my toilet is talking back to me
October 11, 2012 2:02 PM   Subscribe

After fixing a clog last week, my toilet is making loud gurgling sounds each time it flushes. Can you help me fix it?

I own a condo in a mid 1960s building, and replaced the toilet a few months ago. Up until a clog last week (from a little too much toilet paper), it had been working seamlessly.

I unclogged it with a plastic "zip-it," but ever since then, it makes loud gurgly sounds whenever flushed. Google tells me to check the "vent," but I don't know how I'd do this in a large high-rise.

Is this serious? Can I fix things myself? Do I need a plumber? Help!
posted by raztaj to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
Have you taken a look inside the tank to see if the chain and stopper is stuck?
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 2:04 PM on October 11, 2012

Do you have one of the air-powered plungers? If not, it's worth having around in general and you might try a good plunge to see if it clears up the gurgle. Something might be just a little too far down the line for the zip-it, but will respond to a push.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:06 PM on October 11, 2012

There's no visible chain in the tank. this is the exact toilet I have
posted by raztaj at 2:09 PM on October 11, 2012

Yeah, you are going to want some vigorous plunging. Preferably with the bellows kind. The gurgle is from something stuck trapping little pockets of air as the water drains.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:12 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Does it drain slowly, and end with that gurgle? If so, you probably do have a partially clogged pipe. If you can clear it with plunging, that is great. However, the standby method to fix this is to unbolt the toilet from the floor, and clear the clog by hand. It is probably in the S-shaped portion of the toilet, which you can get to by turning the toilet over.

What you will need: New wax ring, latex gloves, and a receptical for the "clog". Good luck!
posted by Midnight Skulker at 2:28 PM on October 11, 2012

There's no visible chain in the tank. this is the exact toilet I have

No Sweet Pea,

We're talking about the chain from the flapper to the flush handle.

It's worth talking to the HOA about geting the vent's "blown". When I was a condo board person, we had it done every so often, really helps with slow drians, etc.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:28 PM on October 11, 2012

We're talking about the chain from the flapper to the flush handle.

Yes Sweet Pea,

I'm quite aware of that, and have replaced many a broken chain in my time. This toilet, as I said, does not have a visible chain. To the best of my knowledge, it does not have one in the dual flush stack, as there is no flush handle.

I'll head to the hardware store tomorrow and see if I can find a plunger that will gather the intensity to push this thing out, and hopefully that will fix it. I'll have a full deck of plungers after this is fixed! I'll also put in a word with the board about having the vents blown. Many thanks.
posted by raztaj at 2:43 PM on October 11, 2012

Yeah, that's what I meant. When this was happening at my house it was because that little flapper mechanism had broken down a bit and it got stuck and made these terrible whirling sounds as the toilet tried to empty itself but couldn't. I thought there was a ghoul haunting it, no joke, it was that loud. YMMV.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 2:44 PM on October 11, 2012

Just a word of warning - if you have a bad clog, it is actually possible to plunge so vigorously that you blow out the wax seal under the toilet. For this reason, you might try plunging a bit, and if that doesn't work, move on to a snake.
posted by Addlepated at 3:02 PM on October 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

FWIW I would suspect foreign objects, not just a garden-variety plug.

When we finally pulled out the pieces from a toilet with similar problems it turned out to be something like a clothes hangar (or a piece of it--it's been like 25 years and the details are a bit fuzzy) and then various things the clothes hangar had snagged, like a chunk of a tshirt and a bit of a rag.

Point is, you could plunge and even snake all day long and never get that kind of stuff to budge. It was like a piece of wire hangar all jammed firmly in place up in the u-area of the toilet, just out of reach, with the other bits of cloth all tangled around it tightly. It was enough to close off may 1/4 or 1/3 of the available drain, meaning that the toilet worked most of the time but was extremely clog prone. Plunging just blew water back and forth around it without budging it and the snake just went in and out past it without a hitch.

So, just something to think about if plunging and snaking don't do the trick. Reaching in through the bottom of the bowl or taking the toilet off & reaching in from the bottom, as described above, are about the only possible ways to reach such a snag if that happens to be your problem.
posted by flug at 9:56 AM on October 12, 2012

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