HVAC Hacks: Tips for Novices and New Homeowners

Making Sure Your Plumbing Vent Is Clear Of Debris

Your home's plumbing vent in the roof plays an important role in keeping your water flowing smoothly and preventing sewer gases from building up in the water lines. A vacuum is created behind water as it flows through the drain pipes. A clog in the vent creates a situation where the water doesn't flow properly and neither does the sewer gas, so backups can happen. You'll know you have a clog when you run water and hear gurgling in other drains. This guide walks you through the steps to clear your roof's plumbing vent.  

Step 1: Procure Some Supplies

Ask a friend to help with this project. Gather some supplies that you probably have in your garage. Some of the items you'll need include:

  • ladder
  • garden hose with nozzle
  • plumbing snake

Step 2: Clear Away Debris From the Pipe Opening

Hook up the garden hose to the nearest water spigot. Then set the ladder up against the house and climb the ladder with the hose and plumbing snake.

When you reach the vent, clear away leaves or other debris that might be blocking the opening on the vent.  

Step 3: Spray Water Into the Vent

Turn on the nozzle of the garden hose and spray water down the vent pipe. Ask your friend to stand next to the wall where the vent pipe comes down inside the home. Have them let you know if they hear the water flowing down the pipe.

Caution: If your friend hears rushing water, sees water coming from the wall or smells gas, stop what you're doing and call a plumber right away. Only a plumber will know how to deal with this issue, and they know your local building codes on how problems within the wall should be fixed.

Step 4: Insert the Plumbing Snake

If your friend signals that all is well with what they hear and smell, then thread the plumbing snake through the vent pipe. If the snake hits something, turn the handle on the snake's top. This action breaks up any debris that's gathered in the pipe.

Remove the snake and take off the debris on the end. Then repeat this step until the snake goes down the pipe with no obstruction.

Ensure that you don't have any buildup of leaves on your roof during the fall season. If so, check the vent pipe to make sure no leaves are gathering. Call your plumber if you cannot free up a clog that is in your vent. (For more information, contact CampbellCare Plumbing Heating & Air)