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Insight About Residential Plumbing Vents

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When you think of your home's plumbing, what parts and pieces come to mind? You probably think of pipes, of course. You may also think of toilets, sinks, tubs, and drains. But there is a good chance that plumbing vents are not on your list of plumbing parts. Vents are often forgotten, but they are quite important. Learn more about them below.

1. What are plumbing vents?

Plumbing vents tubes connected to your drain pipe system. But instead of allowing water and waste to flow through, these vent tubes only allow air through. They open up on your rooftop. The presence of vents reduces the pressure in the pipes so that waste and wastewater travel through the drain pipes faster and more freely.

2. What are some signs that your vent pipes are not working correctly?

A lot of homeowners experience problems with their drains and assume they have a clog in the drain pipes when they are actually dealing with a blocked vent. If multiple drains slow down at once, this could be the result of a vent problem. Often, you will also hear gurgling noises as the water goes down the drain or right after you flush the toilet. The water may initially refuse to drain, and then you'll hear a weird gurgling before the water seems to chug down a little at a time. Foul odors coming from the drains are also a sign of vent problems. 

3. How can vents become clogged or blocked?

If only air flows through the vent pipes, then how can they become blocked? If the cap comes off the end of the vent, an animal, such as a bird or mouse, may enter and build a nest. The nest may only let a little air past, decreasing the effectiveness of the vent. If you do get a clog in the main drain lines and then sewage backs up through your plumbing system, some of that material may enter and get stuck in the vents, creating a secondary blockage.

4. What should you do about a suspected vent blockage?

Should you suspect an issue with your plumbing vents, call a plumber. They can send a camera into the vent, locate the problem, and address it. They can use special tools to pull the material out of the vents. If needed, they can also replace the end caps on the vents to keep additional rodents and birds from entering. 

Hopefully, you are now more familiar with your home's plumbing vents. For more information or assistance, contact plumbing companies like Marcum Plumbing Services, Inc.