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Thread: Hearing Gurgling In Other Pipes When Toilets Flushed

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    DIY Junior Member
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    Default Hearing Gurgling In Other Pipes When Toilets Flushed

    This week I noticed for the first time that I can hear a gurgling sound in my upstairs shower drain whenever any of the toilets are flushed, dishwasher or washer drains. No water is backing up and the sound goes away after a few seconds.

    Does this mean the main line is starting to back up? We've lived in this house over 8 years and it's never done this before.

    I should also mention that we recently had our roof replaced and one of the downspouts appears to go into our patio slab and I assume into the sewer. The roofers spent time cleaning the gutters but I didn't check them right after they finished.

    I'd really like to hear from somebody who knows this stuff if there is anything I can do or should have looked at. We've had the crawlspace inspected recently and there is no sign of leakage.

  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default sound

    If you use the shower frequently, then the only way it could happen is if you have a poor, and improperly installed, drain system. If you do NOT use it, then the trap is dried out and what you hear is water draining in the piping and you have to run the shower for a few seconds, and redo it every week or so.

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    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Default

    Is the gurgling air coming into or out of the fixtures, it could be several different problems, or a combination of 2 problems ...but that would be rare...try doing what hj said if the fixtures are rarely used...

    do you have a septic tank...?

    there is 1 other possibility but it would be a long shot...if the roofers used a roof vent as a trash can you could have a venting problem...

    How old is the house...?

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    Default Gurgling Sounds in Upstairs Shower Drain

    Hi Cass and hj,

    Thanks for your quick reply.

    The shower in question has been out of commission for over a month because it needs recaulking. There is a wad of hair in the immediate drain that also needs to be removed.

    The fixtures do not have the sound. Only the upstairs shower drain. My main concern is that sewage is backing up into the outer lines.

    We do not have a septic system. It's city sewer.

    The house is 1987.

    Should I just clean out the drain and dump a bucket of water down it to see if that does it?

    My other thought was about the vent and garbage but they did seem very conscientious about cleaning up.

    What's your best guess?

    Thanks again,

    Jeff

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default drain

    You just diagnosed your own problem. IF the shower was not used for even two weeks the trap would dry out and cause the sound. I usually find it in tubs or showers when I flush the toilet and hear the water flushing in their drains. A couple of cups of water and the problem is solved for two weeks at least.

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    hj,

    Thanks so much.

    I'll pour some water down the drain and see if that does it.

    I'm just glad it's not more serious than that.

    As you can tell I'm a complete novice when it comes to understanding the plumbing of a house.


    I'll check back to let you know how it goes.

    Jeff

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    hj,

    Problem solved. Thanks a bunch.

    It really helps to work with people who know their stuff.

    Best,

    Jeff

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default assistance

    It also helps that you are in TN and I am in AZ, otherwise I might have given you my phone number and then came there and ran the faucet myself. I am not completely altruistic.

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    LOL

    Thanks again.

    Jeff

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    DIY Junior Member rt's Avatar
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    Default awesome info

    reading these threads here and learning a lot - thanks to all those lending their expertise.

    I have a comment / question on the fix provided here - I watch those TV shows (house hunters, etc.) where I constantly see people buying these (IMHO) ridiculously big houses with so many bathrooms that some likely rarely see much use. So if a trap can dry out in a couple weeks, what happens when someone does not know this - are they unwittingly letting sewer gasses vent back into their space? Curious....

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    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Yes.........

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    DIY Junior Member rt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cass View Post
    Yes.........
    geez - who knew? (I mean, unless you're a plumber, or lucky enough to trip over this kind of info otherwise...).

    I'd almost want to snicker at those guys who dump their 2 -1/2 bath 2300 sq ft home 'cause it's "not big enough for their 2 kids anymore"- but no joke at the expense of anyone's health.

    What do you do / recommend? Stoppers in all the unused fixture drains? Would this even matter with things like overflows?

    Sorry to ramble on about this but honestly it's something I never would have even thought of in a million years and it's kinda scary (especially with a kid who has severe allergies / sensitivities...).

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    DIY Junior Member rt's Avatar
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    sorry - just re-read the part about running shower every week or so -which I guess answers my last question.

    still if people don't know....

    thanks again

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    DIY Senior Member seaofnames's Avatar
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    Canola oil or some other cooking oil wouldnt dry out, and would be easily flushed when the shower is used.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Default

    I know a few people with five bathrooms, for just two people.

    Whenever I go into someones home to do plumbing, I run water into the soaking tub.
    I assume those never get used, so the traps are likely to have dried out.

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