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Old 11-01-2011, 02:42 PM   #1
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bubbling basement toilet on septic

Hey all,

When other things in the house use water (like when the washer is running, someone is showering upstairs, someone flushes upstairs) - the basement toilet "bubbles". The best way to describe it is that it's like a gulping sound - single big bubbles - just a handful each time then it stops.

At first I thought it was perhaps backing up - we're on septic. However, now I realize it's likely a venting issue. That bubbling - it's air being pulled INTO the toilet -I think.

There is a studer vent (not sure of spelling) on it. We had our basement upgraded and walls finished. You used to be able to see the old one. I told the plumber (there doing other work) about this - and he extended the vent 5 feet up the wall closer to a void in the ceiling before the walls were finished - for unknown reasons. But same size studer vent.

Anything I can do here? Is my assumption right?

It also does this exact bubble thing once every time you flush - a "burp" as it flushes.


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Old 11-01-2011, 04:50 PM   #2
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Install a new vent and see if that helps.
Those auto vents DO fail.


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Old 11-11-2011, 11:01 AM   #3
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I've got to get to the bottom of this - the problem seems to be getting worse, as is the smell. I contacted the plumber who, just months ago, installed that new studer vent. I told him about this problem as it was already going on. That's not why he was there - he was doing HWH work. But since he was there, he put that new vent top on. No change - except perhaps that it's getting a little worse. He had no answers.

I have an office in the basement so I'm down here all day. I can hear someone flush upstairs, or the washer or dishwasher drain. Like clockwork, the basement toilet bubble/gurgles - loud. It's gotten to where it's splashing water up. This is extra bad if you're sitting on it when this happens. There is no dirty water coming in - but the smell is instant.

I don't know if the basement was subbed for toilet. I do know when the previous owner had the basement done, they had to jackhammer 2x2 a part of the floor near that bathroom for something related to that bathroom drain. But since they did not do more than that - there must have been a pre-installed drain running direct to the septic.

Before we finished the rest of the basement, I took a good look (and pictures) at what was there. We have the big, main PVC drain running into the cement floor. That goes to septic out back. However - I don't recall seeing any bathroom drains running across the wall or floor to meet that main house drain.

That tells me it's separate and runs direct to the septic, or meets up with the main house drain out back or under my back patio.

All I can think is that when the main house water drains out the main drain, it passes that point where the basement bathroom drain meets it -as it swooshes by, it creates suction which "pulls" air that's in the basement toilet drain, and "pulls" water down inside the toilet until it can get it's gulp of air. Splash. But who knows...

When this happens, I'll also note that afterwards, occasionally the water level in that toilet goes low. When it's not low, immediately after an episode, it occasionally won't flush. Thus, I wonder if drain water from the rest of the house is blackwashing into that bathroom drain - actually PUSHING the air out - and the drain remains "full" for a short bit which is why it doesn't flush right away.

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