5 Warning Signs of Poorly Vented Drain Lines
Drain pipes need to be vented outdoors for two reasons — to equalize pressure changes inside the plumbing, so wastewater can move freely through the pipes and to vent noxious sewer gas out of the home. Also known as “stacks,” plumbing vents are the vertical pipes that run through the attic and terminate at the roof.
Rooftop jobs, such as inspecting plumbing vents and clearing blockages like birds’ nests, leaves and other obstructions, should be left to a plumbing professional with specialized tools. Poorly vented drain lines usually make themselves known in one of these ways:
- The Smell: The odor of sulfur dioxide in sewer gas is very pungent. When plumbing vents are blocked, the lower pressure can suck water out of P-traps under the sink and other fixtures, allowing sewer gas to pervade your home.
- Sluggish Drain Action: Because pressure inside pipes don’t equalize as wastewater is conveyed, the draining flow is inhibited. When drains move slowly, despite attempts to clear an obstruction in the pipe, it may be because the blockage isn’t in the drain pipe, it’s in the vent pipe.
- Noisy Drains: Drain action should be silent. If you hear gurgling and bubbling noises inside your drain pipes, air pressure is pushing against the free flow of wastewater.
- Weak Flushing Action: When a toilet needs multiple flushes to clear the bowl and the water level in the bowl doesn’t promptly return to normal, the flow inside the sewer line may be impeded by pressure differentials. A clogged air vent is the most likely cause.
- Bubbling Toilet: If bubbles appear in your toilet when water is draining nearby, especially from an appliance like a washing machine, air is being forced up through the toilet bowl. This is a sign of excess pressure buildup in pipes caused by a blocked vent.
At Sobieski Services, Inc. our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues – especially HVAC and plumbing issues – so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.
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