Modern-day plumbing separates first-world countries from third-world countries. It keeps people from contracting avoidable diseases caused by poor sewage and drainage issues in a home. While plumbing may look fairly simple, like a single pipe leading your sewage out of your home, it’s actually an intricate system of pipes that work together. The cooperation of pipes and vents keeps your home smelling pleasant and functioning safely.
So what happens, then, when you begin to smell sewer in your home? Your heart understandably may race when you hear gurgling in your toilets or drains. You could easily have a clogged plumbing vent. Put your worries away and read on. Today you will learn everything you need to know about how to fix a plumbing venting problem.
What Is a Plumbing Vent?
A plumbing vent pipe is a vent that gives gas and odors a way to escape from your home. They also play a critical role in regulating the air pressure in your pipes and overall plumbing system. If you do not have functioning vents, waste and water cannot move from one place to another efficiently.
If you’ve ever noticed a small pipe projecting from your roof, that is most likely your plumbing vent pipe. The pipe that leads to your main roof vent is called the vent stack. This vent creates proper atmospheric pressure in your waste system, and it gives exhaust gasses a place to release.
The venting system also provides fresh air to your plumbing fixtures. This fresh air allows the plumbing system to move water throughout your drain pipes every time you drain a sink or flush a toilet.
Signs of Plumbing Vent Problems
Now that you understand the critical role of the plumbing vent pipe, you can understand the problems that occur when your plumbing vents aren’t working properly. If the vents give smelly air a bad place to go, you will most likely have bad smells in your home if the pipe is clogged. If the vents regulate the atmospheric pressure, then you’ll notice water pressure issues in your pipes if the vent takes on a clog. Here are a few telltale signs that you have a plumbing vent problem.
If you’ve never smelled sewage, just know that it smells like rotten eggs. It does not make your home smell pleasant, and it can be dangerous in large quantities. When you have a clogged toilet vent pipe, your home will smell like sewage. The sewer gasses cannot pass through a clogged vent pipe, so they will seep back into your home. The smell can come from your toilet or your sink. The methane you smell is dangerous. It is highly combustible and can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. When you smell that sewage smell, vacate the premises and call a professional plumber.
The sewer venting system also regulates atmospheric pressure. This means that if the venting is broken or clogged, you will have pressure problems in your pipes. For example, you may hear a gurgling sound come from your toilet after you flush it. You may also hear the gurgling come from your sink drains. The air in the pipes cannot escape from the vent, so it will escape from the nearest exit, usually a sink or toilet.
Your drain may be slow for one of a dozen reasons. Put “clogged plumbing vent” on that list of reasons. When air cannot escape through the vent, it will build up in a pipe and cause things to flow slowly. When you have a slow drain, consider checking your pipe vent to see if you have a problem. Slow drains can stem from several issues. But one of those issues pertains to a clogged plumbing vent.
How to Fix a Plumbing Venting Problem
You can attempt to fix your own plumbing venting problems if you’re feeling agile and brave. Some solutions will require you to climb a roof. So if you’re not comfortable handling the types of plumbing venting problems mentioned above, contact a professional.
Otherwise, try these DIY techniques to clear your drain:
- Climb up on your roof.
- Hold your hand over the vent and have someone else flush the toilet. If you do not feel suction, you have a blocked line further down the pipe.
- Use a plumber’s snake to break up the clog.
- If the plumber’s snake doesn’t work, flush the debris with a garden hose.
- Hold your hand over the vent and have someone flush the toilet again. If you feel suction, you unclogged it.
If these troubleshooting techniques don’t work, don’t worry. A professional plumber will be able to help you with this issue. Also, if you have a particularly steep roof, call a professional. The money you will spend on rehabbing after you fall off the roof will be far more than the cost of having a plumber unclog the vent for you.
Fix Your Vent Today
Now you should fully understand how to fix a plumbing venting problem. The plumbing vent is an essential part of your plumbing system. Without it, you have an unsafe system and a smelly home.
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