Here’s What Those Weird Toilet Noises Mean

There’s something assuring about the sound of a flushing toilet. It signals business is done and on its way down the drain. However, other toilet noises are cause for concern.

Listen For These 3 Troubling Toilet Sounds

Bubbling or Gurgling

A gurgling or bubbling toilet indicates negative air pressure in the drain. This creates something of an airlock that occasionally releases, pushing air back up the drainpipe and into the toilet bowl.

When your toilet bubbles or gurgles, there’s a clog either in the drain system or your vent stack.

If it’s a clog in the drain: It could be a relatively minor clog. If so, try plunging your toilet with a flange plunger to break it up. Or, if you consider yourself handy, you can run a consumer-grade plumber’s snake down your toilet drain to remove the obstruction. If neither of those work, you likely have a clog deeper down the drain. Tree roots, for example, can worm their way through the pipe, forming a serious blockage. At Plumb Doctor, we use powerful augers or hydro-jetting to blast away clogs deeper down the line. It also might be the case that your sewer line has collapsed. We can use video inspection equipment to determine the exact cause.

If it’s a clog in the vent stack: The vertical pipe sticking up from your roof allows sewer gases to escape. It can become clogged with leaves, seedpods, and even a bird’s nest.


Hissing, not to be confused with a toilet running, is a problem unique to the fill valve. The fill valve is the mechanism that refills your toilet after flushing it. It can become clogged with water deposits or bits of sediment, blocking water flow. This pressurizes the water, creating a narrow jet. In addition to the irritating hissing sound, a blocked fill valve will also take much longer to refill your toilet tank.


A foghorn sound is common in older toilets with a metal ballcock valve. This mechanism, which includes a floating ball attached to a metal rod, controls the water level in the tank. The sound you’re hearing is coming from a loose washer in the assembly. The noise is the least of your worries. The ballcock valve can corrode and fail, causing your tank to overfill. That’s bad! Consider having your toilet repaired right away.

Turn to the Marietta Plumbing Repair Experts

Plumb Doctor is your friendly neighborhood plumber, offering expert solutions for all your plumbing problems. From noisy commodes to clogged drains, rely on our team of certified experts to restore your plumbing’s functionality. To schedule an appointment, call (770) 293-7080.