Plumbing vent on a roof

Spotlight on Plumbing Vents

When you picture your plumbing system, you likely envision supply pipes and drainpipes, as well as fixtures and appliances. However, you may not realize that all plumbing systems also include vents, which promote proper drainage and prevent sewage gases from entering your home and affecting your comfort and your health. Learning to recognize the importance of plumbing vents and the signs that you may have a vent problem can help you to better care for your plumbing and maintain a comfortable and efficient home.

How Plumbing Vents Work

Plumbing vents are required in most drains around the home, such as toilets, tubs, sinks, showers, and floor drains. In most plumbing systems, the vents lead to a single vent stack located on your roof. Vents serve two main purposes: first, they allow sewer gases to escape the system safely, and second, they introduce air to regulate the pressure inside your plumbing so the system can drain properly. Without proper venting in place, sewer gases could become trapped in your pipes and seep into your home, making you uncomfortable or even ill. The right balance of pressure inside your pipes is necessary to allow gravity to draw wastewater away from your fixtures, rather than letting it back up due to the vacuum left behind when water moves through the pipes.

Signs of Plumbing Vent Problems

Because they aren’t readily visible and many homeowners aren’t even aware of their existence, vents aren’t always a factor you may consider when troubleshooting plumbing problems. However, clogged or otherwise problematic vents are often responsible for plumbing issues, including water pressure and drainage problems, so it’s important to know the signs of a vent problem in your home. Clogged vents are quite common, and may be caused by debris or even ice and snow in the vent stack on your roof. Roofing damage and pest infestations can also affect your plumbing vents. Some of the most common signs of plumbing vent problems include gurgling sounds emanating from your plumbing pipes and bubbles forming in your toilets. In some cases, you may also notice a raw sewage smell in your home, as gases become trapped and are unable to escape via the clogged vent. If you experience any of these problems, you should contact your Longview plumber for help. While the majority of vent problems are caused by clogs, improperly-sized or poorly-installed vents can cause chronic plumbing problems that affect your comfort and the function of your plumbing. Replacing vents that are too small with larger ones or relocating a problematic vent stack can help to alleviate these problems so you can enjoy problem-free plumbing.

Your Longview plumber can help you solve any plumbing problem, including issues that affect your drains and vents. Please take a look through our other blog articles, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus for even more helpful plumbing articles, information, and tips.

Are you familiar with your plumbing vents?

  • I have never heard of plumbing vents before!
  • I’ve seen the vent stack on my roof, but I never knew what purpose it served.
  • I’m familiar with vents, but I didn’t know they could cause widespread plumbing problems.