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What’s That Gurgling Noise in My Sink?

When you turn on your sink, on occasion, you’ll hear a gurgling sound come from your drain. While sometimes it subsides after a few days, if it becomes a constant, there may be more substantial issues, like clogged drains and plumbing backups, soon to follow. Here are what causes this persistent noise and when you should call your plumber about it.  

Possible Causes of a Gurgling Drain

Clogged Pipes

One of the possible causes of the gurgling sound in your sink is a clog somewhere in your pipes. As your water flows down the drain towards the blockage, it interacts with trapped air around the obstruction and makes that noise. Clogged pipes typically occur in your kitchen due to food and grease accumulating down your drain. In your bathroom, the main culprits are hair and residue from soaps and shampoos. A common sign that a clog is the cause is if you see bubbles rise out of the drain when you drain a sink full of water.

Blocked Vent Pipes

Drain Cleaning St. Paul, MN

Your home uses a vent pipe on your roof to allow fresh air into your pipes and sewer gases and odor to escape. It helps water flow smoothly through your drainpipes by regulating the atmospheric pressure in your home waste system. On occasion, a vent pipe can get blocked by elements like dirt, leaves, and nesting materials from birds, which push sewer gas back into the drainpipe and create that gurgling noise as a result.


Worse still, vents won’t work if they’re too far away from the p-trap—or the u-shaped section of pipe down your drain that blocks sewer gas from entering your home. If the drain doesn’t have venting of any form, you’ve found the problem.

How Drainpipes and Vent Pipes Work Together

As mentioned previously, vent pipes perform the essential task of regulating atmospheric pressure in your home waste system. Whenever you turn on a faucet or flush the toilet, the water flows through the pipe and gets replaced by air. If that air component didn’t exist, the water would sit still in the pipe. The vent system makes this movement possible by supplying the air involved in this plumbing process.

 When a clog forms, either in the vent pipe or the drainpipe, the air can no longer move freely, creating a vacuum that results in that gurgling sound. If you ignore the gurgle, then more substantial issues can eventually arise. Partial blockages can become complete blockages, which results in water backup. If that clog is in your main sewer line, then you will be without drain service entirely because your water will have no way to escape into the sewer.

Ways to Fix Your Gurgling Drain

Call In the Pros

Ultimately, this noise issue is solved with the help of a professional. For clogs, have a plumber clear the drain with a plunger, a pipe snake, or—in more severe circumstances—hydro jetting. The latter choice uses pressurized water to force any blockages out of your sewer line. A plumber will only enact this option if they’re sure that your plumbing is clear and that the issue is in your sewer pipe.

For venting issues, you need a professional because they need to go on your roof to clear a vent blockage. If they perform this task, and it seems to be all clear, they’ll check the p-trap on your gurgling drain to make sure it has sufficient vent access. When there is a venting issue, the plumber will install new ventilation to alleviate the problem.


Just as Paul Bunyan silenced the Whistling River with skill and tact, so will Paul Bunyan Plumbing & Drains do so for your gurgling drain. Our Twin Cities, MN, team will find the root of the issue and clear the blockage in your plumbing. For more information about our team of plumbers, give us a call today at (612) 340-1444.

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