If your toilet gurgles or burps every time you flush, you might assume something's wrong with the toilet's flushing system. However, the strange sounds might actually be signs of a much bigger problem, including a clogged main vent stack pipe. Clogs can develop in your main vent stack pipe and indirectly affect your toilet over time.
With this guide, you'll learn how a clogged stack affects your toilet and what you can do to clear out the stack safely and properly.
What's Really Going On With Your Toilet?
The main vent stack is a special pipe found in the center of your home. The stack connects to the main waste stack in the house and exits out of the roof near your bathroom or close to your kitchen. The pipe looks similar to a tree with many branches. Each branch is a drainage line that connects directly to your kitchen, laundry room, bathroom or basement.
The vent stack pipe eliminates smelly sewer odors from the plumbing system to allow fresh air into the system. The air creates pressure inside the plumbing system that allows wastewater to flow through the pipes. If something blocks the vent stack pipe's opening on the roof, the toilet won't have enough air pressure to empty the bowl, preventing water flow.
A small amount of air can also get trapped inside the toilet's drainage system. Air can rise to the water's surface in the form of bubbles, or air can "burp" its way out of the compromised drainage pipe. You may even notice changes in your toilet's water level. The water may intermittently rise and lower.
Toxic sewer gases can enter your home if the air or water inside the toilet's drainage pipe gets too low. If you detect sewer odors in the bathroom or house, contact a plumbing specialist for an emergency visit.
What Next Steps Should You Take?
You should never attempt to clear out a clogged vent stack pipe without a professional plumber's help or input, as you could fail to completely solve the problem or injure yourself.
Because vent stack clogs can affect multiple locations in the plumbing system over time, a plumber will generally focus on your entire plumbing system instead of just one or two areas. The plumber's thorough investigation will ensure all clogs are disposed of.
Another reason a plumber is the best person to call is that the main vent stack pipe is sometimes located on the roof. Depending on the type of roofing system you have, the stack pipe could sit in a place you can't reach safely, such as on a steep incline or slippery slope. A plumber will know how to reach the pipe and can safely ascend your roof.
Most professionals use cameras to examine plumbing lines. If the clog moved down the vent stack pipe or into another area of the plumbing system, a camera can reveal the problem. A plumber will most likely access the vent and then clear it out with a plumbing snake. If necessary, a plumber can cover the pipe's opening with a vented cap to prevent future clogging.
After the contractor removes the clog and clears the vent pipe, they may check your toilet to see whether it needs repairs. Sometimes, poorly vented toilets have a buildup of debris which can make them unsafe to use. If a plumber finds these issues, they can take care of them for you.
If you're ready to solve the mystery behind your gurgling toilet or obtain services now, contact the specialists at Coastal Plumbing, Inc. for an appointment. We'll be happy to help you.