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Question: Which part of your home or property’s plumbing system is located on the roof and never actually 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 taking a dive into your plumbing vent, because a little bit of knowledge might save you an awful lot of trouble.

What’s that vent pipe on the roof for, anyway?

A lot of people might refer to the vent as a sewer gas vent pipe – and they wouldn’t be wrong. That’s because “yes” – they do give those gross sewer smells somewhere to escape from. But your sewage vent is actually more about regulating the air pressure of your plumbing system.

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 in order 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. In fact, 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 are happening simultaneously, ask your plumber if the culprit could in fact 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.

In theory, checking out your roof pipe vent is something you are permitted to do from a regulatory standpoint. But once you’re up there on your treacherous roof, what are you going to do? 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 no, there is a blockage in the vent stack.

Plumbing vent problems? Give us a shout!

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 that can handle all of 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.