So I have an odd issue with the plumbing in my house. In one of the bathrooms, the toilet occasionally doesn’t flush. If you try to use a plunger, the toilet doesn’t drain, but you can hear gurgling in the 2 sinks and the shower in that bathroom, and this gurgling comes with a smell of raw sewage. There is another bathroom on the same side of the house which works just fine, and the pipes from the affected bathroom use the same line as the unaffected bathroom. No other drains or fixtures are affected.

Here is where it gets odd:
– It happens frequently, almost always in the spring and fall
– It has been happening for the past 4 years
– The toilet will remain clogged for a day or two, and then it spontaneously begins working again
– Once when it was clogged, I opened the front door to leave for work, and my wife yelled and told me that opening the door fixed the clog
– We had a plumber come out. Of course, by the time he got here, it was working. They put a camera through the pipes, charged us $500 for the hour he was here, and told us there was nothing wrong. Three days later, the toilet stopped working again.

The wife gets pretty aggravated. So do I. Any suggestions?

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Don McCollor · December 12, 2019 at 2:19 am

…Only thing that I can think of and was not already checked would be the toilet vent line…

"Zack" · December 12, 2019 at 3:31 am

Do you have access to a good capacity / powerful wet-dry shop vac? Stick the suction-hose end into the toilet while running water into the sink and shower. It MAY pull out some "problems." I had to do it on one of our bathrooms and it worked very well and very fast; of course, your results may not be as miraculous (or as disgusting) as ours.

Miguel GFZ · December 12, 2019 at 3:34 am

I am up for both of the above ideas. You may want to rent a plumber's snake and run it down from the vent line. If bones, feather or fur come out…..

chris · December 12, 2019 at 6:21 pm

Sounds like a venting problem on the waste stack for this run… the fact that you opened door and toilet indicates a negative pressure situation for the vent stack

Mark J · December 13, 2019 at 4:20 pm

I agree with the others, vent issue would be about the only thing that fits the situation.

Hope you and yours have a great and Merry Christmas, and an even better New Year!

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