Here's the backstory. We moved into this house in '02. My father-in-law came to live with us so we added a bathroom and turned the basement into a separate living area for him. We had a contractor and he ran the drain down and out and tied into the main drain about four feet from the house. We're on a septic tank and it is downhill from the house so everything drains fine. The toilet has always gurgled, but I've noticed over the last few years that the water in the toilet slowly disappears. On occasion there is a slight sewer smell that disappears when I run water down the drains and flush the toilet. My father-in-law passed away several years ago and the bathroom is rarely used now, that's why I'm just now noticing the disappearing water and sewer smell. I'm in the planning stages of ripping out the drywall and replacing it with pine planks so I figured it would be a good time to tackle this problem too. Any ideas on what's causing the problems? Thanks!
It sounds like the drainline from the toilet doesn't have a vent stack, thus the water gurgles. Its just like if you took a bottle of soda and turned it upside down, the soda would "gurgle" as it came out of the bottle. If the bottle had a vent, the soda would flow out smoothly.
The reason the water disappears from the toilet is because when water is discharged from other places in the house, a vaccuum is created in the drainpipe that pulls the water out of the new toilet. It's called a "venturi effect."
So, if you want to fix this issue, you'll have to run a pipe from the toilet drain pipe up thru the roof so it can vent. Or, if another roof vent is close by, you could tie into that one.
Thank you Cabin Fever , I was thinking it might be a vent problem. If I'm lucky I might be able to find the existing vent and tie into it, but I doubt it. I'm going to have to do some research and see where it's most likely located within the house. Assuming it goes straight down I might be able to narrow it down by looking at my roof and estimating where it's at in the house. I'm sure it'll be wherever the hardest place to reach is, that's just how this house was built. I'm definitely not qualified to add another vent so that might get expensive and I really hate to add a hole to the roof we just replaced. All I wanted to do was make the bathroom pretty....
Here is another option per the original post. If you tied into the main sewer line just 4 feet from the house, you can also add a vent just outside the house on the toilet line and bring the vent line just above ground level. But that may require some serious excavation depending on the depth of the main line. Down side is it may also smell it occasionally.
Hey CF, what if you do have a vent? I just started having this same issue and have read there is a blockage in the drain line or vent somewhere. What would you recommend? I’ve read plunging, snake the toilet and vent from roof, use pressure washer down the vent from the roof, etc.
If the blockage was in a vent, I would imagine you'd notice the gurgling in all the fixtures that are tied to that vent. Do you notice gurgling when you drain the tub or a full sink? Or is the gurgling, just when you flush in the toilet?
If it's just the toilet, I suspect you might have a clog somewhere in the drainline.
If you don't have one, the first thing I would do is go out and purchase a toilet auger at a hardware store. This device will remove any clogs or partial clogs that might be in the toilet trap itself. The auger sells for around $15. You might be thinking that I already plunged the toilet to remove clogs. When, sometimes things, like female hardware and disposable wipes, get hung up in the toilet trap that plunging will not remove.
If there are no clogs in the toilet itself, I would remove the toilet. Just turn the water off at the supply valve, remove the water from the toilet tank and bowl with a small cup and sponge, remove the supply line from the tank, remove the two nuts from the base of the toilet, and move the toilet off of the floor flange. Once moved, you can snake down the drainline.