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Gurgling Drain

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  • Gurgling Drain

    I have recently noticed that in recent days I am hearing a gurgling sound in my bathtub drain when I flush the toilet and also run the water in the sink. I haven't detected any slow draining or backing up. This is an old house with three bathrooms on three levels. The gurgling is the bath in the middle level. There is a 4" soil stack from the toilet through the roof in the wall of this room. The drain from the tub and lav. goes into a 4" iron soil line heading to the septic tank. My washing machine drains at this mid-level as well, and I have had no back up or overflow, but I don't think the noisy drain is normal. I hate to wait till I have something overflow before I do anything, but I am uncertain what I should do. Any suggestions?

  • #2
    Sounds like you have a partially clogged drain line. As time goes by this will get nothing but worse until you eventually have a back-up.

    The easiest fix, if it works, would be to pour some drain cleaner down the bathtub drain. Let it sit overnight and in the morning run hot water down the tub drain. If that doesn't break up the clog, you'll need to have the drain line augered out.
    I decided to change calling the bathroom the "John" and renamed it the "Jim". I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.


    • #3

      Its possible that you have a drain line that is starting to clog. Its also possible that you have an old drum trap where the vent is the same level or close to the same level as the outlet of the trap. If that old drum trap is getting plugged up it can also cause the gurgle you are hearing when other fixtures drain.

      Do you have teenagers who use the drain in question, particularly teenage girls. I don't know how they have any hair on their bodies because they have plugged up more drains with hair than all other age groups of both sexes combined.

      If your plumbing system is as old as it sounds be very careful with any drain cleaner you use. Corrosives will damage pipes regardless what those labels say and the enzyme and bacteria cleaners can expose existing problems currently held together with gunk. If you do decide on a drain cleaning treatment please follow ALL of the manufacturers recommendations. The fumes from some of them can be very harmful. Be aware that if the cleaners succeed in knocking a chunk of gunk loose it may end up stopping the drain completely.

      Due to the age of your home and probable age of your plumbing system I would reccommend having a plumber check this out. It is very easy to put a hole in aged cast iron, lead, or galvanized drain pipe.

      One other thing, in many older homes an access panel was built behind the head of a tub in a closet or pantry. Check to see if you have one, if so open it and you might be able to tell what type of tub trap you have and if you are really lucky there might even be a clean out to access your tub drain.
      Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.