Strange gurgling or burping sounds emanating from your home's plumbing can point to a potential problem within the drain system. The sounds are usually associated with slowly draining toilets, tubs and sinks. Slow-draining systems are prone to complete backups, which could cause damage to your home. Avoid the additional headaches and costs — repair your drain system before it fails.
Plumbing vents — the stacks you see protruding through your roof — are a critical component in your home's drainage. The strategically placed vents provide adequate airflow for your plumbing to drain properly. If the vents become clogged, the reduced airflow makes your plumbing drain slowly, causing strange noises as it gasps for air.
Gurgling sounds also can happen when large objects pass through the system or the diameter of the pipe is inadequate. Flushing large objects through the system may create a high-pressure zone in front of the object. When this happens, the high-pressure zone pushes air out of fixture traps, causing the strange sounds.
Leaves, twigs and other debris often fall into a vent stack and create a blockage. Clearing a blocked vent stack requires that it be snaked and the blockage removed. After clearing the line, your home's plumbing system can breathe again; this should reduce or eliminate the sounds.
To prevent high-pressure zones, reduce the amount of waste — toilet paper — flushed through the system whenever possible. You can also reduce the flushing power of the toilet to slow down the water. Severe cases may require increasing the diameter of the drainpipe. This is especially common in homes with older plumbing where sediment has built up over time, reducing the diameter of drainpipes.
Install wire screens over your vent stacks to prevent blockages. This simple solution will prevent leaves and other organic matter from clogging them. You should also schedule an annual cleaning with a professional plumber who specializes in hydro jetting. Hydro jetting uses high-pressure streams of water to clean the inside of your drain lines. By removing the built-up sediment and debris, your plumbing will drain more easily, reducing the chance of gurgling.
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