Showers, sinks, toilets, and other plumbing fixtures all have drains to allow wastewater to exit. Attached to these drains are plumbing vents that form vent stacks which serve two main purposes. The first is to allow sewer gases to escape the plumbing pipes by sending the gases up and out through the roof. The second purpose plumbing vents serve is to allow fresh air into the system to create equal drain pressure. As wastewater exits the pipes it requires an equal amount of air pressure behind it to keep the water flowing. properly.
In this article, we will learn the importance of plumbing vents and several common signs your plumbing vents may be clogged. We will discuss the best way to open them and the hazards of ignoring the causes of clogs.
Signs Of Blocked Vents
There are five common signs the plumbing vents in your home may be blocked. Drains that are slow to empty can be a result of issues with your sewer line but if that cause has been ruled out then it is best to turn your attention to the plumbing vent. If the vent is somehow malfunctioning the fresh air needed to keep the wastewater exiting smoothly will be inhibited.
A second clue your vents may be clogged is smelling foul odors in the house. Every toilet and sink has what is known as a P-trap. The job of the P-trap is to create a liquid barrier between the sewer line and the inside of your home. If the water exiting is not flowing as it should, the P-trap can dry out and permit sewer gases to enter.
When there is not enough pressure in the plumbing line to keep the wastewater flowing properly it can cause sinks and toilets to make a gurgling sound. Not only is this annoying to listen to it can be a clear sign the vent pipe is blocked.
Toilets affected by vent clogs can also reveal there is an issue when the toilet flushes weakly. Although a weak flush could be caused by other factors it is wise to consider the venting system as a possibility.
Finally, if wastewater is backing up into sink drains or toilets it could be because of a vent failure. Regardless of the symptom, a vent clog needs to be removed in order to maintain a clear-flowing drainage system.
How To Unclog Plumbing Vents
The plumbing vent is a vertical pipe that attaches to all the drains in a home and exits out the roof to allow gasses to escape and fresh air to enter. Thus, clearing a vent will require you to climb up onto the roof. Oftentimes this stack is blocked by tennis or baseball accidentally thrown onto the roof. It can also be blocked by bird or critter nests and even snow, in the winter months. If the blockage is reachable you can remove the cause with your fingers. If it is located deeper in the vent a plumbing snake or a garden hose usually will clear the pipe.
If these solutions do not bring you results it is best to contact a reliable plumber. They can remedy the problem with more specialized equipment or can even unclog the vent without going on the roof. This however requires the removal of indoor plumbing pipes so leave this option to the professionals.
Hazards Of Blocked Plumbing Vents
A main concern about blocked plumbing vents is they can have a negative effect on both physical as well as mental health. Since the gasses that are meant to be released out through the vent are now backing up into the home residents can experience headaches, bronchitis, claustrophobia, depression, and memory loss. A clogged vent is not just a plumbing issue but can create serious health conditions if left unattended.
Think You Have A Clogged Plumbing Vent?
We have learned about the function of plumbing vents and their importance in keeping your drainage pipes flowing properly. We now know the signs to look for to determine if a clog is present and a few solutions to unclogging the vents. It is important not to overlook what may seem like inconsequential symptoms because a blocked plumbing vent can harm you and those who reside in your home. Although the symptoms listed here are not only caused by a blocked vent it is for the health and safety of everyone that plumbing vents be maintained so as not to create harmful conditions. A little precaution can go a long way!
Contact our team of Orange County plumbing experts today so we can solve your clogged vent stack problem. We have been identifying and serving the plumbing needs of Orange County residents for many years. Contact us to become one of our next loyal customers!