How to Fix a Gurgling Kitchen Sink

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Last updated: March 25, 2023

Ever get startled at night because you heard a weird gurgling noise coming from the garbage disposal of your kitchen sink? A gurgling kitchen sink can be a problem but left untreated, it can lead to bigger issues. There are things you can do to get the issue fixed in no time.

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Why Does Your Kitchen Sink Gurgle?

Before you fix the problem, first, it is essential to know and understand what causes those strange gurgling sounds in the first place. A partially clogged sink drain and or a clogged vent pipe are the two most common culprits behind these noises.

Gurgling Due to a Blockage in the Vent Pipe

A blockage in the vent system is one of the main reasons to cause gurgling sink. The vent pipe is attached to the drainpipe extending up to your roof. It works by letting sewer gas escape and ensuring that no vacuum forms while your sink fills with water.

Air will start filling the vacuum if issues develop with an improper installation or a blockage is formed over time in the plumbing vent. This trapped air will rush past the p trap of your sink, and this will then produce a gurgling sound. This problem is, unfortunately, more difficult to fix than a mere blockage in the drainage pipe.

Gurgling Due to a Clogged Drain

The sink in your kitchen does the most demanding work and is also the one used most often. The odds are high that it could get clogged even if you install a garbage disposal. This clogging may end up producing different sounds such as gurgling as enough air, at a low speed, gets trapped in the main pipe.

Heavy grease and small food particles together with water run down the kitchen sink daily. Sooner or later, these will accumulate and cause blockages in your pipes. An obstruction may form in the end, and this can fully or partially clog the drain.

The air bubbles can get trapped around this obstruction, and there is a gurgling noise every time these air bubbles move. Drain clogging usually starts as a minor concern but being left unattended for a long period of time can make things go out of hand, turning a small matter into a severe problem.

The good news is that it is pretty easy to determine if the issue is the result of a clogged drain. Turn on your tap, let the water fill the sink, and observe. The problem is probably a blockage if bubbles rise from the kitchen drain while there is a flow of water downward.

Some of these problems can be solved with a drain snake before it becomes a serious problem. However, if you have an issue with a toilet or shower drain, a drain auger is a better choice because it tackles large pipes.

This is the best way to handle this but if you don’t have the right tools like a plumber’s snake, you’ll need to use a liquid drain cleaner for a proper drain cleaning. This chemical solution will help with minor clogs. Chemical clog removers are usually the first thing you should consider for any drain system. They are harsh chemicals but they don’t create further damage, which is a good thing.

Drain lines are always filled with hair, soap scum, and other gunk and you’re like to find this to be the likely culprit and cause of the gurgling sound in just a couple of minutes. Another good idea would be to use a cup of vinegar and baking soda to eliminate the full clog. This may be the best solution compared to a plumbing snake, as water washes away the food clog with a baking soda and vinegar mixture.

Steps to Fix Gurgling

There are some things to consider if your kitchen sink gurgles. Identifying the sinks that gurgle around the house will help you decide which of the following options you can try first. However, if the gurgling drain is your only issue with your plumbing fixtures, it means that the problem lies in the pipes of this particular sink.

Start By Fixing the P-trap or Sink Trap

The lower part of the p-trap is that U-shaped pipe found under the sink and serves as a barrier that holds the water to ensure that sewer gases don’t come in through the home’s plumbing system. A space forms if there is an incorrect distance between the drain, the vent, and the p-trap, producing a gurgling sound.

The total length of all the fittings, tailpieces, and arms between the sink drain pipe and a drain’s p-trap must be 24 inches or less. When the drainage pipe has a length of 1.5 inches, you should fit the vent at 42 inches from the lower portion of the trap. If the vent is closer than this, you need to modify the piping to form more distance.

A broken p-trap can be worse since water drains poorly, becoming dry for a shower drain or washing machine. since the water pipes are in poor condition, sewer gas gets in, accumulates, and creates a terrible stench and odor that will spread through the home.

A p-trap should always be checked to make sure it is in good condition. Other important factors to consider. Do not pour any hot oil down your drain, as grease will clog your pipes, and the oil will create challenges for your municipality at the wastewater stage.

Inspect the Air Admittance Valve

There are instances when instead of a vent, a drain may feature an air admittance valve below the sink, and air pressure activates it.

The purpose of this valve is to eliminate the traditional roof venting and pipe penetration. Inspect the air admittance valve to see if it is clogged or broken. Most of these valves can work and function best for 20 up to 30 years.

If a valve works for just a few years, it might indicate a plumbing issue that you need to address right away.

Flush the Main Vent of Your House

You can find the central roof vent on top of the main bathroom for most houses. To clear the central vent, you can use a sewer auger or shoot the water to the vent opening using a significant amount of force.

I recommend hiring a professional plumber for this particular method since it requires specific equipment and access to your roof that can be a challenging and dangerous task for an average person to do.

Flush your Kitchen Sink

Flushing your kitchen sink is the best and simplest method you can perform do if there is no problem with the P-trap, main vent, and air admittance valve.

Before you try any complicated repairs, try turning on the tap and running hot water for up to 5 minutes. This quick-fix can solve your issue if there is just a tiny clog in your drainage pipe.

Give Your Drain an Excellent Cleaning

If nothing above works to solve the gurgling issue, there is a chance that your drain needs some good old cleaning.

After some time, food debris can build up down the sink and produce some gurgling sounds. When cleaning your drain, get a bowl, put it under the P-trap before removing it. Make sure you don’t forget to place the bowl first since there will be water inside. Dump all the water and other debris into the bowl.

Once the trap is empty, clean it first before putting it back. You can use a nylon brush to clean the interior of the trap.

What If None of the Listed Steps Work?

When your sink continues to gurgle even after you have done the above steps, it might indicate a more severe issue with your plumbing system. It might be because of a broken or clogged garbage disposal. Also, if you are using a septic tank instead of the primary sewer system of your area, your problem might be a damaged or clogged septic system.

These kinds of issues usually require the help of a professional or an expert. Unless you are also a plumber yourself, the last thing you want to do is work on your septic system. You could cause more damage if you attempt to clean your septic system by yourself.

What Makes Your Kitchen Sink Gurgle?

There are many reasons why your kitchen sink gurgles. Improper sink vents could be an issue, or there could be a blocked vent pipe.

Is it Dangerous if You have a Gurgling Kitchen Sink?

A gurgling kitchen sink may be a warning sign of a more dangerous issue if ignored. This gurgling may also cause more severe blockages in the pipes. When this happens, you need to contact a professional plumber at the soonest time possible.

Where Can you Find the Kitchen Sink Vent?

Your kitchen sink features a vent hidden in the wall and connected to the pipe. This vent must rise six inches above the sink’s excess water level before the line becomes straight and smooth.

Why Does Your Water Drain Slowly?

Slow draining of water flow can be the result of natural issues. Excessive water from snow or rain can also result in a backup in the septic or primary venting system. The problem might be a flooded drain field in the septic system due to heavy rain.

What Should You Know About the Septic System?

It can be good or bad if you use a septic system rather than the main sewer line from your city and will depend entirely on how good the system is and if you manage it with proper care. You should be familiar with how the septic system works.

The septic system works by collecting all the wastewater from your house and treating it by separating the clear water from the solids. The water will then go through the drain field below your yard’s soil, where it is processed.

You must pump your tank every 3 to 5 years which depends on a few things. How big is your septic tank? How many people live in your home?

You must avoid flushing wipes, diapers, feminine hygiene products, and other non-biodegradable items. Please remember that the septic system cleans your water using bacteria, so you should avoid pouring chemicals into your toilet or using a chemical drainer in your bathroom sink.

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