Glug-Glug Goes The Drain: What This Sound Means


Water generally runs from the faucet at a speed of around one to two gallons per minute without much thought from you. The silence of this simple luxury is taken for granted until the gurgling drain begins.

Gas bubbles released from water prompt gurgling. Air trapped in a clog moves into the water sitting on top of the blockage and releases that distinctive glug-glug. The silence broken.

What does this mean? A gurgling drain indicates an issue to be addressed.


A blocked plumbing drain results in slow drainage and gurgling in all fixtures serving that drain. A sink plunger offers a first step in clearing this issue. If this effort fails, chemical drain agents are not recommended. These proclaimed clog-busters may remove the blockage, but pipe damage is a side effect.


Sewer piping that routes water and wastes to the external system may become blocked. Typically, drains still appear to work correctly. However, surges in use such as laundry day or additional houseguests reveal an issue.

With increased water loads in the pipes, water cannot slowly seep past the clog as with smaller burdens. The gurgling drain symptoms increase during these times. In these cases, the line requires snaking or jetting to remove the blockage.


If the gurgling sound occurs in a nearby sink or shower after a toilet is flushed or tub drains, the issue may lie with the drain-vent system. These vents remove harmful sewer gas from the pipes and route it outside the home.

Causes of the inadequacy of this system include the lack of vent connections, issues with vacuum breakers at drains, plumbing fixtures too far from the vertical plumbing stack, too small vent diameter, lines not vented outside and clogs in plumbing vents.

Correcting vent issues through diagnosis and repair stops the glug-glug. Also, vents blocked by insect nests, bird nests, frost or snow, or even a frog, require attention.


Over-full septic tanks do not permit adequate flow of water and materials from the tank into the drainfield. This fullness, in essence, blocks sewer lines. The fix for this issue is simple. Perform regular, routine tank cleanings.

The primary sources of the telltale glug-glug tend to be a partial plug in the sewer line or an over-full septic tank. In any case, gurgling should be addressed promptly to avoid further issues such as sewer gas backup, drain backup or more severe ramifications.

Tim Frank Septic Tank Cleaning can assist you with any of these issues.  We offer drain and sewer cleaning or jetting and tank pumping.  Call 440-636-5111.


  • Thanks for helping me identify the reasons why a drain is making weird gurgling sounds. My friend told me that this is happening to him lately, and it’s starting to keep him up at night. I had no idea that this could be signs of blocked plumbing fixtures. I’ll share this with him and suggest that he contact a plumbing service as soon as he can.
    - Zachary Tomlinson
  • I really appreciate you explaining how the gurgling sound is made my water trying to slip past the blockage. My partner and I are trying to fix our sink soon because it’s making these noises. I think that my kids might have put something down the drain that they probably weren’t supposed to.
    - Bryson Owens
  • Lately, every time I hear something go down the drain I hear gurgling noises and I am worried that this is the water line backing up into my house again. I really don’t want anything to flood or get clogged because that can result in expensive repairs. It’s helpful to know that those gurgling sounds are caused by blockages in the pipes and I need to call a repair service soon.
    - Tristan Stewart
  • The drain in my shower got clogged, and I don’t want to risk pouring chemicals down there to clear it. I didn’t realize that my clog could be a problem with sewer piping! It would definitely be a good idea for me to get a professional to take a look at things for me. I don’t want to risk trying to fix it but end up making things worse.
    - Braden Bills
  • That’s good to know that it might be blocked sewer piping. I feel like that would be good to unblock that before it builds up more. I’ll have to get someone to help me if that ever happens.
    - Tyler Johnson
  • This morning I heard glugging noises while taking a shower and using the kitchen sink. I never took into account that this could be a sign of a clogged sewer line. I’ll be sure to contact some professionals tonight to come pump it out.
    - Trevor Hall
  • My drains have been making a gurgling noise, and I’m not sure what to do about it. I didn’t know that it could mean that my drains are getting clogged! Maybe it would be a good idea for me to get a professional to clean them out for me. That way, I don’t have to worry about overflow.
    - Braden Bills
  • It’s good to know that an over-full septic tank can block sewer lines. I have noticed that my drains haven’t been functioning properly. I’ll be sure to find a professional who can help me repair my tank.
    - Stefan Bradley
  • My grandfather’s toilet overfilled, and the odor does not go away. It was helpful when you mention not to add chemicals drains after attempting plunging the sink. I will encourage my father to call a septic service to assist my grandfather.
    - Eli Richardson
  • My shower drain has been making a glugging sound, and it hasn’t been draining as quickly as normal. It’s probably a blocked drain! Maybe it would be a good idea for me to get a plumber to take care of it for me. They would have the equipment necessary to clear the blockage without any issues.
    - Braden Bills
  • I found it interesting how you mentioned how odd sounds coming from your sewer system can indicate problems that relate to the blockage of your pipes. My wife and I are in the process of preparing our home for our upcoming family reunion and we want to make sure these noises don’t turn into a problem when everyone is visiting. I will keep this in mind as we search for a sewer cleaning service near us that will take a look at our system!
    - Ethan Hansen
  • My drain has been making an odd gurgling noise, and I’m not sure what to do. It makes sense that it might be a problem with the sewer! Maybe I should have a professional come in and take a look at things. They would probably be able to figure out what’s going on.
    - Braden Bills
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  • It’s been taking a lot of time for my tub to drain fully and it’s making a strange sound when it does. Your information that this sound could be due to problems with the drain-vent system or a lack of vent connections or a block in the pipes is very helpful. We’ll start looking into a plumber who can help us clean the drain.
    - Sarah Smith
  • I’ve been hearing that glugging sound you mentioned in my drains for a few days now and I found it very concerning, and based on your descriptions, my concern was well-founded. We’ve already tried using a plunger, as you suggested, and I’m glad we didn’t try chemical drain cleaners yet as you say they aren’t good for the pipes. All things considered, we’ll be sure to take your advice and have a professional come and clear out the system and ensure that our drain vent is working well.
    - Rhianna Hawkj
  • Knowing that sewer pipes need to be snaked or jetted in order to accommodate increased water loads during laundry day, it reminded me of my sister. She called me a few minutes ago to tell me that she cannot drain the water from her washing machine. I will help her find a professional so that she will know the cause of her problem and get it fixed immediately.
    - Yoshiko Flora
  • My tub makes this sound, so I’m happy that I found this article. You mentioned that the gurgling sound may be because something is wrong with the pipes. It makes sense that you would need to get this checked out! My family is coming next week, so I would love to have this fixed before they came. I’m going to find a drain cleaning company to help me out with this one!
    - Kate Welling
  • I never knew that the earliest sign of a plumbing problem can be linked to a gurgling sound that the drain makes. In my opinion, after getting the plumbing repaired, I believe that one should call a professional to clean it. Doing this will not only add years to a drain but also keep the home clean as well.
    - Tim Yaotome
  • Wow, I had no idea that the gurgling in my drain meant that it needed to be cleaned out; and I have definitely noticed it getting worse on laundry day. My drains have been gurgling for about two weeks now, and at first I thought it was normal, but the drain is sometimes slow so I thought there may be a problem with it. Having a small clog in there sounds like something I should definitely get cleaned out before it gets worse, and I’ll be sure to call a plumber soon.
    - Rhianna Hawk
  • When I stand outside I hear the water going through the vent when someone Runs the water. We had our cesspool air rated about 2 months ago./ with chemicals.
    - Deb
  • I noticed that my drains have been making a strange glugging noise. I didn’t realize that it could be something as bad as blocked sewer piping! It would definitely be a good idea to get a professional to take a look at look at everything.
    - Braden Bills
  • I didn’t realize that surges during laundry or when I have guests over could mean that there was a blocked sewer pipe. I’ve noticed this recently when my brother and his family came to visit a few weekends ago. I’ll have to call a professional to come help me see if that’s the problem or any other blocked drains.
    - Hazel Owens
  • It’s interesting that a blockage to the sewer pipes that lead to the external system could remain hidden until you use an unusually large amount of water. My husband started doing laundry yesterday at the same time I was taking a shower. When I went down to the laundry room after I was out, the drain there had backed up and flooded the entire room. It seems we have a clog in the main sewer line, so we should probably get a plumber to come and fix that.
    - Lillian Schaeffer
  • My drains have been making a weird gurgling noise, but it still looks like it works correctly. I didn’t know that it could be blocked sewer piping! Maybe it would be a good idea for me to get a professional to take a look at this to see if they could get rid of the blockage.
    - Braden Bills
  • My drains have been making some weird noises. I didn’t know that it could mean that one of my drains is blocked! Maybe it would be a good idea for me to get a professional.
    - Braden Bills
  • My drain has been making a lot of weird noises. It makes sense that it could be a problem with the drains or the sewer piping! I should definitely get a professional to take a look at it for me, because I don’t want to risk handling something like this incorrectly.
    - Braden Bills
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