How to Check If the Vent Pipe Is Clogged

how plumbing vents work, how to check if vent pipe is clogged

Is your sink clogged? Have you looked again and again for the problem to no avail? It might not be your drain.

When your sink isn’t draining properly and the sewer line isn’t clogged, it may be time to look upward instead of down. The vent system (those plumbing pipes that stick out of your roof) may be clogged instead. When the vent pipe is clogged, it shows up within your home in a variety of ways, from “ghost flushing” from your toilet to a sink that won’t drain properly.

Your vent pipe can become clogged from a variety of things:

  • Bird nests
  • Bird or rodent carcasses
  • Leaves, small branches, trash, or other debris
  • Tennis balls or baseballs

How Plumbing Vents Work

Before you can focus on unclogging your plumbing vent, you must first understand how plumbing vents work. A plumbing vent or plumbing vent pipe is designed to regulate the air pressure throughout your plumbing system. It also helps remove gas and odors common with a plumbing system, allowing fresh air into the system to help keep the home smelling proper and to help water flow smoothly down the drain and out of the house. You can find your plumbing vent on your roof line. It will look like a vertical pipe running through the roof.

The vent pipe works hand in hand with the drainage pipes. When the drainage pipes carry waste out of your home, the vent pipes supply fresh air to the plumbing fixtures, so they can repeat the process and continue moving waste out of your home. These air vents also provide an escape for wastewater gases and odors. This two-fold function makes them an important asset to your home, and when they become clogged, you need to act quickly to get things moving again. You do not want your home to become backed up with sewer gases, nor do you want to find that your plumbing is no longer functional.

Now that you understand how plumbing vents work, consider what to do if you discover that yours are blocked.

How to Unclog a Vent Pipe

Because working on your vent pipe is difficult at best, taking preventative steps before you encounter a problem is your best course of action. Still, if a blockage is in place, you have two options.

1. Do It Yourself

To do it yourself, start by clearing debris from around the pipe. Use a flashlight to shine a bright light down the vent pipe to look for further blockage you can reach. If you can see but can’t reach, run a plumber’s snake down the vent pipe.

To continue, feed the end of a garden hose down the vent and have someone on the ground turn on the water. Listen carefully for water backing up and a sudden whoosh as the weight of the water pushes the clog back down the drain.

2. Hire a Professional

Not sure where the problem lies? Nervous about climbing and working on your roof? Want the job done right the first time (and without injuries)? Call in a professional plumber to take care of the job immediately. A professional plumber will give you professional results without cutting into your busy day.

Could your vent pipe be clogged? Contact the Atlanta plumbers from R.S. Andrews for a quick diagnosis!

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