Just plain weird; , my toilet starts bubbling

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Timothy LaDuca, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. Timothy LaDuca

    Timothy LaDuca New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Florida
    I have had my toilet start bubbling when the washing machine is draining in the spin cycle. While it is bubbling it will not flush. When the bubbling stops the toilet (and any other toilet that I have "test flushed" during this time period) will flush. I've read some other forums online and nobody seems to be having this exact problem. It is not reproducible. It just seems to happen every so often. Now if you think you already know what is going on, wait...
    The other day I was taking a shower in the master bathroom, this drain is farthest from the sewer line (manhole) at the street. The toilet starts going "bloop, bloop, bloop". Large air bubbles are coming out of the toilet. Mind you, nothing else is going on with the plumbing but a small amount if drainage from my low flow shower faucet. Out of curiosity I stepped out of the shower to see if the other toilet was "blooping" air. It wasn't. I returned to the shower and turned it off. The air bubbles stopped. I turned the shower back on and after a moment the toilet started throwing up air bubbles again. I had already done a test flush on the toilet, and that had failed. I didn't test flush the other toilet so I could see if anything strange would happen to it.
    Ok, so then the bubbling stops and there is a mega-flush of the toilet, I mean like a Mach 5 flush. Just incredible suction. The other toilet, which had not been flushed, somehow had some water sucked out of it (about a third of the bowl). But I know it didn't "auto flush" because otherwise there should have been barely any water in the bowl. Would love to hear if anyone has heard of anything like this and if they think they know what is going on. And again it is not reproducible. In other words I can't "make" these symptoms happen. It just does this every so often.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  2. DonL

    DonL Out of the Trades

    Messages:
    3,903
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    If you have a Mach 5 flush, be careful how you set on the seat.

    Your output sounds blocked, or it can not handle your load.


    Good luck.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,485
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Your main sewer is blocked, or partially blocked, so trapped air is "blooping" out of the toilet.
  4. Timothy LaDuca

    Timothy LaDuca New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Florida
    Which output are you referring to? My rear is OK. ;)
  5. Timothy LaDuca

    Timothy LaDuca New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Florida
    By "trapped air" do you mean sewer gas or just regular old air, definitely doesn't smell like sewer gas. Also, if the main sewer is blocked, how to explain that it drained so forcefully? (I assume it was the main line suddenly draining that caused the incredible suction)
  6. Jerome2877

    Jerome2877 In the Trades

    Messages:
    397
    Location:
    BC
    Its a partial blockage or collapse of the main. It will back up until there is enough head pressure to push the solids by the block/collapse. I would recomend a camera inspection.
  7. DonL

    DonL Out of the Trades

    Messages:
    3,903
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    lol.

    The output to your sewer system, is what I was referring to.
  8. Timothy LaDuca

    Timothy LaDuca New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Florida
    @ DonL Do you mean the output from the toilet to the main (residential) sewer line or the main sewer line itself?
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  9. Timothy LaDuca

    Timothy LaDuca New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Florida
    I appreciate everyone's replies, but if it is a partial blockage of the main drain, what explains why I get bubbles in the master bathroom toilet just before the main line clears and drains?
  10. DonL

    DonL Out of the Trades

    Messages:
    3,903
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    The main line that leaves your house and gos to the city, sounds slow to drain. And you are dumping more water then it can take all at once. That is my best guess not knowing your complete setup it is hard to say for sure.


    Are any of your neighbors having problems ?
  11. dj2

    dj2 Member

    Messages:
    407
    Location:
    California
    At this point, I think you better call for a cam inspection too.
  12. Timothy LaDuca

    Timothy LaDuca New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Florida
    I ought to get to know them. :p
  13. DonL

    DonL Out of the Trades

    Messages:
    3,903
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    Might be worth asking.

    We have some houses around here that got Annexed by the city and they are trying to make water run uphill without any pumps.

    For a long time they were tearing up the road replacing sewer pipe.

    Then when it never worked for very long someone finally decided that they needed pumps.

    Then all was good.


    The city or whoever owns your sewer system should know if they are having problems.

    Might be worth checking with them before spending a bunch of money for a camera inspection.


    Good Luck.
  14. Timothy LaDuca

    Timothy LaDuca New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Florida
    @DonL That is very interesting. Thank you. When I first moved here I saw the City of Tampa CCTV crews inspecting the closest manhole what seemed liked quite often, I haven't seen them though for a long time. Maybe I should have asked them what they were doing, I doubt it was routine maintenance.
  15. Timothy LaDuca

    Timothy LaDuca New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Florida
    I think I figured it out. About 3 months ago my roommate moved out. He had a regular toilet with lots of flow. I use the ultra low flow toilet exclusivey because it flushes so quick. My roommate also tended to use a lot more water than me (longer, more frequent showers) and the both of us would be doing laundry. Now it's just me. So the ratio of solid waste to water has gone way up. I need to waste more water! I did contact the city though.
  16. Jerome2877

    Jerome2877 In the Trades

    Messages:
    397
    Location:
    BC

    No... there is a problem and before its a weekend and you have a fully clogged sewer line you should get a camera inspection done. This will show you where the problem is and the plumber will tell you the solution.
  17. Smooky

    Smooky Member

    Messages:
    596
    Location:
    NC
    I don’t really know what is happening but it could be a pump, or lift station problem. Florida is mostly flat so instead of gravity sewer they may need pumps to keep things moving. Sometimes the primary pump fails and then there is a secondary or back up pump with floats that are set higher. The pump tank could be over filling causing a back up but then the back-up pump kicks in and the problem goes away. You may want to call the city public works department and discuss the problem with them. .... You may have some venting issues in your home because positive air pressure should vent out the roof vents.

    http://www.tampagov.net/appl_customer_service_center/form.asp?strServiceID=300


    http://www.tampagov.net/dept_wastewater/programs_and_services/Collections/prevent_blocked_drains.asp
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013
  18. DonL

    DonL Out of the Trades

    Messages:
    3,903
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Nice post Smooky.

    Great Links that should help.
  19. Timothy LaDuca

    Timothy LaDuca New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Florida
    Yes, thanks for that second link it was very informative.
  20. mahuska

    mahuska New Member

    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    iowa
    My mothers toilet in Pensacola was doing this and it turned out to be the septic drain field was shot and water was backing up. It could only handle 1 shower and three flushes and a bit of kitchen sink a day.
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