How to Fix a Gurgling Kitchen Sink

If your kitchen sink is gurgling, it’s a clear indication of some issue in the pipes or drains. It could be a result of some blockage or damage to the pipes.

Fixing a gurgling kitchen can be as simple as flushing your sink or making a few simple repairs.

If there is a deeper issue at hand, you might need to contact a plumber.

Before you get started on fixing your gurgling kitchen sink, you need to identify the cause.

What Can Cause a Gurgling Kitchen Sink?

Plumbing is supposed to work by letting the water drain smoothly and uninterrupted from your sink. If your sink drain is unvented, it could be the cause of the gurgling sound.

Often, the sink installation is not done correctly, allowing air to enter the water flow. This occurs when the joints are not sealed properly.

A blocked or damaged vent pipe could also affect the flow of air and water down the drain.

Waste material such as food, debris, and grime can clog the pipes as they build up. A kitchen sink is more likely to get blocked by eggshells, hot oil, grease, and bones.

When the vent pipe is blocked, the obstruction traps the air. Sewer gas gets pushed upwards, leading to a gurgling sound.

Once you understand what is causing the gurgling sounds, you can take a few steps to try fixing it yourself.

Fixing a Gurgling Kitchen Sink

A gurgling sink can signal an underlying issue in your plumbing system. No matter how small or harmless you think it is, getting it checked is a wise decision.

Often, you can fix the issue yourself with a home remedy or simple repair. For deeper issues, a professional’s opinion might be necessary.

1. Flushing the Sink

The most straightforward fix is to flush the system. It will get rid of small clogs that might have been causing the issue.

All you have to do is run hot water for a while. Excessive water can push out any waste into the sewage pipe.

If the gurgling resolves, you saved yourself from unnecessary repairs or costs. If not, you will know that the issue lies elsewhere.

2. Clean the Drain

Even though most drains have a screen, some debris and waste inevitably go down your kitchen sink. If you use well water, the mineral build-up is a potential issue.

Unscrew the P-trap and remove it.

Remember to keep a pan below it to collect and spills. The P-trap catches many waste materials and debris before they clog your pipes.

Empty it and clean it with a cheap nylon brush. Once it is clean, you can put it back.

Also read: How to Clean Kitchen Drain Pipes?

3. Clean Out the Main Vent

A central blockage can affect your entire plumbing system. A vacuum keeps building in the system, causing odors to enter through the drains.

This would also mean that flushing a toilet or draining bathwater could cause your kitchen sink to gurgle.

A clog can form as a result of many things, such as bathroom waster, hair, dirt, or food waste. If your vent has an opening on the roof, leaves, and sand might also enter the pipes.

These can cause blockages.

Most main vents are on the roof of the house. You can clear out the blockage by shooting water into it or renting a sewer auger.

The process often required specialized equipment and roof access. That is why it is better to contact a professional to clear a central vent.

4. Check the Installation of the Sink

If you have drained the sink and still hear gurgling, the issue might lie in the sink’s venting. A U-shaped pipe under your sink is the P-trap.

This pipe acts as a barrier against sewer gases coming up the sink drain.

The distance between your drain pipe and the P-trap should be accurate. This includes the tailpieces, arm, and fittings, which should no more than 24 inches.

For a drain pipe that is 1.5 inches long, its vent should be 3.5 feet from the lower part of the P-trap.

An improper distance creates a vacuum that makes the gurgling sound in your kitchen sink.

Alternatively, if a vent is used to admit air into the drainpipe, it might be stuck. Fixing it will solve your kitchen sink’s gurgling.

5. Replace or Fix the Air Admittance Valve

Many drains have an air admittance valve that regulates the pressure inside the pipes. A proper valve can function for 20 to 30 years without an issue.

The air admittance valve is located just after the P-trap in drain pipes that don’t have a vent.

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However, it can often become clogged or trapped. A broken or clogged valve can upset the air pressure in the system. Fortunately, these are easy and cheap to replace.

6. Use Chemical Drainers

This method is not preferred due to the toxic chemicals used, so save it as your last option.

Many store-bought chemical drainers or chemical clog removers use harsh chemicals. These can erode and damage your pipes, causing more issues.

Enzymatic chemical cleaners or biodegradable cleaners are other options. They do not damage your pipes but take longer than other chemical cleaners.

You will need to leave it in your system for a while before you flush it out.

The chemicals can release toxic fumes if mixed. Some can create holes in your pipes, causing you more damage.

7. Use Vinegar and Baking Soda

Vinegar and baking soda can act as natural chemical drain openers. They do not harm your plumbing but are not as effective or fast-acting. Still, they are a great alternative to putting toxic substances down your drain.

Pour around a cup of baking soda down your drain, followed by two cups of boiling hot water. Wait a while, then add another cup of baking soda, followed by a cup of vinegar.

The foam from the chemical reaction may begin to rise from the drain. Next, you should keep pouring hot water over it to clear out the pipes.

The hot water paired with the baking soda and vinegar gets rid of clogs and grease. In many cases, this home remedy is able to fix a gurgling kitchen sink.

8. Plungers and Drain Snakes

Once again, fixing your sink might be as simple as using a plunger. A plunger would suck the air out of the pipe, forcing the blockage to be dislodged.

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A drain snake can help break the obstruction so that it can easily flush away.

These are riskier to use than plungers since they can create leaks or even damage your pipes. Having a plumber do this for you can be a better option.

However, this will only work if the cause of the gurgling is a blockage. A plunger or a drain snake will not resolve a structural or installation issue.

Preventive Measures for Gurgling Sink

To prevent your kitchen sink from gurgling, follow these simple steps:

  • Proper maintenance: Regularly clean your sink and drainage system to keep it functioning efficiently. Use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda to naturally remove soap scum and other debris that gather in the drain.
  • Dispose of garbage correctly: Avoid throwing food waste, grease, and other solid materials down the drain. Use a kitchen sink strainer to catch unwanted debris, and make sure to clean it regularly.
  • Check for leaks: Inspect the plumbing under your sink for any leaks, as they may indicate a problem with your drainage system that can lead to gurgling sounds.
  • Flush the system: Periodically flush your sink’s system by running water for two to three minutes to clear your drain system.
  • Ensure proper ventilation: Your sink requires adequate ventilation to maintain air pressure. Check your plumbing vent for blockages, and clear them if necessary.
  • Install a backwater valve: A backwater valve can help prevent gurgling noises by ensuring a one-way flow of water and air in the drain system.
  • Inspect your septic tank: If you have a septic tank, make sure it is well-maintained and not full, as this can affect the drain system in your kitchen sink and cause gurgling noises.

By taking these preventive measures, you can avoid common issues that lead to a gurgling kitchen sink and ensure your sink remains in good working condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes a kitchen sink to gurgle?

A gurgling kitchen sink is typically caused by either a blocked vent, a clogged drain, or an issue with the sink’s P-trap. Air and water struggle to flow freely through the system, causing the gurgling sound you hear.

How can I prevent gurgling in my sink?

To prevent gurgling in your sink, try the following:

  • Regularly clean your drain and P-trap to remove buildup.
  • Avoid pouring grease, oils, and fibrous food waste down the sink.
  • Use a strainer to catch large debris before it enters the drain.

What steps should be taken to fix a gurgling sink?

Fixing a gurgling sink involves identifying and resolving the issue. Some steps to consider are:

  1. Inspect the sink for clogs and remove any debris.
  2. Check the P-trap and air vent for blockages and clear them if needed.
  3. If your sink has an air admittance valve, ensure that it is functioning properly.
  4. If gurgling persists, consider contacting a plumber for assistance.

Why does my sink gurgle when it rains or after heavy rain?

Your sink may gurgle when it rains due to excess water entering your drainage system, causing increased pressure in the pipes. Rainwater may also introduce debris that can accumulate and lead to blockages.

How can I fix a gurgling sink without blockage?

If your sink is still gurgling without any visible blockage, it may be due to a problem with the vent system or air admittance valve.

Does a gurgling sink indicate a plumbing issue?

A gurgling sink can signal a plumbing issue such as a blocked vent, clogged P-trap, or malfunctioning air admittance valve. While some of these problems can be resolved by homeowners, some may require the expertise of a plumber to ensure the issue is properly fixed.

Final Words

Whatever the root cause, you should not ignore a gurgling kitchen sink.

Being observant and taking quick action can help you down the road by preventing further issues. If the problem is left unchecked, it could build up.

This would result in you having to go through extensive repairs.

The fixes as mentioned above can resolve most gurgling kitchen sinks. However, if you tried these and they haven’t worked, there might be another underlying issue.

Old houses, in particular, can have an array of plumbing issues. A seemingly-small problem could lead to an expensive mess. Therefore, it is better to be cautious and quick to take action.

If a gurgling kitchen sink is a frequent problem, it is worthwhile to have your sewage and drain pipes inspected.

A professional plumber will have the necessary tools and the knowledge to inspect your pipes and identify the problem. You don’t want to risk causing more damage by trying to solve it yourself.

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