Sunrise Specialty » Why Your Toilet Bubbles When Washer Drains (5 Reasons)

Why Your Toilet Bubbles When Washer Drains (5 Reasons)

If you hear gurgles or similar sounds in a toilet drain or sink drain, it means that the air is escaping the pipes. If it is gurgling while washing clothes, it means that your washing machine is pushing air back through the tube. However, if you block the toilet drain, it will still find a way to get out through the nearest available pipe.

That way, you have temporarily stopped it from draining, but you haven’t found the root of the problem. Sooner or later, it would show up again. There are several reasons why it might happen. In this article, we will tell you what you should do if you notice toilet bubbles when the waster drains.

The reasons why Toilet Bubbles When Washer Drains

1. Partial clogs

Partial clogs

If the main drain on the washing machine has just a partial clog, it is most likely to cause gurgles. It can happen when the machine drains water since the path is restricted and will force both air and water to go back through the pipe.

It will still allow the water to flow but at a different rate. That will cause the backflow to occur. Although most sink drains won’t be affected immediately, the bathtub will allow both the water and trapped air to run out of the pipe. It will cause gurgling, which is the sound of the air while escaping the pipes.

2. Connected drains

That is another reason that might cause gurgling and bubbles.  It might not cause gurgling when the washer drains but might produce those sounds while you wash the clothes. For example, the fixture might be between the soil stack and the toilet. It can cause its drain to tie into the drain of the toilet.

On the other hand, a fixture and a toilet might tie into the same stack. If that happens, it means that a fixture and a toilet have the same venting, and it might be the cause of gurgling and toilet bubbles. It’s called “wet venting.”

3. Blocked vents

Blocked vents are one of the most common causes of gurgles that you might hear in a toilet drain. Even if they are only partially blocked, they will develop a negative pressure which will pull the air from all the possible openings.

It happens since water forms some “seal” while going through the pipes, and pushes air while creating a vacuum behind. That vacuum can be strong enough to draw air through the flushing toilet, which will then create a gurgling sound.

Note that hearing gurgling sounds can never be right. If that happens, the vacuum might pull the water out of the trap and expose the bathroom with sewer gases. In case you have noticed a strange, unpleasant odor, this might be the cause.

4. Clogged vent pipe

Clogged vent pipe

In case you didn’t know, and most people don’t, a vent pipe is a vertical pipe that goes to the roof. The problem is that most vent pipes have no cover, which allows animals and dirt to fall into the opening.  Basically, when the pipe gets clogged, air will have only a few escape routes.

The fact is that airflow is necessary to allow water to drain correctly. It is not that much important for sinks and tubs since they use much less pressure. However, when it comes to the toilet drains, like the ones of a clothes washer, much higher airflow is required.

If the pipe gets clogged, it will force the air back out of the drain to the nearest possible opening. In most cases, that opening is a toilet drain, which will then produce gurgling sounds.

5. Improper washer drain

If nothing from the above is the problem, you might want to check if your washer drain works properly. There is more possibility that gurgling will happen if you use a washing machine, then a laundry sink. It’s because a washing machine releases air much quicker and under higher pressure.

The main problem is that the drain might not be correctly installed on the washing machine.  Most people don’t pay too much attention when manually installing the pipes, which should be done by the plumber.

The fact is that the pipes need to be the right length, size, and diameter to work correctly. If they are set up wrong, it might happen that the air won’t be able to reach into the pipes. That will, in most cases, cause gurgling and toilet bubbles.

How to stop the gurgles?

Most probably, your washing machine doesn’t have a proper drain system. It might be either a problem with drains or the way that they are connected. That should be fixed immediately, and when it’s set, you will notice that the gurgling will stop.

If you have a problem with drains and their connection, you might have noticed issues such as slow draining, water on the floor, and, as mentioned, gurgling sounds.

Usually, all of these problems can be solved by simply installing a 2-inch drain with a P-trap and doing a few minor changes. If that doesn’t help, you might need to climb on the roof and spray water into the main vent stack to clear any possible obstacles.

How to remove the clogs?

How to remove the clogs 1

If you hear any gurgling sounds, it can be that you have clogged pipes. In that case, you will need to remove the clogs to make it work properly.

By using a snake or an air bladder, you will be able to force any clogs from the drain into the larger pipe. It will open the flow of water, and almost immediately solve the problem. You can purchase the plumber snake in any hardware store, so you won’t have to worry about paying for the professional plumber.

The whole process is straightforward. You don’t have to be a professional or experienced DIY guy to do that. In case you run into any problems, or even better, before you start doing that, be sure to check out this video. It is briefly and clearly explained how to do it properly.

How does drain system work?

It might be handy to understand how a drain system works. When you have followed all the basics, you will be able to improvise and make the system even better and more suited for your home.

No matter if your home is on a sewer or septic system, the systems in your home will, in basic, be the same. It is also good to understand that drainage systems don’t depend on pressure, but the supply systems do. You shouldn’t confuse these two.

The actual plumbing system consists of two smaller systems. One is used to bring fresh water, and the other one to take out the wastewater. The water that comes in is under pressure since it also needs to reach upstairs.

When the water comes into your home, it passes through a special meter that measures how much you have used. There is also an emergency valve right next to the meter. If the pipe breaks, it will flood your house in no time. It is crucial to react fast in that case and use the valve to prevent the water from coming in.

Every system consists of vents, traps, and cleanouts. The vents, which are on the roof of your house, allow the air to enter the pipes. They are essential since, without them, wastewater won’t be able to flow out properly.

Traps are also vital components, and you can usually find them below every sink. Every fixture must have a trap. However, toilets are self-trapped, and you won’t need to install any additional trap.

When it comes to bathtubs, note that they have drum traps. Their role is to secure you against the sewer gas, but also to collect hair and any possible dirt that might clog the pipes. For the drain system to work correctly, every single element of the system must be working correctly, too. If any component fails, it will have an impact on the whole drain system.

Also, be sure to check out this video. It will briefly explain to you how a sewer system works. If you plan to do any repairing, be sure to check out and understand the video.

A few words in the end

As you might have noticed, toilet bubbles and gurgling might happen for several reasons. Be sure to check all the stuff that we mentioned to be able to diagnose where is the problem. The first thing that you should check is if the drain pipes are clogged. If they are not, then check all the other things that we mentioned.

Note that, no matter if you have a dual flush toilet, a flushing toilet, or a Toto toilet, a drain system will be the same. Also, make sure that you watch the video that we provided before you start repairing your drain system. If you are still not sure how to do it, it is advised to call the plumber.

Have you managed to fix toilet bubbles and gurgling? Do you have any additional questions? Please let us know in the comments below.