Fixing Your Plumbing To Fix Your Life

Understanding, Investigating, And Clearing Drain Vent Clogs

If you accidentally clog your drains with food, grease, paper products, or hair, then you should absolutely contact a plumber so a proper drain cleaning can be completed with the use of a drain snake. If you have used your sinks in a proper manner and still notice clogging issues, then you may be stumped about the plumbing issue. When this happens, some investigation needs to be completed on your part. There is one possible issue that may be occurring, so keep reading to learn about a clogged drain vent, how the vent can be inspected, and how you can clear the clog. 

Understanding the Drain Vent

Every home has a drain vent installed on the roof that performs two important tasks to allow your drainage system to work properly. The vent allows some water to move down into the drainage system to release pressure as waste passes through the drain pipes. Without the air, a vacuum is created that keeps the wastes and water in place and stops them from draining away from the home.

The vent also helps to release sewage gases so they do not come back into the home. While most of these gases contain carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and other gases that can be found in the air, they often smell quite bad. In rare cases, toxic gases like hydrogen sulfide can enter the home. You will be alerted to this gas if you smell a rotten egg stench. If you ignore the stench and your vent is indeed clogged, then you may start to experience fatigue, a sore throat, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Due to this concern as well as general clogging issues, it is wise to check drain vents as soon as you notice problems with clogs and gurgling drains.

Inspecting the Vent

Locate the vent on your roof and use an extension ladder to gain access to the vent. Use a screwdriver to remove the vent cover and use a flashlight to look down into the vent. If you do not see debris, then you may need to rent a small waterproof camera attached to a fiber optic cable to look in the vent. If you do not want to rent or buy one of these cameras, then schedule a video camera line inspection with your plumber. This may be your best option because the professional can locate things like leaking joints, offset pipes, and collapsed piping sections that you may not see with an inexperienced eye. 

If you or your plumber see a clog in the pipe, then it is wise to remove it as soon as possible. Since the pipe is located outdoors, leaves, sticks, and other types of outdoor debris are likely causing the issue and water can flush the clog down through the drainage system.

Clearing the Clog

If you want to flush the clog through the drainage system, then use your ladder to climb on your roof with a hose. A nozzle should be connected to your hose that release a relatively strong spray of water. Spray the water down into the vent for several minutes. When you are done, run water through your sinks and flush your toilet. If you no longer hear a bubbling sound, then the vent is likely clear.

At this point, you should invest in a vent cover that will keep debris from collecting in the pipe. If the cover is only a screen on the top of the pipe or if there are more than two or three inches between the pipe end and the cover, then a new one will likely assist you. A screen is best to keep the pipe itself protected, but you should also buy a cone shaped cover that sits about one or two inches above the screen to keep snow and ice from collecting.