any significant clogs, the weird sound often calms down on its own as the air pressure gets back to normal.

5. Why Does My Sink Gurgle When I Flush?

When clogs are likely to hinder the flow of water and air in multiple areas, it is advisable to seek advice from professional plumbers.

About the Author

Ricky Rizz

From unclogging the toughest drains to repairing leaking toilets, Ricky is a seasoned plumber who has brought his craftmanship to homes across Melbourne. He is passionate about sharing plumbing tips just as much as he is about fixing your plumbing issues. So, when your taps or pipes begin leaking, you know who to call.

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