Toilet Burps Big Bubble When Flushed? (Possible Causes & Fixes)

Toilet Burps Big Bubble When Flushed

Imagine this: you are in the bathroom, you just did your business, and you push the lever so that you can flush it. You hear a loud belch and see a massive bubble come out of the hole, then the contents of your toilet vanish like they usually do. If you’re like a lot of people, you might be wondering what this is all about. Is this actually a sign of something more serious?

If the toilet burps when it is flushed this is a sign that your septic tank is full, or that you have a clog in your plumbing system or sewer line. Eventually, this will cause sewage to back up into your system and come out of your toilet, tub, and even your sink. 

A burpy toilet is funny to hear about, but not funny to deal with. If you recently heard your toilet belch, start fixing the problem by reading up on our guide.

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Why Is My Toilet Gurgling?

Gurgling and belching toilets mean that your toilet has suction building up inside the plumbing. This isn’t good, since plumbing is not supposed to have suction. This usually happens when your septic tank is full, or if a clog in the plumbing is causing a gap that causes air bubbles to get trapped in there.

How Bad Of A Problem Is This?

A toilet that is belching up air is a lot like having that one weird ache in your leg. Sure, things might seem innocuous now, but if you don’t address it soon, it could turn into something pretty bad. Or, it could be something relatively easy to deal with that goes away on its own. It’s a crapshoot, literally. Either way, you should look into it.

How To Troubleshoot A Gurgling Toilet

Now that you’ve noticed a strange belch of air coming out of your toilet every time it flushes, you need to figure out the “why’s” of it and how to fix it. Here’s what you need to be aware of:

  1. First, ask yourself if you have a septic tank that may have been overtaxed. If you have a washing machine that ran five loads, you may have an overloaded tank. This can cause suction problems that eventually lead to backups that spill into your toilet or sink. You might need to call a septic tank specialist to empty it or give your septic tank time to chill out.
  2. Another thing that you may need to do is figure out if there’s a clog in your septic tank’s line. Septic tank owners need to be aware that the other major reason linked to gurgling in your toilets (and surrounding appliances) deals with a clog in the mainline leading to the tank. Give it a look, or call a plumber after completing the other steps in this tutorial.
  3. Tape over the drains of your shower and sink, then hit the toilet with a plunger. The vacuum will help dislodge any clog that you might have in the toilet.
  4. Use a plumbing snake to remove any clogs in the starting part of your plumbing. Once you’ve broken up clogs, flush your toilet. There probably will be a marked change. In many cases, this will fix the gurgle. A 15-foot snake works well in most cases, but a motorized one will work better on clogs that are even deeper inside of your home.
  5. Should the problem still persist, check out the vent stack on your roof. While rare, sometimes the smokestack that carries the sewer gas from your house to the sky can get clogged. When it does, it can cause a burpy toilet. Clear out any debris blocking the vent, and you should be good to go.
  6. If the toilet is still gurgling by now, then you will need to call a plumber. This suggests a clog in your main sewage line—the one that goes through your entire house.

An Important Note About Your Toilet Problems

Though the problem of a burpy toilet is usually something relegated to one house, there are some rare instances where the problem might not be with your plumbing system. If you’ve removed all the clogs and had a plumber check things out to no avail, then the issue itself could be a clog in your neighborhood’s sewage line.

A pervasive problem that doesn’t go away with a call to the local Roto-Rooter suggests that it may be time to check in with your neighbors. Ask them if they’ve noticed any strange problems with their toilets. If they have, then the issue you have is a municipal one that involves a much larger clog in the sewage line.

What Happens If You Ignore A Belching Toilet?

There are a lot of things that can happen if you let a burping toilet sit, none of which are particularly pleasant to deal with. If your toilet and other appliances share a drain, then you might see your waste back up through the sink and shower drains. Other times, the clog that is stuck in your septic tank line may cause slow draining throughout the home.

The worst thing that can happen is that that suction gets to be too powerful, to the point that a burst occurs in the pipes. This can render your plumbing system useless, cause a bunch of damage in the form of spilled sewage, and also harm your home via mold. Since renters insurance and homeowners insurance doesn’t cover mold, this could put you in a bad position.

When Do You Need To Call A Plumber?

If fixing a clog in your septic tank line or toilet line doesn’t work, then you have a bigger issue on your hands. Most bubbling, belching toilets are that way because of a clog near the septic tank or near your toilet’s end. These are easy DIY fixes for most people since all you usually need is a plunger or snake to get your toilet working in peak condition.

However, when you have a clog in the mainline or a clog that’s on the verge of cutting off access to your septic tank, things get dicey. Locating the source of the clog can be very difficult, as is removing more alarmingly-sized clogs. If you ever feel like you’re in over your head with this project, calling a plumber is smart.

How Much Does Fixing A Belching Toilet Cost?

The price of fixing a gurgling or “burping” toilet varies depending on the cause. If you were able to fix it using a handy, dandy toilet on your own, then it was a free fix. The same goes if you can DIY a clog removal in your septic tank. Thankfully, the cost to get this stuff handled professionally is rarely ever too high. You can expect the cost for a plumber to range between $100 to $600 in most cases.

If your toilet’s bubbles and burps are a result of a failure in the municipal system, then you won’t have to pay a dime out of pocket. This is because your local taxes are going to cover the cost. On the other hand, if it’s a clogged vent, getting a handyman to take care of it usually costs around $100. Either way, it’s not a big cost to cover.

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Related Questions

How do you fix an airlock in a sewer line?

If you have an airlock occurring in your sewer line, you can fix it pretty easily. Start by turning on your hot water tap and letting it run for a minute or two. Then, slowly turn on the cold water tap. When the cold water gets pushed out, the air lock gets pushed out too.

If you have a water line that mixes the hot and cold water together, then place a rag over the spot and twist the cold tap on. This will force the water back in but let the air belch out.

Do airlocks usually happen in water systems?

Airlocks are common, but don’t panic. Truth be told, airlocks aren’t actually supposed to be that big a deal. Most of the time, a well-designed water system setup will be able to take care of them and even help the airlocks go away on their own. This is why you might not even notice an airlock in your system.

The only time that airlocks become a big problem is when you have a poorly designed system. If you notice regular problems with airlocks, call a plumber to see if you need a replacement pipe or toilet.

Can a toilet get airlocked?

Believe it or not, yes. That’s what you’re hearing when you hear a toilet that is gurgling on its own. The negative suction that the toilet is experiencing is caused primarily by an airlock that needs to be addressed. In most cases, this is indicative of a clog that is either in the toilet’s stream, in the septic line, or in the sewer vent up by the roof of the house.

Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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