When heavy rains come, you may find your toilet gurgling and bubbling. Not only is this unsanitary and disturbing, but it also can create a considerable mess in your restroom. What do you do about your toilet gurgling after heavy rain, and is your septic tank to blame?
If you’ve been dealing with this issue, we’re here to help. Read on for some of the most common causes of the issue and how to fix the problem. Afterward, we’ll discuss some steps you can take to prevent this problem in the future!
When you only have this issue during rain, it’s easy to blame the rain for the problem – and you’re almost definitely correct! Here are the three causes of a toilet gurgling after heavy rain comes.
Naturally, rainwater affects the toilet. When heavy rainfall comes, the excess water drains off the streets and yards and into the sewer system. Most often, this isn’t an issue at all!
However, in the case of extreme rainfall, you may find that the sewers can’t contain all the water falling. The excess rain can back up sewer lines and wastewater systems as there’s simply nowhere else for it to go.
When this occurs, you may experience your toilet bubbling – this is sometimes excess rainwater coming up through your pipe, which explains any smell or debris you may experience.
That said, it’s highly uncommon for waste to wash back up to your toilet (if it does, check out our post ‘Toilet Flushes But Waste Comes Back‘). Still, the excess rain is the most likely cause of your toilet having this occur. If it’s only a symptom you experience during heavy rainfall, this is likely your cause.
Keep an eye out to see if it happens when there isn’t rain. If you experience your toilet gurgling when there hasn’t been rain to cause it, your problem is something else.
Clogged Sewer Line
Along with the rainfall, you may experience a clogged sewer line. This clog could be local and caused by you or your family flushing things they weren’t supposed to. Another common cause is issues or complications with the pipes.
If a sewer line isn’t flowing properly, it’s easier for it to become bogged down by the excess rain. You may find that you experience the gurgling toilet issue more frequently as rainstorms come through.
The best way to discover if this is the problem is to use a toilet snake or camera. Attempt to spot and dislodge any blockage. If this is beyond your reach or ability, contact a professional!
Severe Air Restriction
A third (and least likely) issue is severe air restriction – this is often a symptom of issues like a clogged sewer line.
As the air becomes stuck in your pipe with no recourse, it could flow upward to your toilet instead. When this happens, the resurfacing air causes bubbling, gurgling, and splashing.
If there’s no debris or if your reservoir is filling slowly, you may have air to blame. As before, contact a professional plumber to see what the true issue is. Doing so can prevent misdiagnosis and allow you to fix the problem quickly.
How to Fix
Now that we know some of the most common causes of this problem, what’s the best fix? There are a few different tricks you can try. Here’s the best way to go about fixing the issue when your toilet begins gurgling.
One of the first steps you should take is to consult any neighbors you’re comfortable talking with. You aren’t looking for advice or know-how, but to see if they’re experiencing the problem as well!
If your neighbors are also suffering from this issue, you can reliably say that it isn’t a problem solely with your property. Instead, the excess rainwater is likely bogging down one of the community sewers or mainline waste pipes.
Unfortunately, this also makes it harder for you to fix the issue yourself. You may need to wait for your city or local government to handle the problem. They’ll need to repair, replace, or otherwise work on core sewage and wastewater systems that are beyond your reach.
If your neighbors aren’t dealing with this problem, you can safely say it isn’t a community issue. You can move on to try to find the issue in another area.
When dealing with any issue of this nature, it’s a good idea to contact a professional service. Plumbing is a difficult profession and not one that you can always reliably approach with a do-it-yourself attitude.
While some problems are simple enough for the average homeowner, more advanced issues require more advanced skills! A professional will also have access to tools and equipment that you aren’t able to obtain.
Look into local plumbing services. If you rent or live in an apartment, consider contacting your landlord. They can look into the issue for you and provide you with a reliable contact for a good plumbing service.
Unclog the Pipe
In some minor cases, you can sometimes deal with the clog yourself. This is primarily the case if it’s a minor clog that’s far up in the waste pipe. Most commonly, this is from flushing something that shouldn’t have been flushed.
Use a plumbing snake to dislodge the clog, if possible. There are other tools that your local hardware store may carry that can also help.
If you’re able to dislodge any clogs, this could fix the issue. If not, you should contact professionals.
You may also not find any clogs! If this is the case, it’s either beyond your reach or not the cause of the problem.
Wait Out the Storm
Unfortunately, there are times when you aren’t able to do anything. If the issue is your community’s sewer system, this will likely prove true.
In this situation, all you can do is wait out the rainfall. Put towels near your toilet that you don’t mind soaking up toilet water with. Try to minimize any mess and avoid using the toilet when possible to prevent any unfortunate waste accidents.
How to Avoid
What are some ways you can avoid this problem? If it’s a community system, there aren’t many ways you can impact the problem. Here are two easy ways to keep your sewer system working as well as possible.
Only Flush Toilet Paper
Flushing anything other than toilet paper is never a good idea. Even if it’s something you believe is safe for your toilet, it’s best to avoid it.
Many will use flushable wipes, which is understandable! However, many expert plumbers agree that flushable wipes are less flushable than advertised. Consider using different products that more easily dissolve or flush away.
Some homeowners don’t think to do maintenance on their drains. You should keep the pipes of your toilet as clean as the toilet itself!
Use chemical cleaners to flush away any built-up sediment or gunk in your pipes (for more information on sediment in your toilet bowl, read here). Doing so frequently can help keep the drains clear and safe when rainwater comes.
When you experience your toilet gurgling after heavy rain, the sanitation concerns and inconvenience are frustrating. Do your best to unclog the pipe and keep up proper maintenance while you wait out the rain. When in doubt, always contact a professional plumbing service. They have the knowledge and tools to help you with your plumbing issue!
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