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Toilet bubbling/gurgling sometimes clogs with normal size bowel movement

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shmerls

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I live in an apartment building built in 2006 on the first floor. My Master toilet is sensitive and clogs more than any toilet I've ever had. I've changed to single ply toilet paper. Every few months the toilet will start to gurgle/bubble even when we haven't used the toilet. Like last night at 11pm and again this morning at 10am. I have a guest bath that has the same toilet as the Master which never clogs or gurgles. I've had the Master snaked with a 6 ft Ridged auger about 6 times and yet the Master still can't reliably be used for BMs and every few months it will just start gurgling. I think I heard the upstairs neighbor flush this morning and then my Master started to gurgle. I've read that gurgling can be caused by a blockage in the toilet (which I doubt because this toilet is flushing perfectly without any slowness), or the Vent, or a clog farther down the line ever outside the building sometimes. I'm trying to figure out a logical way to diagnose this. The cheapest way is to snake the toilet ($210), or pull the toilet and snake further down the line, check the Vent for animal nests, etc., call the city to check the pipe line. Does anyone have some input on a good way to logically diagnose these clogging and gurgling problems? Thanks so much. Steven
 

Jeff Handy

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Sounds like there is a partial clog in the sewer line your toilet dumps into.
That is a problem for building maintenance to deal with, not you.
Contact your landlord or association.
 

shmerls

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Thank you Jeff. I’ve been wrestling with my Condo Board on and off for a year now whenever the gurgling acts up again, which usually has no relation to my toilet being flushed as I’ve never flushed it and then had the gurgling start. On the contrary, the gurgling only happens when my toilet is not in use. The Board believed the problem is coming from my toilet, which is impossible since I’ve never flushed it and then had the gurgling start. Frustrating. I really don’t want to have to get a lawyer involved in this. No what I mean? Thanks, Steven
 

Jeff Handy

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Hire a licensed plumber, have him pull your toilet and rod the drain as far as he can from there.
In Chicago area, I think that would be approx $250 to $400.
Maybe pay extra for camera inspection first, as solid evidence of a remote clog or obstruction not in your toilet or your fault.
Cheaper than hiring a lawyer.
Have him write a brief report explaining the problem, that it was not your toilet, that one of the common building drains was partially clogged, not a problem with your individual unit.
Assuming a clog is found and eliminated, deduct the plumber’s fee from your next rental payment.
If there is push back, then hire a lawyer with your solid written and video evidence of negligence of duty by the Board.
 

CT18

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Can you put a few gallons of water in a bucket and get a good flush by pouring it into the bowl instead of flushing. I have seen many times where the holes around the bowl clog up and dont allow the proper amount of water in to complete the flush
 

shmerls

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Hi CT18, I've done this and the water did flush perfectly. But flushing isn't the problem this time. It's the bubbling and gurgling. Since Pouring the water down the bowl however, the gurgling has stopped. Does that mean it's fixed do you think?

Best, Steven
 

shmerls

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Can you put a few gallons of water in a bucket and get a good flush by pouring it into the bowl instead of flushing. I have seen many times where the holes around the bowl clog up and dont allow the proper amount of water in to complete the flush
I followed your directions and the big pale of water went down the drain properly. Does this mean if there was any blockage that it is now possibly, or probably cleared out now?
 

CT18

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Give it a test ride and see how it performs. If it were me i would be replacing the toilet if it is OG builder grade from when the building was built. I would also have a sewer machine lined up when the toilet change happens they could run a camera or snake in the line and see if there are any blocks.
 

shmerls

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Thanks. I poured a large bucket of water and it went down fast as hoped and I haven't heard any gurgling since. I also have a Ridgid 6' auger snake but since we hadn't use the toilet we couldn't have blocked it so your idea seemed easy and why not? So we'll keep an eye on it. Question, can a toilet create all that air that I saw coming up from the bowl? It seemed like all that air would have to come up from the pipes lower in the system. Can the toilet do this?
 

Jeff Handy

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The air gurgling is probably because the drain is partially blocked, down the line from your toilet.

When someone above you flushes, the flushed water falls down the drain line and creates pressure, which gets released by coming up through your toilet.

Then as the flushed water drains away, it needs air behind it to break the vaccuum, so it sucks air from your toilet, by sucking out the water to get air.

Just dumping in plain water, which flushes ok, shows that the drain line blockage is only partial.
Water gets past it easily.
But poop and paper have to squeeze through the narrowed drain.

You may as well try your six foot auger, you might luck out and fix the clog and this drama will be over.
 

shmerls

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Thanks Jeff. Just to be clear. So the toilet has nothing to do with the gurgling? The air is created farther down the line so that replacing the toilet as was recommended to me by the Board would be a waste of money?
 

Jeff Handy

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Impossible to say without being on site.
But the evidence points to a partial drain line clog.

You need a plumber to get video evidence, or to pull the toilet, snake the line out to a clear drain line farther away, then gurgling stops, then shove the evidence and the bill in their faces.

What brand and model toilet do you have?
The info should be on the back wall inside the tank.
Brand is often printed by toilet seat hinge.
 

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