Gurgles, Whistles and Hums: Why Your Toilet Is So Noisy 

You've long grown accustomed to the usual sounds your toilet makes. After you've completed your business, you expect to hear the faint whoosh of the evidence flushing away and the slight hiss of clean water refilling the tank. Occasionally, you hear a few bubbling sounds if you flushed a little extra toilet paper, but you feel confident in your restroom's ability to properly dispose of the waste.

So when you hear a noise that sounds out of place, you instantly know something doesn't seem right. If your toilet makes any of the noises below, you may need to contact a professional about repairs.

1. Whistling

After you flush, your toilet seems to whistle (or even scream) with the ferocity of a tea kettle set to boil. This sound could indicate a number of problems with your plumbing, but the primary contributor could be excessive water pressure.

To determine if your home has high water pressure, turn on your faucets. The water should come out quickly but not so fast that it feels explosive. Additional signs of high water pressure include:

  • Banging or popping pipes
  • Faucet aerator spitting
  • Short water heater lifespan
  • Frequently leaking faucets

You may also have a higher water and sewage costs on your monthly utility bills. If you notice any of these signs, hire a professional to test and adjust your water pressure so it rests at no more than 551kPa (80 PSI).

2. Humming

As your toilet refills after flushing, you may hear humming or feel the toilet vibrate or rumble. As with whistling, humming could indicate high water pressure in your system. However, humming more frequently results from a worn diaphragm.

When water pours into your cistern, the diaphragm redirects the water into the bowl. When you flush the toilet, the handle pulls on the top of a chain that attaches to the frame. Due to the unique frame design, the water maintains a steady pressure and has nowhere to go but up the flush pipe and then down into the bowl.

However, most plastic diaphragms disintegrate and crack with time. When your diaphragm splits, the water pressure drops, and the water escapes through the hole rather than traveling up the flush pipe. The uneven water pressure and poor flow causes your toilet to vibrate and hum with every flush.

Fortunately, diaphragms are easy and affordable to replace. Talk to your plumber about any cracks, holes or splits you notice on the diaphragm.

3. Gurgling

You may already recognise the usual gurgling sounds of a clogged toilet. The tell-tale slap and splash lets you know the blockage is close to the surface, and you can often resolve the problem on your own with a plunger.

But what about delayed gurgling that occurs long after you've flushed? Although everything seems to have gone down smoothly, the groans, moans and gurgles you hear could indicate that you have a blockage much deeper in your sewer line.  

Tree roots, wet wipes, toys or other debris could slow the flow from your toilet to the sewer. If left uncleared, you could soon see backflow and flooding in your yard or house. You may need to hire an expert to jet blast your pipes until they're clean or flush root foam through your plumbing to clear away any debris.

No sign of a clog in your sewer? The gurgling could also mean you have a blocked vent. Animal nests, leaf build-up and dirt can block your vent, preventing sewer gas from escaping. As the air tries to find alternative exits, it may glug and pop its way out of your toilet. To allow the water to flow smoothly again, you'll need a professional to mount your roof and manually clear the blockage.

Talk to a Plumber About the Noise

Don't see a noise listed here? Your toilet could have another problem on the horizon, from the phantom flushing of a slow leak to the jackhammer sound of a damaged main valve. If you hear a noise that seems out of place, don't wait to schedule repairs with a plumber. He or she can check your plumbing and repair, clean or replace damaged parts.

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