Have slow drains or experiencing problems with toilets that won’t flush right? Your plumbing vents may be clogged.
Three Ways Can You Prevent Plumbing Vent Problems
1) Understand the Drain-Waste-Vent System
The network of pipes that empties your plumbing fixtures into a local municipal sewer or septic tank is known as the drain-waste-vent system. Most people intuitively recognize the numerous drain pipes that directly attach to fixtures and know these pipes are then tied together into the outgoing waste pipe network.
Many people don’t often understand there is another extensive network of plumbing pipes behind the scenes. These are the vent pipes. The vent pipes in your drain-waste-vent system open into the atmosphere at rooftop level. This keeps noxious odors away from household occupants and allows them to disperse harmlessly into the air.
The vent pipes are critical to the proper functioning of a sewer system by providing air relief to the entrapped liquids and solids as they drain.
As an analogy, if you open a bottled soft drink and turn the bottle upside down, the soda will slowly run out in fits and spurts. The lack of equalized air pressure behind the soda as compared with the air pressure ahead of it makes it difficult for the soda to run out smoothly. In the same way, drains can’t empty quickly and toilets can’t flush smoothly if there is no functional ventilation system in place. Air pressure needs to be equalized as much as possible on both sides of the drain.
2) Fix Clogged Vents
If your home’s air vents become clogged, you will likely be able to tell based on the performance of drains and toilets. Gurgling and bubbling sounds, as well as slowly draining sinks and tubs, are all common signs of a vent problem.
Common causes of vent clogs include:
- Old leaves
- Dead animals, such as birds or squirrels
- Insect activity
- Toys that are stuck
In addition, other activities can crush vent lines which can restrict air flow through the pipes.
It is important to note, that sometimes clogged air vents are actually clogged drains that simply need to be cleaned. Get your drain lines cleared before you move on to fixing the air vents.
If you still suspect the air vents are clogged, the next step is to contact a professional plumber for help who can inspect all openings to the vent network and clean out any clogs they find with augers and other tools.
3) Prevent Vent Lines from Clogging
The best thing homeowners can do to handle clogged vent lines is to prevent the problem from occurring in the first place. Since vent lines don’t carry liquid or solid wastes, the best strategy is keeping vent lines completely clear and free of debris.
You can accomplish this by covering rooftop openings. This is where a lot of debris ultimately finds access to the vent lines themselves. Such covers are commercially available and provide good protection against intrusion into the line. If you decide to install a vent cover or cap, be sure to carefully follow the manufacturer’s directions for installation. For example, use caution when working with surrounding shingles so you don’t accidentally create a leak. In addition, avoid damaging the vent line itself and never use the vent as an anchor point while working.
Contact Power Pro Plumbing, Heating & Air for help. Our professionals are ready to assist you throughout OC, LA, and South Bay.