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Question: Which part of your home or property’s plumbing system is on the roof and never gets wet? It’s not as well known as your toilets, sinks and hot water system, but that ventilation pipe on your roof serves an extremely important purpose. Today, we’re diving into your plumbing vent because a bit of knowledge might save you a lot of trouble.

Your plumbing vent, also known as your air vent system, is a crucial component that helps your drains flow properly and prevents sewer gasses from entering your home. A clogged or malfunctioning plumbing vent can cause many problems, from gurgling drains to nasty odours wafting from your sinks and showers. If you suspect your plumbing vent is clogged or not working correctly, testing it as soon as possible is essential.

Testing your plumbing vent system is the only way to confirm if you have a clogged vent that needs to be cleared. A clogged vent will disrupt the air pressure in your plumbing system and allow sewer gasses to escape into your home. Signs of a clogged vent include slow-draining fixtures, gurgling sounds in the plumbing, or sewer gas odours around sinks and drains. A clogged vent is often located on the roof, but it can sometimes be obstructed lower down the line as well.

Following some simple DIY steps, you can test your plumbing vents and determine if venting issues are causing problems in your home’s drainage system. We’ll walk through the process step-by-step to help you diagnose and resolve any venting issues that may be present. Taking the time to test and clear your plumbing vents can prevent expensive plumbing repairs down the road and keep sewer gasses from building up to hazardous levels inside your home.

What’s The Plumbing Vent On The Roof For?

Many people might refer to the vent as a sewer gas vent pipe – and they wouldn’t be wrong. That’s because “yes” gives those gross sewer smells somewhere to escape from. But your sewage vent is more about regulating your plumbing system’s air pressure. In essence, sewer vents are just a fairly straightforward vertical pipe connecting your main drain line with the air just above the top of your roof. The pipe itself is called the vent stack, and – without getting too technical – it’s all about supplying air to your plumbing fixtures to maintain a stable atmospheric pressure in your plumbing system to keep them flowing efficiently from the fixture and into waste management.

All too often, homeowners sense something is wrong with the proper flow of their plumbing and conclude that it must be a pipe or drain blockage. It could be an issue with your vent pipe plumbing – and it’s very commonly the source of a slow or backed-up plumbing system across your entire home.

If all three problems happen simultaneously, ask your plumber if the culprit could be the plumbing vent. If you let the issue fester and worsen, you don’t just risk major blockages and backed-up waste but the dangerous release of toxic methane sewer gases into your home.


How To Test A Drain Vent

In theory, you are permitted to check out your roof pipe vent from a regulatory standpoint. But what will you do once you’re up there on your treacherous roof? As the vertical section of your vent stack is about air rather than water, you can’t do your usual drain-unblocking tricks like using a plunger or pouring that good ol’ hot water/baking soda brew down there. Sure, a bird may have nested there, a rodent may have crawled in, or roof debris such as branches may be the problem, so they are things you can deal with. Another thing you can do is a vent pipe plumbing test. Here’s how:

  • Step 1: Ask a friend to stand next to your toilet.
  • Step 2: Get on the roof and put your hand over the top of the sewage vent.
  • Step 3: Call out to your friend to flush the toilet.
  • Step 4: Did you feel suction against your hand? If yes, your sewer vents are working. If not, there is a blockage in the vent stack.

Plumbing Vent Problems? Call Us Today!

So what’s next? How about a call to your favourite Gold Coast fully licensed plumbers offering 5-star rated services, same-day service, up-front pricing and lifetime workmanship guarantees? Here at Gold Coast Plumbing Experts, we have all the know-how, experience and specialised equipment & products to handle all your plumbing needs.

From Coombabah, Runaway Bay, Hope Island, Biggera Waters, Labrador, Parkwood and anywhere in the Gold Coast and beyond, Gold Coast Plumbing Experts have shown and proven their commitment to providing high-quality plumbing services and offering workmanship guarantees. So get in touch with the friendly team today.

Plumbing Vent FAQs

What is a plumbing vent system?

A plumbing vent system, or a vent stack or roof vent, allows air to enter the home’s plumbing system to balance air pressure. Vents pipes connect the home’s main drainage pipes or sewer line to the outside air, usually via a vertical pipe that extends through the roof. Proper venting allows drains and fixtures to empty into the waste system efficiently.

How do I know if my plumbing vent is clogged?

Signs of a clogged or blocked vent include gurgling sounds from drains and toilets, slow-draining fixtures, foul sewer odours around sinks and drains, decreased water pressure, and bubbles coming up through the toilet bowl. A clogged vent pipe prevents proper airflow and allows sewer gas to back into the home.

Where are most clogged vents located?

Clogged vents are often located high up the vent stack on the roof, but obstructions can also occur lower down on the vent system. Debris, nests, leaves, and other material can collect in the open pipe on the roof, while clogs lower down are usually caused by build-up inside the vent pipes.

How do I test my plumbing vents?

You can do a simple DIY test by putting your hand over the roof vent pipe while someone flushes a toilet. You should feel suction on your hand when the toilet is flushed if the vent is clear. No suction indicates an obstruction in the vent. Plumbers also use smoke testing and pressure measurements to diagnose venting issues.

How do I clear a clogged roof vent?

Minor clogs can often be cleared with a drain snake. Severe vent clogs may require accessing the vent stack on the roof and manually removing debris and obstructions. Vent pipes can also be augured out or pressure washed in difficult cases. Replacing older corroded vents may be needed for recurrent clogs.

When should I call a professional for vent issues?

Contact a licensed plumber for suspected vent blockages, extensive vent repairs, locations that are dangerous to access yourself, and for diagnosing vent problems across the entire plumbing system. Professionals have specialised tools to thoroughly inspect, test, and resolve all types of venting issues.