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How to Clear Debris from Your Plumbing Vents

How to Clear Debris from Your Plumbing Vents

Have you detected foul odors in and around your home? Are your drains unusually slower? Is there a gurgling noise coming from your toilet, especially after flushing? These are signs of a blocked plumbing vent. Also known as vent stacks, plumbing vents play a crucial role in ensuring your system functions properly.

However, just like the drains, plumbing vents can get clogged by debris such as leaves, dirt, and bird nests. Internal vent damage can also result in blocked vent stacks. In this guide, Mr. Rooter Plumbing explains how to clear clogged plumbing vents.

Mr. Rooter Plumbing is a reputable plumbing service with over 50 years of industry experience. We’ve built a solid reputation in the areas we serve for providing top-tier services every time. If you need any plumbing help, we are the team you can trust.

Functions of Plumbing Vents

  • Regulate air pressure: Plumbing vents allow air to enter and exit the drain pipes. They prevent the creation of a vacuum that could hinder water flow and lead to slow drains or even siphoning of water from traps.
  • Prevent sewer gas odors: The vents channel sewer gas odors away from your home and out through the roof. If these vents are blocked, sewer gases can’t escape properly.
  • Maintain trap seals: Plumbing vents help maintain the water level in these trap seals by ensuring proper air pressure within the drain system.

4 Ways to Clear Clogged Plumbing Vents

  • Remove visible debris

Clearing a blocked plumbing vent can be surprisingly simple. Carefully look down the vent pipe opening on the roof. If you see any large objects like leaves, twigs, or debris blocking the opening, you might be able to remove them manually using gloved hands or long tongs.

  • Use a plumbing snake

If the clog is deeper within the vent and not visible from the roof, you can use a plumbing snake. A hand-operated auger might be suitable for vent cleaning, depending on the severity of the clog and your access point.

Carefully feed the snake down the vent opening, turning the crank to feed the cable deeper into the vent. Once you feel resistance, the snake has likely encountered the clog. Continue feeding the cable while rotating the crank or using the machine's functions to break up and remove the blockage. Once you feel no more resistance, slowly withdraw the snake, ensuring you remove any dislodged debris along with it. If you encounter any challenges, get in touch with a professional plumbing repair service for help.

  • Flush water down the vent pipes

If the clog seems loose or you're unsure about its severity, you can try flushing the vent with water to dislodge it. This method works for vents that are easily accessible, such as those with a cleanout point lower in the system.

This is how to do it—connect a garden hose to a faucet outside your home and securely fasten the other end to the vent opening or the cleanout point. Slowly turn on the water supply and observe the flow. A blast of water might dislodge the clog and clear the vent.

  • Call a nearby plumbing repair service for help

You’ll need the help of a licensed plumber if the clog is out of reach, severely stubborn, or you're uncomfortable working on the roof or with plumbing tools. They have the expertise, experience, and specialized equipment to safely and effectively clear the blockage.

Mr. Rooter Plumbing Is Here To Help

If you’re looking for a competent plumber to help you clear clogged plumbing vents or perform plumbing repairs, call Mr. Rooter Plumbing today. We have the skills and top-of-the-line tools to troubleshoot your plumbing vents and provide you with a reliable solution.


Jun 15,2024

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