Gurgling Bathroom Sink

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by AlGreen, Jul 25, 2016.

  1. AlGreen

    AlGreen Member

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    New Jersey
    First time poster. We have two and a half baths, and the second floor sink has started gurgling after running water, though it drains fine. Nothing else in that bathroom or the others is gurgling. So far I've only tried some Drano and then baking soda and vinegar a few days later. No change. The sink doesn't have an overflow and I assume it's tied into the main vent. I've wondered if the vent might be clogged because there's also an inexplicable smell (like butt) coming from the space behind the 2nd floor bathtub faucet and drain (there's a small door that gives me access to the pipes there). I've attached pictures of the plumbing under the sink and behind the tub. Thoughts?

    20160725_213536.jpg 20160725_213627.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
  2. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

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    Looks like you have cast iron plumbing past the PVC drains. Since you're smelling butt and have gurgling yes the vent could be clogged but you might have a rusted out section of pipe. You will need to call a plumber with a camera to scope out your problem.
     
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  4. AlGreen

    AlGreen Member

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    Yes, cast iron. The house was built in 1926. I can see the horizontal drain pipe that runs under the tub and it looks fine all the way to where it goes into the wood on the other side. Of course I realize that there could be a rusted out section beyond that.... Given the symptoms I've described, is there one scenario--rusted pipes or blocked vent--that's more likely? Is there anything else I can check or do to help rule out one or the other before calling the plumber?
     
  5. dj2

    dj2 In the Trades

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    You can visually check the vent, if you can safely go on the roof: look for debris, branches, leaves or dead animals. Sometimes the vent is too long for that. You can run a garden hose into the vent and try to flush the vent. If clear of debris and other junk, you will need a plumber with camera from this point.
     
  6. AlGreen

    AlGreen Member

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    Unfortunately my roof doesn't allow for "safely." I tried to check the vent a few weeks back and found the pitch to be too much. I wish there were some kind of access point in the attic.
     
  7. AlGreen

    AlGreen Member

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    What am I looking at ballpark for vent cleaning and camera drain inspection? I live in NJ.
     
  8. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    [​IMG]

    It may be that the white pipe with plug was the vent.
    You could remove the plug and see if it drains better. If it does, thread on an AAV.
     
  9. AlGreen

    AlGreen Member

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    Ok, I'll see what happens without the plug.
     
  10. AlGreen

    AlGreen Member

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    I already have p traps at the sink and tub.
     
  11. AlGreen

    AlGreen Member

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    I removed the plug, but no change to the gurgling.

    If it were a blocked main vent, wouldn't the toilet and tub in the same bathroom gurgle too? Would it be worth me checking the trap for the sink?
     
  12. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    I don't know how your system is plumbed.
    You could have water backing up, lines that need clearing, or something. We don't have much to go on without knowing the layout.
    At least we eliminated one possiblity.
     
  13. AlGreen

    AlGreen Member

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    Don't get me wrong. I appreciate the guidance! I'm just trying to understand how all these things can interact. I'll try to rough up a diagram of my system.
     
  14. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

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    We need to see where the vents are in relation to the fixtures. The vent for the tub should be within 3' of the trap.
     
  15. AlGreen

    AlGreen Member

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    There's too much hidden behind the floor and wall for me to create a meaningful diagram. It appears that the toilet, tub, and sink all vent to the same 4 inch pipe, though the sink may vent to a separate smaller diameter pipe. I can't tell for sure. The 4 inch vent pipe is at least 5 feet from the tub trap.
     
  16. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    I would try snaking.
    And remember to reinstall the plug on the cleanout.
     
  17. CountryBumkin

    CountryBumkin Active Member

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    @AlGreen, you said the sink is draining fine. So it sounds to me like nothing is clogged. The sound just changed at some point.
    Is this correct - is the sink still draining as quickly as when it was new?
    Are you trying, or expecting, to improve the speed of the draining too, or just do away with the gurgling sound?
     
  18. AlGreen

    AlGreen Member

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    Ok. Looks like I have a few cleanout options inside the house: About 3 feet above where the main drain goes under the foundation and then roughly 15 feet further along via an access panel in the floor. Would one be better than the other?
     
  19. AlGreen

    AlGreen Member

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    Yep, the sink drains fine. It's just the gurgling sound, which seemed to start a few weeks ago. I'm interpreting the gurgle as a symptom of a problem that I'm trying to diagnose and, hopefully, solve before I call someone.

    I also want to figure out what's causing the smell I mentioned is emanating from behind the access door to the tub drain and water pipes (see photo above). I thought maybe it could be connected to the gurgling, but I really don't know. The smell is hard to describe. I said "butt" in my original post, though it also has a somewhat metallic character to it. I did have a plumber come once to see what he though, but he had a cold and couldn't smell anything and his assistant said it made him think of cat litter. I can see most of the space around and beneath the tub and there's nothing suspicious. I also tried tightening up the various hose clamps and any other connections I could reach.


     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2016
  20. AlGreen

    AlGreen Member

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    Could the pipe setup for my bathtub (see above) be leaking sewer fumes without actually leaking any water? Because one of the weird things about the odor I've described is that I don't smell it from any of the drains in that bathroom, just the space behind the tub.
     
  21. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

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    It is not uncommon for a tub/shower wall to leak or a caulk joint leak, or an overflow gasket leak, any of which could allow shower water to end up in the wall cavity and/or underneath the tub, which can allow for the growth of mold/mildew and rotten wood, all of which will produce an odor.
     
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