A plumbing vent stack pipe does not really carry any water, waste or sewage. Its main purpose is to allow ventilation through the pipes so the plumbing system does not create any vacuum.
It keeps gases and unpleasant odours from staying inside the septic system which can be dangerous and pose serious health risks. It is important to let septic waste breathe otherwise it will form methane gas which can be poisonous and flammable.
What Happens When My Vent Stack Pipe Is Clogged?
When your vent stack pipe is clogged it creates negative pressure, meaning, it will suck out the air from the drains and pipes. The effect will be as follows:
- Slow drainage
- Stops water flow
- You will hear some gurgling sounds from different drain openings
- Slow water movement
- Sediment buildup
- Foul odour
- Methane buildup
How To Tell If Your Vent Stack Pipe Is Clogged?
It is important to know how to tell if your vent stack pipe is not working before it’s too late. Most of the time, it gets clogged due to dirt and debris.
The vent stack pipe is located above the residential building so chances are, it has accumulated debris from tree leaves, dust, small dead animals. and plastic materials that are blown around in strong winds.
It is hard to physically check if the vent stack pipes are up to the brim with debris because the pipes are located on top of the roof. Watch out for some of these signs that will tell you that you might have some clogging:
- Sputtering or gurgling sounds – you will notice this mostly with toilets and drains or anywhere near the plumbing pipes. The sputtering or gurgling is more prevalent in the bathroom because the water will fight high pressure caused by the blocked vent pipe causing it to sputter or make gurgling sounds.
- Strong foul sewer odour – When vent stack pipes are clogged, the trap water in the plumbing drains that block the sewer gases from going back into the house flows out. There is nothing that will stop the foul sewer odour from entering your house.
- Slow drain – Clogged vent stack pipes cause negative pressure in the plumbing pipes causing water to drain slowly or not drain at all.
How To Clear Clogged Vent Stack Pipes
What you need:
- A plumber’s snake
- Garden hose
Cleaning a vent stack pipe is fairly similar to regular draining cleaning. Here is what to do:
- Take out any debris or rubbish that is within reach.
- Run the plumber’s snake down the pipe to take out the rubbish that you can not reach. Make sure you run the plumber’s snake all the way down and try to remove all of the rubbish blocking the vent.
- Put a hose down the vent pipe and turn on the water. Let the water run to full force to try and unclog the drain.
- For blockages caused by frozen vent stack pipes, pouring hot water into the vent is the best solution. Use a rubber hose rated for hot water to run through the vent pipe. Run hot water into the clogged pipe until the water drains. Avoid taking hot water in a bucket if climbing up a ladder to the vent stack pipe.
The only way to access the clogged vent stack pipe is to go up the roof. This is a very dangerous job. Make sure that you keep safe by:
- Making sure the roof is dry. If the roof is wet, wait until it dries up.
- Wear rubber-soled shoes to have more grip when you are up the roof.
- Use safety harness when cleaning the pipe up the roof. This will keep you safe from accidents and from falling.
We highly recommend you call professionals to clear the clog on your residential vent pipes. Do not take the risk. Stay safe. Let the experts who have the skills, training, experience and the tools to get the job done quickly and safely.
You don’t have to wait until your vent stack pipes get clogged before you take action. In fact, we highly recommend you do a regular check-up, as well as cleaning and maintenance once every quarter or once every month. This is the best way to avoid the hassle and inconvenience of having clogged vent pipes.