Gurgling Septic System: Warning Signs & Solutions for Homeowners

When you turn on the faucet or flush the toilet, the last thing you want to hear is a gurgling sound coming from your drains. While it might not seem like that big of a deal at first, this septic system gurgling is a warning sign that there’s an issue going on with your septic system.

Why Is My Residential Septic System Gurgling?

If your septic system is making a gurgling sound it likely indicates a septic problem that could include a full septic tank, trapped air from a septic blockage, venting problems, a failing drain field, or plumbing issues. This article will help you to identify the problem, how you can fix it, and ways to prevent these types of issues from reoccurring in the future..

How to Fix a Gurgling Septic System?

To fix a gurgling septic system, the first steps are to look for blockages in plumbing, add an effective biological septic treatment to your system to breakdown clogs, pump your septic tank if it’s full, check that all vents are clear, check the drain field for any signs of failure, and seek professional help if it’s not clear what the source of the problem is. Regular maintenance, cautious waste disposal, and keeping the drain field protected are preventative measures that help avoid future issues.

Understanding the Gurgling

So what exactly is going on? One of the main causes for septic system gurgling is air getting trapped somewhere inside the system. When water flows, it displaces air inside, which then has to find somewhere else to go. If everything is working well, the air moves seamlessly. If there’s a blockage or another problem though, the air will have nowhere to go except back up through the pipes, creating that funny gurgling sound. Below, we’ll walk you through other causes of gurgling our in-house experts have identified.

Full Septic Tank

If your septic tank hasn’t been pumped in a while, it will be nearing its capacity. A full tank will slow down the rate at which water drains from your house, leading to the gurgling sound.

Failed Drain Field

The drain field, or leach field, is where the wastewater goes after leaving the tank. If it’s not absorbing the water correctly (due to saturation or other issues), you will hear gurgling as the system struggles to function.

Venting Issues

Proper venting is crucial for a septic system. The vents allow sewer gases to be released outside the house instead of getting trapped. A blockage or problem with these vents can lead to gurgling.


One common cause for gurgling sounds is a blockage in the pipes. This could be from accumulated waste, tree roots, or other obstructions.

Plumbing Issues

Sometimes, the problem isn’t with the septic system at all. Instead, there is an issue with your home’s plumbing, like trapped air in the plumbing vents.

Solutions to the Gurgling Problem

Now that you know what causes septic system gurgling, let’s dive into treating a gurgling septic system. There’s a variety of ways to resolve what’s going on.

Inspect for Blockages

Start by checking the most accessible areas of your plumbing for blockages. This includes drain traps and cleanouts. In some cases, you can manually remove obstructions, but be cautious. If it’s beyond a simple fix, you might need professional help.

Pump the Septic Tank

A full septic tank can create many issues, gurgling being just one of them. If it’s been a few years since you last had your tank pumped, now is the time. Regular pumping (usually every 3-5 years depending on usage) is a vital maintenance task for any septic system.

Biological Additives

Because your septic system is buried underground with lots of hard-to-reach piping, a great solution to many of the underlying problems to gurgling sounds is to utilize effective biological additives in your system. For example, HOTROD Septic is a concentrated septic treatment that contains patented technology to stimulate biological activity at the cellular level. It helps to digest grease, oil, paper, salts, organic matter, and even petroleum products, breaking down solid matter that causes clogs within the system and improving percolation in the leach field. Keep in mind that not all biological septic system treatments are effective. HOTROD Septic uses a combination of 26 fresh biological strains and boosting enzymes that break down waste much faster and more effectively than other products on the market, as well as a patented technology that keeps working for months instead of dying out after only one month like other treatments. It’s an affordable and effective solution to address most issues causing your gurgling sounds. Order Hotrod Septic treatment products here!

Check Venting

Ensure that all vents connected to your septic system are clear of obstructions. Sometimes, wildlife or debris can block these vents, leading to gurgling and other more serious issues.

Inspect the Drain Field

If your drain field is failing, it’s time for a repair or replacement. This can be a more involved and costly process, but identifying and fixing drain field failures is crucial for the health and efficiency of your septic system. Signs of a failing drain field include soggy ground, unpleasant odors, or even wastewater surfacing. 

Seek Professional Help

If you’re unsure about the cause of the gurgling or how to fix it, it’s always a good idea to consult a professional. They can provide a thorough inspection and recommend the best course of action.

Preventative Measures

To avoid future gurgling or other septic issues, make sure to pump your septic tank regularly and inspect for potential issues. Use a proven biological agent to ensure your septic system is processing waste effectively in the septic tank all the way through the drain field. This is critical because many of the soaps and cleaning products used in homes today contain antimicrobial and antibacterial agents. These agents can kill off the healthy biology in your septic system, leading to a build-up of solids that can clog your system over time.

Avoid flushing or draining non-biodegradable items. This includes items like feminine hygiene products, wipes, diapers, and fats or oils. 

Finally, it’s important to protect your drain field. Avoid parking heavy vehicles on it, which can lead to damaged pipes and compressed soil that makes it harder to drain effectively. Don’t plant deep-rooted trees near your drain field to avoid the roots breaking up and clogging important drainage pipes. Also, make sure to use a biological agent to keep your drain field free of solid materials and avoid build-up of biomat that can block percolation and drainage that leads to saturation and puddling of wastewater around your drain field.

At the end of the day, a gurgling septic system is more than just a minor annoyance – it’s a sign that something might be wrong. By understanding the potential causes and solutions, you can guarantee the longevity and efficiency of your septic system. Always remember that when in doubt, it’s best to seek professional guidance. Your septic system is a vital component of your home, and it deserves the best care possible. 

For extra preventative measures, check out HOTROD Septic treatment. With our product, your system breaks down solid waste more quickly and efficiently than it can on its own. This prevents the build-up of sludge in the system that leads to blockages, clogging, and other major issues. If you want a septic system that runs smoothly all the time, be sure to invest in HOTROD septic treatment

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