27 Sep

How to Clean Plumbing Vents

When you think about your home plumbing system, you probably think of a bunch of pipes which carry water. But there is much more to your plumbing system than this. Your plumbing system also has air vents which are connected to fixtures. The purpose of plumbing air vents (or vent stacks) is to remove sewage gases so they don’t go into your home. Plumbing vent stacks usually go up to the roof.

Signs of a Clogged Vent Stack

Vent stacks luckily don’t get clogged often. However, they can sometimes become clogged by animal carcasses, leaves, or even snow. Here are the main signs that you have a clogged vent stack.
• Bad smells in the home because sewage gas isn’t escaping
• Slow draining drains
• Bubbles in toilet when you flush
• Gurgling sound coming from drains


Clearing a Clogged Plumbing Vent

If you suspect a clogged plumbing vent, you will have to get up onto the roof to check. This is dangerous, so don’t do it unless you are comfortable climbing onto the roof.

You will need a flashlight for peering into the vent stack, as well as a garden hose which can reach up onto the roof. For removing the actual clog, you may need a plumber’s snake.
Once on the roof, remove any debris away from the vent stack as well as any debris within the vent stack that you can reach. Then feed the garden hose into the vent stack. Have someone on the ground turn on the water. Sometimes, the force of the water is enough to dislodge the clog in the vent. If the clog is solid, such as a baseball which got stuck in there, then the water will back up out of the vent stack.

If water backs up out of the vent stack, you will need to use a plumbers snake to clear out the clog. Again, it is probably best to leave this job to a professional rather than risking your safety on the roof.