How to Clear a Plumbing Vent

clogged plumbing vent

How to Clear a Plumbing Vent

A working plumbing vent is integral to the function of any home’s plumbing system.

Your plumbing vent regulates the pressure in your drainage pipes to ensure pipes are safe and can effectively drain waste and water. 

Understanding how to maintain and clear your plumbing vent can save you time and money – helping you avoid an expensive plumbing disaster.

What is a plumbing vent?

Plumbing vents are the devices that regulate pipe pressure in your plumbing system. 

Often referred to as vent stacks, plumbing vents are designed to filter out gases from pipes and allow fresh air in at the same ratio. This prevents pipes from emitting a foul odor. 

The plumbing vent pipe is a vertical line that runs from a drain line up to the roof. It runs into a vent on the roof, which releases the gas. This ensures the pipe is never over- or under-pressurized. 

This even balance of pressure makes the flow of water through pipes much smoother.

Possible issues associated with plumbing vents

Occasionally, blockages may prevent your plumbing vent from being able to operate effectively. 

While a small blockage may seem trivial, it can hinder the performance of your entire plumbing system very quickly. When an obstruction in the plumbing vent occurs, it builds negative pressure in your home’s pipes. This leads to water flow being interrupted frequently. 

If the issue of water blockage continues and isn’t corrected, sediment will begin to form and damage your home’s pipes, leading to a much more expensive repair down the road. 

But how do you know if you have a plumbing vent blockage? 

Here are three indications you may have a vent blockage: 

  • Standing water in your sink or bathtub
  • Slow drains
  • Gurgling noises in your sink drains

How to fix the problem

Before touching the plumbing vent, it is worth attempting to use an auger or plunger to clear your drains to rule a clog out as a possibility. 

If these solutions don’t seem to be doing the trick, the issue may reside in the plumbing vent. 

To clear the plumbing vent, you will need access to the roof. Please be aware that any work on a roof is extremely dangerous and should be done with caution.

You will also need the following tools to complete the task:

  • Garden Hose
  • Auger
  • Flashlight
  • Screwdriver

Attempt to locate the vent on the roof. To confirm you have the plumbing vent, you can have a helper flush the toilet and listen for the sound in the vent on the roof.

Once you’re sure you have the right vent, carry out the following steps: 

  1. Find the cap on the vent and use the screwdriver to take it off.
  1. Look for debris in the pipe. If it’s at the surface and accessible, such as a leaf blockage, simply remove it.
  1. If you can’t see the blockage, turn on the hose and spray the pipe down. Putting the hose on its highest setting should clear any blockage out.
  1. If the hose hasn’t solved your problem, use the auger on the pipe. There may be a tough-to-clear blockage that needs some more precision that the auger can achieve. Be sure your auger is long enough (between 10 and 20 feet) to complete the task.

When water starts draining from the pipe, you’ve successfully cleared the blockage. Be sure to spray down the pipe after removing the auger to ensure all debris is clear. 

Having difficulties and suspect it might be your plumbing vent? 

Contact the experts at Agentis. Our team is ready to help.