The plumbing in your home is often the number one source of strange noises that plague your family, especially a gurgling sink. This is different than eerie creaks or unexpected thuds that keeps you and your family up at night. Strange noises coming from your kitchen sink are unsettling — but they may be an easy fix. Learn how to fix a gurgling kitchen sink by identifying the potential problem and working through these helpful steps.
What causes a gurgling kitchen sink?
Understanding the inner-workings of your kitchen sink and playing close attention to what goes into it can help you prevent kitchen sink plumbing problems. Your gurgling sink may be echoing through the entire kitchen. Metal sinks amplify sound waves, whereas stone and porcelain sinks are more dense and will absorb noise. If you enter your home's kitchen asking yourself: why does my sink gurgle? Here are a few potential answers:
In addition to a gurgling sink, a leaky or broken p-trap could result in a small pool of water on the floor. This is an issue that needs to be addressed quickly to prevent contamination or strong smells. The air causing your gurgling sink is likely located inside the surrounding pipes that push or pull water in your drain's p-trap. A broken p-trap could be due to an improper fit, corroded components, or over-tightened or deteriorated components. Fixing a leaking or broken p-trap can be an easy job, or one that requires replacement parts and professional service.
Clogged drain pipe
The gurgling sink noise is due to air trying to move through a tight space somewhere in your kitchen plumbing. Clogged drain pipes are a likely culprit. Seemingly harmless food waste builds up over time — especially if you don't have a kitchen garbage disposal. Wouldn't your kitchen sink fill with water if you had a clogged drain pipe? Not necessarily. Water may be able to get through, but the air build up around the obstruction is what is causing the gurgling sink.
The best way to address a clogged drain pipe is to get in touch with a plumbing professional. Liquid drain cleaners can do more damage than good, especially with older drain pipes in your home.
Drain pipe installation issues
The logical cause of a gurgling sink is an obstruction. But what if it's bigger? How to fix a gurgling kitchen sink may end up requiring a plumbing professional to investigate the routing of your pipes, p-trap and even proper hook-ups of your vent pipe. Larger structural issues can result in a gurgling sound if the brain pipe hasn't been installed properly.
Poor pipe ventilation
The vent within your kitchen sink is designed to prevent a vacuum from forming when the sink is full of water. If this vent hasn't been installed properly, a gurgling sink is your logical output. Similar to the potential p-trap issues or pipe installation issues, this fix likely requires the support of a plumbing professional.
How to Fix a Gurgling Sink
The most important part of a homeowner's question is the second half: why does my sink gurgle and what can I do about it? Depending on the cause, here are a few tips to fix a gurgling kitchen sink:
Flush the sink with water
Turn on hot water in your kitchen sink and let it run for about 15 minutes. If there's a simple clog, this simple trick may solve the problem. Try this step first before moving on to the more labor-intensive steps that involve inspecting your kitchen plumbing components.
Clean the drain
Another homemade remedy may be the ticket here. Combining vinegar and baking soda can dissolve minor clogs and creates less damage to your drains than the cleaning solutions with extensive chemicals. Cleaning products that are filled with chemicals can increase the likelihood of leaks, as your pipes can corrode with frequent use.
Remove the obstruction
A brave endeavor, indeed. With a drain snake, you may be able to jar the obstruction loose so it can easily be flushed away — putting an end to your gurgling sink. A drain auger is flexible, long, coiled wire that can help dislodge the build up. When using the drain auger, use a moderate amount of pressure, but be sure not to damage your sink. If you're wary, stop right away and call a plumbing professional.
Inspect the main vent
The vent may not be producing a strong enough vacuum to drain the trap. If the other methods didn't work, the central vent may be to blame. Most commonly, the central vent can be cleaned from the roof — as it's usually located above the main bathroom. Cleaning it can be as simple as flushing water into the opening, or using a drain auger like we previously described.
Use expanding foam
Maybe you don't really have a gurgling sink issue, but just a noisy sink! Dual-basin sinks can be incredibly noisy because of the hollow space between the basins. Filling this space with expanding foam lessens the gong effect by deadening sound vibrations. It's possible to do this with your sink in place, but the job will be easier and more precise if you remove the sink to apply the expanding foam.
Call the Plumbing Professionals at John C. Flood
Not everyone has time to take apart their sink, inspect p-traps or vents — we get it! If you don’t have time to investigate your gurgling sink, but are tired of hearing the noise, call the Virginia plumbing experts at John C. Flood (202) 794-6179 or schedule service online.