How To Clean Your Plumbing Vent
Got a blocked plumbing vent pipe and want to clean it the DIY way? We’ve got your back by curating this guide comprising all the essential steps to cleaning your vent.
Your plumbing vent is one of the essential components of your septic system. But did you know that drainage problems in your home can result from a clogged plumbing vent?
Many homeowners think that plumbers can only do the cleaning, given their location. But the good news is that you can try unclogging it. And in the following sections, we will tell you how.
Since plumbing vents run vertically along the outer wall up to the roof, visually inspecting them for blockages can be difficult. That’s why homeowners usually rely on symptoms inside the home like the sink or bathtub draining water slowly or not draining it at all. Besides, gurgling noises in the drains can be a sign of a clog caused by a blockage in the plumbing vent pipes.
When the plumbing vent gets blocked, it forms negative air pressure inside, affecting your home’s water pressure and flow. As a result, the water supply in your home may get frequently interrupted, or you may observe slow or no water drainage. Aside from that, a clogged vent can make your house fill with toxic odours.
While these issues may not always appear severe, ignoring them can cause the entire plumbing system to malfunction. For example, if you ignore cleaning the blockages in the pipes, they will invariably contribute to severe sediment build-up. This, in turn, can cause leaks and full-scale pipe bursts, damaging your home and requiring thousands of dollars in repair.
Before we walk you through the steps to successfully clean the plumbing vent, let us tell you that not all drain blockages inside the home signify a clog in the vent pipe. Hence, it would be best if you tried cleaning the drains in case of standing water or slow drainage. If it doesn’t work, grab the following supplies and proceed to clean the vent:
The first and most important thing is to set up the ladder properly so you can reach the plumbing vent safely. For this, ensure the ladder’s feet are level and the top extends beyond the roof line by a few inches.
Even if you have a ladder with rubberised feet, we strongly recommend reinforcing its placement to prevent the ladder from moving around. Take a rope and tie the lower end of the ladder (near the feet) to the nearest porch column or eye hooks screwed into the ground.
Now, climb up the ladder, put a couple of hook eyes into the roof fascia and secure the top of the ladder by tying it to the hooks. If your plumbing vent has a lid, take the screwdriver along to remove it. And don’t forget the garden hose.
Open the lid and inspect the vent visually before starting the garden hose. You can use a flashlight to get a better view, which will help you direct the adjustable nozzle accordingly.
Choose the highest setting on the nozzle and ask someone to turn on the tap the hose is connected to. Direct the water jet inside the vent to wash down the debris. Continue doing so until there are no visible clogs.
You can resolve most cases of a clogged plumbing vent with these three steps and close the vent by screwing back the lid. However, in case of intense clogs, the pipe may fill up with water, making it come out of the opening. If you see the same, there’s an additional step required.
Shut off the water supply to the hose and grab a 10 or 20-foot-long plumbing plunger. Insert its head into the pipe and direct the cable until you reach the clog. When you face resistance, crank the handle to make the cable go through the clog. If the water starts draining, you have successfully broken the clog.
Crank the handle in the opposite direction to pull out the cable and, possibly, some debris. Turn on the water supply and wash the vent to ensure it isn’t backing up again. If it is, repeat this step a few more times.
Rinse the vent one final time to remove any leftover debris, and close the lid. Check the pipes inside the home; there should be no more blockage or slow drainage.
Most birds make their nests in plumbing vents during spring, so keep an eye on their activities on your roof. You can remove their nest and keep the vent clear if they haven’t laid the eggs yet.
Clean the roof regularly during the fall to eliminate leaves, twigs and other debris. Otherwise, they may travel to the vent during snowmelt or with surface runoff from rain.
Older plumbing vents are generally more susceptible to blockages, so replacing them with newer vents may be a good idea. These fixtures usually have caps and other features to reduce the chances of clogs.
That’s it from us for today!
But here are a few pro tips before we leave. Wear work gloves and eye protection to limit exposure to the debris from the plumbing vent. Similarly, your shoes should offer enough grip to help you stand firmly on the ladder steps and the roof.
Lastly, consider getting professional help if the DIY cleaning doesn’t solve the problem or you aren’t confident about taking on the job. We offer fast and affordable drain and plumbing vent solutions across Melbourne at WP Plumbing. So, give us a call to see how we can help you!
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