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Why Is the Plumbing Gurgling Underneath My Sink?

plumbing p trap under sink

While it isn’t unusual to hear the sound of rushing or draining water while using your sink or shower, a gurgle or glugging sound typically indicates a problem. As with any plumbing issue, it won’t sort itself out, so the sooner you can get to the root of the problem, the better.

Below, we’ll explain the two most likely causes behind gurgling plumbing and what you can do about it.

1. A clog is forming.

This is the usual culprit behind gurgling underneath a sink. Clogs are a common household problem for two reasons: plumbing pipes aren’t that wide, and numerous clog-causing items can end up down drains on a regular basis.

Some examples of items and substances that cause clogs include:

  • Grease
  • Sediment
  • Food remnants
  • Hair
  • Paper products that aren’t toilet paper (ex. facial tissue, paper towels, napkins, etc.)
  • Wet wipes (yes, even so-called “flushable” wipes)
  • Makeup pads
  • Q-tips
  • Cotton balls
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Dental floss
  • Paint
  • Mortar and adhesives

To clear a clog on your own, we recommend using a plunger or, if you’re handy, you can also use a manual drain snake. If the clog is deep inside your home’s plumbing system, you may need a plumber’s assistance and professional equipment to remove the blockage.

We never recommend using chemical drain cleaners. These substances almost always contain highly corrosive chemicals (such as sulfuric acid or sodium hydroxide), which can damage your plumbing and threaten your safety, as well as the safety of the plumber who comes to clear the clog after the drain cleaner fails. Please, if you are having trouble with a drain, call a plumber rather than resorting to a chemical drain cleaner.

2. Something is blocking a vent pipe.

Did you know that some of the pipes in your plumbing system aren’t meant for water or waste? Your home’s drain and waste pipes are connected to vent pipes. These vent pipes give smelly sewer gases a way to escape your home and also prevent a vacuum from forming inside your drain pipes. That ventilation is necessary to keep water and waste moving along to your home’s sewer line.

Your home’s vent pipes converge into a main pipe, which typically opens up on your home’s roof. Because this pipe is exposed to Mother Nature, it can become obstructed by things like bird nests, dead animals, and leaves. It can also get blocked by the occasional baseball or windblown garbage. The blockage can cause a strange, gurgling sound in your home’s plumbing.

Since removing the blockage will involve getting up on your roof, you may want to consider hiring a trained, licensed, and insured professional to do it for you.

Knoxville Drain Cleaning

Having trouble with a drain in your Knoxville home? At The Plumbing Authority, our highly-trained plumbers are experts at getting the root of plumbing issues and providing our customers with the information they need to make informed decisions. Give us a call at (865) 238-2280 or contact us online today!

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