person washing their hands in the sink

Why is My Sink Gurgling?

Does your sink reply with a gurgling noise when you drain it? Or maybe you have a toilet making a gurgling noise when you use the shower?

Regardless of where the gurgling sound is coming from, no part of your plumbing system is meant to gurgle.

What causes a sink drain to gurgle?

There are a few different reasons your sink drain might be gurgling. The cause of the gurgling sound will determine what action you need to take to fix it.

The Vent Pipes were Installed Incorrectly

If you only hear your kitchen sink gurgling when you drain water from that sink, the problem is directly associated with that drain’s vents.

It might be that the vents weren’t properly installed in the first place. For a 1.5 inch drain pipe, the vent should be fitted 3.5 feet from the lower part of the drain. If this is not the case, the vent might be creating a vacuum in your drain which could be the cause of your gurgling drains.

Repairing this will likely need the experienced hands of a plumber.

Your Vent Pipes are Blocked

Your plumbing system has vent pipes that allow sewer gases to safely escape your home. These typically run up and out through your roof.

If your vent system has a blockage somewhere, these gases are unable to escape through your roof and might be coming back up through your drain. This is a bigger problem than hearing your drain gurgling. In large concentrations, these sewer gases can be extremely flammable and even explosive!

So if you hear any of your drains gurgling in combination with sewer smells, you need an emergency plumber out to repair this issue promptly.

The P-Trap is Broken or Clogged

Underneath your sink, usually in the cabinet, is the P-trap. This is a part of the drain which prevents debris from entering your plumbing system.

If the P-trap becomes damaged or even breaks, this can cause a clog in your drain which can make gurgling sounds. A build-up of grease and debris here can also cause clogs that might be the cause of your gurgling drain.

The best way to prevent your P-trap from developing clogs is to regularly clean it out. To do this, you’ll need to disassemble the P-trap. Using either a wire coat-hanger straightened out or a nylon bottle brush cleaner, clean away any debris and grease.

With your P-trap completely spotless, you can reassemble it and put it back in place. If your P-traps nuts don’t budge when you try to remove it or it quickly falls apart, it’s time to buy a replacement trap.

The Drain is Clogged

Your gurgling kitchen sink might be caused by something as simple as a blocked drain. Build-ups of food, fat, oil and grease will form blockages that obstruct the flow of water down your drains and could be responsible for any gurgles you’re hearing.

A blocked drain comes with a whole host of other problems, the main one being that your sink won’t drain completely and might even start backing up and out!

While there are store-bought drain cleaners that are meant to dissolve and dislodge these blockages, used incorrectly, these have the potential to eat away at your pipes. What was meant to solve your gurgling drain issue might only bring about even more issues!

You need a licensed plumber to come to your house to remove the blockage and fix your gurgling problems.

Metropolitan Plumbing has expert plumbers available to restore the peace and quiet of your home and get to the bottom of your gurgling sink problems.


Published: 25 Mar, 2021

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Metropolitan Plumbing are proud winners of the 2020 Product Review award in the plumbing category. This award highlights our dedication to outstanding customer satisfaction. Product Review provides a platform for real-life experiences. Check out some of our customers' reviews below:
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Thank you to Matty and Peter C for their expert help and advice with a new hot water service. Matty is a superb plumber with a can-do attitude and great knowledge. Peter is efficient and knowledgeable. Both plumbers worked quietly and efficiently and tidied up afterwards.

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I rang Metropolitan to have a blocked drain cleared, they sent a local lad, Caleb. The response was within two hours and now I’ll be using Caleb and Metropolitan on a permanent basis.

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Callum showed up on time, was very communicative, solved the issue with no hassle. Polite and courteous. Quality young tradesman. Would definitely have him back to fix any issues in the future.

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