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Question DetailsAsked on 3/27/2013

New toilet installed a few weeks ago. A couple days later, started having air bubbles come up in the toilet when the shower was on. Why?

I had a new toilet installed a week and a half ago. A day or two later, I noticed large air bubbles coming up into the toilet when the shower or sink were running. Now, the toilet won't flush at all. Bowl just fills with water and will eventually trickle out. Did not have a problem like this before new toilet was installed. What would cause this?

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3 Answers

Voted Best Answer

It sounds like you have a clogged drain. It may be possible that the installer dropped something down the drain, like the wax seal which may be causing the backup. I would call the installer to check it out. Most likely you will need the sewer pipe cleaned to remove the blockage.


Answered 7 years ago by Homefront Inspection


Also check the vent pipe from the outlet at the roof all the way to the drain connection. It could be a coincidence in timing. A blocked vent won't let the air behind water needed as it flows through the drain pipe, creating a small suction. As the pressure in the pipe equalizes the air that was sucked in eases back out. If the vent is blocked it has to go somewhere which is apparently the toilet in your case. Have a plumber camera all of the vent pipes and drains in the area to look for obstructions.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services
San Antonio, TX

Answered 7 years ago by Todd's Home Services


Considering the timing and the fact the toilet is backing up, got to be the plumber dropped something down the toilet. Cold be the waxed paper or plastic sheet that usually comes on both sides of the was seal so it does not stick to the box it comes in. You commonly peel off one side and stick it in place, then peel the other one and install the toilet. He could have dropped or knocked one or both down the pipe. More likely, a half-ring of the old wax seal fell down - that could block it up good. Initially it would just restrict flow, but with toilet use more and more solids (particularly TP) would hang up on it, leading to total blockage.

I consider the vent pipe theory that Todd advanced to be less likely - not that he is wrong, just that it would not cause total blockage of the toilet, and usually leads to total drainage of the water in the toilet trap instead. While air bubbles would gurgle up into the bowl at the end of flushing (due to inadequate trap water), I can't see that it would cause air bubbles to come up when the shower is used - that is indication of backup of the draining water forcing air up the drain pipe to the toilet, meaning a blockage somewhere downstream of the where the shower and toilet drains come together.

One other possibility is the wax seal did not have the plastic/wax paper cover removed all the way or the wax seal slipped and is partically blocking the sewer pipe. That could result in air leaking into the sewer flow, and eventual blockage. This would also cause leakage into the subfloor around the sewer pipe flange, so that should be checked for when the toilet is lifted off - there shold be NO wetness outside of the wax ring, on the flooring or on the surfaces of the subflooring cutout.

Either way, the toilet needs to be removed again and the source located.

Unless the plumber is able to fish out the obstruction (unlikely), you should require full-length drain rootering to the street, NOT just till the blockage is cleared. If it is wax ring pieces or waxed paper or plastic wrap (or a tool) and he snakes it he might knock it loose OK, just to have it hang up at the first bend or wye and lead to another blockage in a week or so. This could be very bad if it happens in a basement sub-floor pipe, as the next backup could be through a basement toilet, sink, washtub, or floor drain and make quite a mess before you notice it is happening. It needs to be rootered all the way into the street sewer main.

Answered 7 years ago by LCD


UNSTOPPING THE JET/SIPHON HOLE FIXED IT! The jet hole is inside the bowl and under the water line, about 1" big, and across from the big drain hole.

I have a $800 designer toilet that has never flushed. The week it was installed we had a major, long-term health issue, so the issue wasn’t addressed for over 3 years (thus the toilet was not immediately returned). Since then I have replaced/customized the fill/release valve three times; taken the entire toilet out, snaked the line, and carefully replaced the wax ring; and run a garden hose down the roof vent pipe.

The clue was the big air bubbles in the bowl at the start of flushing.

When I read this thread, I flushed, and no water at all came out the jet/siphon hole. I carefully probed it with a small screw diver and it was totally plugged, but hard small chunks of sand/cement/calcium(?) came loose. I then used a 14” plastic snake (used to remove drain hairballs) in the siphon hole and more granular junk came out – about 2tbs. Once I could get the snake all the way in, the commode was immediately able to FLUSH!!!

I poured about ½ gallon of vinegar in the bowl to soak overnight and will use the plastic snake again tomorrow.

My theory is this plug was from some kind of sand casting process during manufacturing.

Answered 2 years ago by DumbDYIPlumber

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