Glug-Glug: What Your Septic System May Be Telling You

Glug Glug Septic System

When functioning properly, your drains will clear water at a speed of about one gallon every 30 seconds. The silence that typically follows is something we take for granted until we are met with an increasingly persistent gurgle that seems to come out of nowhere. This gurgle, caused by gas bubbles releasing from “captured” water, is a surefire sign that something is wrong. Diagnosing the problem may take a bit of detective work, but it is never a sound that should be ignored.  

Blocked Plumbing Drain 

The simplest and least worrisome diagnosis is that the plumbing drain directly underneath your gurgling sink, or within close proximity, is clogged or developing a clog. This will cause slow drainage and gurgling in all fixtures connected to that drain. Often a simple sink plunging will clear out the clog, but if this fails to have an effect, you may need to open up the drain to snake out the clog. We never recommend using chemical draining agents on clogs within your home. First and foremost, they wreak havoc on the ecosystem within your septic system. But secondly, these chemicals cause damage to your pipes that, over time, will lead to catastrophic plumbing failures within your home.   

Blocked Sewage Piping 

The piping that routes household wastewater to your septic system may develop a clog, often due to inappropriate items, like “flushable” wipes and dental floss, being flushed down the toilets. If this is the culprit behind the gurgling, your drains may appear to otherwise be working correctly. You may notice a slowdown in how quickly your sinks and toilets drain, especially on days when your household sees surges in water output, like laundry days or when you have additional guests in the home. More often than not, these blockages require snaking or jetting to remove the clog. 

Blocked Drain-Vent System 

If you hear the telltale glug-glug in a nearby shower or sink after draining the tub or flushing the toilet, the problem may rest within the drain-vent system. Responsible for routing harmful sewer gas from the pipes to the exterior of the home, vent pipes allow air into the plumbing system to balance pressure in the pipes as water goes down the drain. Distinguishing between this problem and a much more significant septic problem can be a little tricky, as both carry similar symptoms. Gurgling in the pipes, slow drains, and the odor of sewage commonly accompany a blocked drain-vent system as well as a significant failure in your septic system. If you notice these symptoms, your best bet is to have your septic system serviced while also investigating whether there is a clog in your drain-vent.  

Over-full Septic Tank 

The most common reason for gurgling drains in a home with a septic system is the septic system is, at the very least, in need of a routine servicing. An overly full septic tank will prevent your septic system from functioning correctly by interfering with the flow of greywater from the tank into the drainfield. An overflow of your septic tank can lead to catastrophic septic system failure, including ruining your drainfield and causing sewage to back up through the plumbing in your home. If your drains are talking, it’s a good bet that your septic system is in need of attention. Left unchecked, a little glug-glug can lead to a major headache.  

So don’t hesitate! Contact Supeck Septic today if your drains are talking to you!