If you notice a home drainage issue where drains are extremely slow to empty and gurgling sounds emit from the plumbing, then you may panic at the thought of a main drain being clogged. While this may be the case, there might be a much simpler issue going on. This problem is a clog in the plumbing vent that runs up to the roof. Keep reading to learn more about the plumbing vent and how to remove clogs.
Understanding The Plumbing Vent
Plumbing vents are important parts of your plumbing system that do not carry water. The vents run to an outdoor area, usually the roof, and they allow sewage gasses to escape before they can build in your p-trap and possibly enter your house. These gasses can be quite smelly, and some materials, like hydrogen sulfide, can cause irritation to the eyes and nose. The plumbing vent also allows oxygen to move down the pipe and enter into the main sewage and drainage system. The oxygen helps to feed some of the aerobic bacteria in the sewage line that break down the fecal wastes. Vents also help to create a neutral pressure environment so that wastes can flow through the entirety of the drainage system. Without this assistance, a vacuum can form that will keep wastes from flowing away from the home.
While some homes might be small enough to have only one vent, others require the use of several. Keep this in mind when cleaning out the vents and look for vents that extend to the roof and others that may come out of the side of the home.
Removing Vent Clogs
Typically, leaves, branches, dirt, and mice or other small animals will clog a plumbing vent. While most types of debris can be forced down the pipe and into the main drainage system, animals and large items will need to be pulled out. You can start by trying to flush the line with water to force debris downward.
You will need a ladder to reach the vent and a hose to do the flushing. Your vent is likely to be open if a clog has formed, so you can access the open pipe fairly easily. Place the nozzle of the hose just inside the pipe and spray water downward. After several minutes, go back inside your home and fill a bucket with water. Dump the contents of the bucket in your kitchen or bathroom sink and note whether you hear gurgling noises or see slow drainage. If your drains allow the large volume of water to drain away quickly, then you have taken care of the clog.
If gurgling and slow drainage persist, then think about purchasing a mini rooter with a 50 foot cord that is around three-eighths of an inch thick. While you may be able to get away with the use of a top snake, the mini rooter will help to dislodge the clog with little effort. This is ideal since you are working in a dangerous area. Plug the tool into a grounded socket and feed the snake into the pipe until the auger or cutting piece can no longer move. Use the foot pedal to activate the snake so the auger spins and the snake is forced downward. Once the snake reaches several feet through the pipe, pull it out and complete the process again. After the snake moves freely through the pipe, use your hose to flush any remnants of the clog through the drainage system. Test your drainage once again.
If drainage is still slow for some reason, then think about contacting a local plumbing professional, such as Doctor Fix-It. He or she will need to use a camera to find the cause of your drainage issues. Broken pipes or deep seated clogs may be causing problems.