A plumbing vent might sound like it has something to do with removing the wastewaters of your home, but that’s not what it does. Instead, it has a different function related to your drain pipes.
Negligence or lack of plumbing maintenance can cause your insurance companies or those not covered to pay a hefty sum. If they are not checked from time to time, they can be dangerous for you and your family, causing sickness or leading to the pipes exploding.
Now, how to tell if your plumbing vent is clogged. Here are a few quick ways discussed that professional plumbers told us to look for.
What Is A Plumbing Vent & How It Works?
A plumbing vent, also known as a vent stack, maintains the airflow or stabilizes the air pressure in your home’s plumbing system every time a sink is drained or a toilet is flushed.
The plumbing vent removes all the gas and odor in the drain pipes through the pipe attached at the top of the roof. First, it takes the air above the canopy. The atmosphere in the vent then prevents any void, which causes slow or no drainage. And then, the air helps the water and waste flow freely through the sewer or the septic system.
Is Your Vent Clogged?
Even if your vent isn’t completely clogged, here are a few ways to tell that it’s about to be.
- Your bathtub stinks, or you can hear the sound of the toilet flushing from your bathtub
- It smells like rotten eggs or maybe even worse in your kitchen or your bathroom.
- The kitchen or bathroom sink will make sounds of gurgling.
Signs That Tell If Your Plumbing Vent Is Clogged
Plumbing vents are a crucial part of your home plumbing system. If the vents get clogged, the water in drain pipes won’t flow, leaving unpleasant smells in your home from the bathroom or the sinks.
Here are some commonly known ways to tell if your plumbing vent is clogged or not.
1. Slow Drain
If you notice that the drains are significantly slow or back up, this is one of the possible signs that your vent is clogged because the air in your vent isn’t flowing correctly or blocked.
This can happen in your sink, bathtub, shower drains, or toilet. Consider the possibility of a drainage block, too, if the water takes a long time to drain.
If you face this with only one drain, then chances are it might be a drain pipe blockage, but if it’s in multiple places, then a clogged vent might be the answer for all those odors.
2. Dry or Unfilled Toilet Tanks
You won’t have any water to flush away what you need to because of the blockage or the total absence of air pressure. So the water in your toilet tank does not stay where it’s supposed to and instead keeps flowing down the pipe.
If the toilet tank does not refill, that usually indicates a clogged vent.
3. Horrible Smell
You’ll get a toxic gas smell that you usually smell from sewer lines caused by the sewer gasses like ammonia and hydrogen sulfide. This, in the end, smells like rotten eggs.
Methane is also a considerable element of sewer gas. It is colorless and odorless. Inhaling it can cause nausea, headache, and dizziness. In addition, the drop in the air pressure of the vent can dry out the drain pipes therefore, the P-traps of your plumbing dries out.
P-traps are designed at a 90-degree angle that holds a small amount of water that prevents sewer gasses from passing through the pipes. If the P-trap doesn’t get any water, it cannot create a barrier that holds the smell, resulting in the harmful gasses passing up the pipes.
4. Makes a Gurgling Sound
Your drains will make a sound like gurgling or like gulping while going down. Due to the restriction of air in the vent caused by the clog, the air needs time to restore the vacancy left by the water passed. That delay is what makes the gurgling sounds.
How to Clear a Clogged Plumbing Vent
Here are a few ways you can try clearing a clogged plumbing vent without professional help.
- Clear the opening; since the start of the vent is mainly on the roof, different leaves, dust and debris might be blocking the opening.
- Have someone flush down the toilet while keeping your hand at the vent. If you don’t feel any pressure pulling your hand, the vent is blocked further down.
- Try pouring hot water through the vent during winter as the vents get frozen.
- Take a water hose, insert it inside the vent, and turn on the water; thus, the force of the water will clear the obstruction.
- Use an auger (a drill) 10-20 feet long to clear the more stubborn clog.
- Use a drain snake.
- After trying the above steps, have someone flush down the toilet again and check for the suction in the vent with your hand.
Even after trying all the given methods, you should call a professional plumber to help you clear out the clog. A clogged plumbing vent is quite hazardous to your health and your family’s too.
You don’t want to get hospitalized due to toxic gas or suffer water backups in your homes. Before it’s too late, pay attention to the maintenance of your plumbing or seek help from professional plumbing services.