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Thread: Just plain weird; , my toilet starts bubbling

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Timothy LaDuca's Avatar
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    Default Just plain weird; , my toilet starts bubbling

    I have had my toilet start bubbling when the washing machine is draining in the spin cycle. While it is bubbling it will not flush. When the bubbling stops the toilet (and any other toilet that I have "test flushed" during this time period) will flush. I've read some other forums online and nobody seems to be having this exact problem. It is not reproducible. It just seems to happen every so often. Now if you think you already know what is going on, wait...
    The other day I was taking a shower in the master bathroom, this drain is farthest from the sewer line (manhole) at the street. The toilet starts going "bloop, bloop, bloop". Large air bubbles are coming out of the toilet. Mind you, nothing else is going on with the plumbing but a small amount if drainage from my low flow shower faucet. Out of curiosity I stepped out of the shower to see if the other toilet was "blooping" air. It wasn't. I returned to the shower and turned it off. The air bubbles stopped. I turned the shower back on and after a moment the toilet started throwing up air bubbles again. I had already done a test flush on the toilet, and that had failed. I didn't test flush the other toilet so I could see if anything strange would happen to it.
    Ok, so then the bubbling stops and there is a mega-flush of the toilet, I mean like a Mach 5 flush. Just incredible suction. The other toilet, which had not been flushed, somehow had some water sucked out of it (about a third of the bowl). But I know it didn't "auto flush" because otherwise there should have been barely any water in the bowl. Would love to hear if anyone has heard of anything like this and if they think they know what is going on. And again it is not reproducible. In other words I can't "make" these symptoms happen. It just does this every so often.
    Last edited by Timothy LaDuca; 08-20-2013 at 06:55 AM. Reason: Typos

  2. #2
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    If you have a Mach 5 flush, be careful how you set on the seat.

    Your output sounds blocked, or it can not handle your load.


    Good luck.
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

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  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Your main sewer is blocked, or partially blocked, so trapped air is "blooping" out of the toilet.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Junior Member Timothy LaDuca's Avatar
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    Which output are you referring to? My rear is OK.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member Timothy LaDuca's Avatar
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    By "trapped air" do you mean sewer gas or just regular old air, definitely doesn't smell like sewer gas. Also, if the main sewer is blocked, how to explain that it drained so forcefully? (I assume it was the main line suddenly draining that caused the incredible suction)

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    In the Trades Jerome2877's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy LaDuca View Post
    By "trapped air" do you mean sewer gas or just regular old air, definitely doesn't smell like sewer gas. Also, if the main sewer is blocked, how to explain that it drained so forcefully? (I assume it was the main line suddenly draining that caused the incredible suction)
    Its a partial blockage or collapse of the main. It will back up until there is enough head pressure to push the solids by the block/collapse. I would recomend a camera inspection.

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    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy LaDuca View Post
    Which output are you referring to? My rear is OK.
    lol.

    The output to your sewer system, is what I was referring to.
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

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  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member Timothy LaDuca's Avatar
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    @ DonL Do you mean the output from the toilet to the main (residential) sewer line or the main sewer line itself?
    Last edited by Timothy LaDuca; 08-20-2013 at 06:51 AM.

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member Timothy LaDuca's Avatar
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    I appreciate everyone's replies, but if it is a partial blockage of the main drain, what explains why I get bubbles in the master bathroom toilet just before the main line clears and drains?

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    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy LaDuca View Post
    @ DonL Do you mean the output from the toilet to the main (residential) sewer line or the main sewer line itself?

    The main line that leaves your house and gos to the city, sounds slow to drain. And you are dumping more water then it can take all at once. That is my best guess not knowing your complete setup it is hard to say for sure.


    Are any of your neighbors having problems ?
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

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  11. #11
    DIY Senior Member dj2's Avatar
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    At this point, I think you better call for a cam inspection too.

  12. #12
    DIY Junior Member Timothy LaDuca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    Are any of your neighbors having problems ?
    I ought to get to know them.

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    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy LaDuca View Post
    I ought to get to know them.

    Might be worth asking.

    We have some houses around here that got Annexed by the city and they are trying to make water run uphill without any pumps.

    For a long time they were tearing up the road replacing sewer pipe.

    Then when it never worked for very long someone finally decided that they needed pumps.

    Then all was good.


    The city or whoever owns your sewer system should know if they are having problems.

    Might be worth checking with them before spending a bunch of money for a camera inspection.


    Good Luck.
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

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  14. #14
    DIY Junior Member Timothy LaDuca's Avatar
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    @DonL That is very interesting. Thank you. When I first moved here I saw the City of Tampa CCTV crews inspecting the closest manhole what seemed liked quite often, I haven't seen them though for a long time. Maybe I should have asked them what they were doing, I doubt it was routine maintenance.

  15. #15
    DIY Junior Member Timothy LaDuca's Avatar
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    I think I figured it out. About 3 months ago my roommate moved out. He had a regular toilet with lots of flow. I use the ultra low flow toilet exclusivey because it flushes so quick. My roommate also tended to use a lot more water than me (longer, more frequent showers) and the both of us would be doing laundry. Now it's just me. So the ratio of solid waste to water has gone way up. I need to waste more water! I did contact the city though.

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