One of the most commonly overlooked parts of most plumbing systems is the plumbing vents. In fact, many people don’t even know their plumbing system involves vents! This is forgivable, of course – plumbing vents don’t move water at all. Instead, they ensure that air can get into and out of your plumbing system, which allows water to move freely and prevents a variety of maladies ranging from clogged drains to back-drafted sewer gases.
Like everything else, these plumbing vents can get clogged from time to time, so it’s important to do what you can to keep them clean. Cleaning your plumbing vents is not too complicated, but it does involve climbing onto the roof. If you’re not comfortable with this, DON’T DO IT! Call a plumber and have them take care of it for you. Better to do this than to end up with a serious injury!
Cleaning Your Plumbing Vents
If you decide to clean your plumbing vents on your own, follow these steps:
- Set up a ladder so you can get onto your roof. Make sure you take proper ladder safety precautions: plant both feet of the ladder firmly on the ground and make sure the top of the ladder extends three feet above the roof line. Have someone hold the ladder while you climb up to prevent it from sliding.
- Bring a screwdriver and a garden hose with an adjustable nozzle with you onto the roof. If the vent has a cap, unscrew it with the screwdriver.
- Check inside the vent for any obstructions, including leaves or other debris. In many cases, removing these will restore air circulation.
- If there are no visible obstructions, set the nozzle on your hose to “jet” or “full” and spray it directly into the opening. The water will clear out any obstructions down the line. In the event of a large blockage, such as years of debris buildup or even an animal or bird that crawled into the vents and died there, water might fill the pipe and back out of the opening. In this case, you’ll need a more aggressive method to remove the blockage.
- If you have a plumbing snake, insert it into the vent pipe and crank it until the vent starts to drain. If you don’t have one, call a plumber – they surely will!
- Spray water back into the vent after you’ve attempted to snake it. If it flows easily, you’ve knocked out the blockage and your vent pipes should work as normal again!
Your plumbing vents are the unsung heroes of your plumbing system, allowing water to drain out of your plumbing system smoothly. If your vent pipes are badly clogged and you need a plumber in Maryland, Virginia or Washington, DC, call Magnolia Plumbing today!