How to Tell if You Have a Clogged Plumbing Vent?

Chances are pretty good you’re not certain what a plumbing vent is, and if you do think you know, you would be in the minority of home owners.  A plumbing vent, sometimes referred to as a vent stack, can usually be seen from the ground.  They’re the round pipes that stick out of your roof.  A plumbing vent is an essential part of any plumbing system and it regulates the air pressure in your plumbing to allow water to flow through your home’s pipes.

While some plumbing problems are visible, like a leak under your kitchen sink, a dripping faucet, or a toilet that continues to run or is clogged, we realize there’s a problem and do something about it.  You either try to tackle the problem yourself, or you call a professional plumber.  Of course, we recommend the latter!  Other plumbing problems are not so evident and can lead to costly repairs if not addressed.  Clogged plumbing vents aren’t visible are just such a problem.

What are the Signs of a Clogged Plumbing Vent?

If you experience any of the following symptoms, it could be that you have a clogged plumbing vent.

  1. You Notice a Strong Sewage Smell –

As stated earlier, your plumbing vents regulate air pressure in your home’s plumbing to allow water to flow through your pipes.  When the vent gets clogged, those sewer gasses have nowhere to escape and can build up in the system.  Eventually these gasses can reenter your home through your drains.  If you detect this odor it’s likely methane gas that couldn’t be properly vented.  While unpleasant to smell, it’s also unhealthy to breathe.  While not common, methane is combustible and can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

  1. Your Toilets and Drains Produce a Gurgling Sound –

This is one of the earliest signs of a clogged plumbing vent and may precede any noticeable smells.  When your vents get clogged, or become partially clogged, the air has difficulty escaping through the vent.  That air seeks the easiest and nearest exit which are your toilets and drains.  That air escaping creates the gurgling sound.

  1. Sluggish Drains-

There are reasons other than a clogged plumbing vent that can cause sluggish drains or drain back-up.  However, with clogged vents the air pressure is lessened in your plumbing system and this can lead to problems with water flow.

When in Doubt, Call a Professional Plumber

If you ever experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, we strongly suggest you contact a professional plumber to assess your situation.  Waiting can only exacerbate the problem and in the end cost you more money than if you had addressed the problem at the outset.  If the cause of odors, sluggish drains or gurgling toilets is a clogged plumbing vent, your best leaving this to a professional.  In order to properly inspect your plumbing system, it may be necessary to climb on to the roof to examine the vents for debris like twigs and leaves, bird nests, or even rodents.  In extreme cases, it may involve opening a wall to inspect your drainage system.  In either event, these are things best left to a professional with the tools and training to inspect and repair any damage.

If you suspect your plumbing vents are clogged, call the team at The Clean Plumbers.  We can perform a comprehensive inspection and remedy the situation.