Most Common Reasons of Why Your Toilet Flushes Slow and Gurgles

Witnessing your toilet drain so slowly and then making gurgling noises can be pretty unsettling. While there’s a chance that it’s only a one-off occasion, there’s also a possibility that it’s a sign of a more urgent issue. There are many reasons why a toilet doesn’t flush as it should.

The list below presents the four most possible reasons which may help you discover the real culprit and resolve the problem faster and easier.

Toilet Flushes Slow and Gurgles at the Bottom

  • Clogged toilet

The most common reason for the majority of toilet problems is clogging issues, often caused by toilet paper or other materials building up in the drain line. The clogged toilet typically occurs due to improper flushings, such as non-flushable items being flushed down or the function not working optimally.

This is why most modern toilets now have a dual-flush feature to provide a strong flush that reduces the likelihood of clogged toilets, ensuring that materials don’t accumulate and cause blockages.

toilet flushes slow and gurgles

Not only may a clogged situation cause a gurgling toilet septic tank, but it may also affect the vent pipes and drainage. Certain clogging situations do not require much effort to resolve, but in some cases, they must be handled by professional plumbers.

Occasionally, the sewer line may be at fault, especially if it is broken or collapsed, which can significantly impact the toilet’s flushing capability. Tree roots growing into sewer lines are common and can lead to severe blockages and slow flushing. In such cases, the intervention of a professional is necessary to resolve the situation.

  • Sediment buildup

The following possible reason your toilet flushes slowly is to accumulate mineral materials from water-containing substances such as calcium, iron, or magnesium. This issue is especially prevalent in buildings with hard water and a higher calcifying tendency. Sediment buildup will cause a gurgling noise to be heard when you refill the water tank.

  • Clogged vent pipes

If you have checked your toilet and water tank but don’t find any issues, the problem may lie with the vent stack, a critical component that releases exhaust gas and ensures negative air pressure doesn’t occur. Most toilets are connected with these vent pipes leading towards the roof.

If these pipes are clogged, you will likely encounter a gurgling sound, indicating that airflow is restricted. This scenario can lead to slow flushing as air struggles to escape, creating negative air pressure within the pipes.

It’s important to note that these issues can significantly vary based on whether your home is connected to a municipal sewer system or has a septic tank. Depending on this connection, problems with vent stacks or sewer lines often manifest differently.

Before you check for clogged vent pipes, you should prepare yourself for the possibility of wild animals lodging there, such as rats, frogs, opossums, or squirrels. Use duct tape to secure gloves and sleeves, preventing small critters from reaching your skin. Always practice safety measures and exercise caution.

Read also: Toilet Bubbling When the Shower is Running?

  • Poorly working flapper

The flapper is the toilet element that allows water to drain from the tank into the bowl when flushing happens. It is not rare for the flapper to become defective, which may cause toilet bubbles when flushed. Most homeowners must entirely replace the flapper or the water tank when this occurs. You will need help from a professional plumber if you require fixing the water tank.

Slowly draining and gurgling toilets is not rare, but it’s best not to be ignored. As you can conclude from the list of potential reasons why your toilet flushes slowly and gurgles, some issues are simple enough to tackle. In contrast, some others may require calling a professional plumber to get your toilet to function correctly again.

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John Burns is an experienced author and expert home improvement advice. With years of practical experience in the field authored several informative articles on various aspects related to home improvement, including installation, maintenance, and repair.