Your plumbing system is a vital element of your home or business, but we often take our plumbing system for granted. Running water, flushable toilets, and showers are things we all use every day. We rarely think about it until something goes wrong.
If something goes amiss with your plumbing, it’s often a more significant problem than most people anticipate. At Advantage Plumbing & Sewer Co., since we’re the most reliable plumber in St. Charles, IL, we know a thing or two about plumbing issues. Today, let’s talk about the symptoms of a bad plumbing vent and how to handle the problem before it gets worse.
What Is a Plumbing Vent?
A plumbing vent (or vent stack) is a pipe that connects to your plumbing system but carries no water. The air vent pipe supplies airflow and regulates air pressure to the water pipes, enabling water, waste, and other materials to move through the system.
The vent also releases sewer gas inside the plumbing. Plumbing vents come out of the ceiling of a building to keep those gases away from windows or doorways. Sewer gases are quite dangerous because they can cause fatal asphyxia. When under pressure, they can explode.
If you suspect an issue with your plumbing vent, get a professional plumber to handle the situation. In such cases, always consider safety above all else. The most common symptoms of a bad plumbing vent are as follows.
1. Slow Draining
If you notice that your bathtub or sinks are draining slowly, it could be happening due to poor venting. If the vent has a clog or blockage, it will disrupt the pressure in the plumbing system. With too much pressure in the pipes, the water will not be able to flow freely through the drain pipes.
While slow draining is one of the most common signs of a faulty plumbing vent, it is not the only potential culprit. A clog in the drain line will also result in slow drainage. If slow drainage is the only symptom you’re experiencing, try simple remedies like a store-bought drain cleaner before you get into an unnecessarily large project.
2. Gurgling Noises
If you’re noticing gurgling noises from the drains or toilets in your home or building, a blockage in the plumbing vent may be the cause. If something is blocking the ventilation in the plumbing system, the water and waste will be unable to travel through the pipes correctly. Drains should never make any kind of sound if they’re working properly, so any unusual noises from your toilets, sinks, or shower drains require inspection.
A clog or blockage in a plumbing vent can happen in a few ways. It’s not an uncommon issue, but you should take care of it as quickly as possible. Some of the most common ways a plumbing vent gets a blockage are:
- Birds’ nests: The vent pipe sticking out of your roof is a small cozy space for birds to nest. The nest will clog the vent and prevent airflow. A simple remedy to this problem is installing a grate, screen, or porous barrier on the vent.
- Animals: Plumbers find animals in the vent pipe all the time. The warm air coming from the vent pipe is inviting to them. However, the sewer gas in the pipe is poisonous, so these animals do not usually survive.
- Sticks and leaves: Debris from the plant life outside your home or building can find its way into the vent and create a blockage. Avoiding debris is another great reason to install a screen on the vent pipe.
- Ice: During the colder seasons, ice and snow can get into your plumbing vent. If the vent opening is too close to the roof when it snows, the snow will cover the vent and freeze over. If you notice that your drains work strangely in the winter, this is likely the cause.
3. Bad Odors
If you detect the smell of sewage coming from your drains or your toilet, a faulty plumbing vent could be the cause. Drains and toilets have water traps that hold a small portion of water at all times. This water acts as a barrier, preventing noxious gases and odors from escaping the plumbing and getting into your home.
If the air pressure in the plumbing system is low, the traps can’t hold the water, and the gases and odors in your plumbing will enter your home or workplace.
If you smell sewage but it’s not near the toilet or drains, you likely have a leak in the plumbing or the ventilation. Search your basement and attic and see if you can find where the smell is strongest.
Older homes may have issues with connections of PVC piping to ABS piping because adhesives at the time did not connect these two types of plastic correctly. If your building is older and you see black plastic piping and white plastic piping in your plumbing system, you may have a leak in the plumbing.
4. Empty or Bubbling Toilet
If your toilets don’t fill with water after flushing, or the tank isn’t filling with water after flushing, you may have a problem with the air pressure in the plumbing. You may also notice that the water level in your toilet rises and falls randomly because of inconsistent air pressure in the pipes.
Water that sits in your toilet is bubbling is another sign that the air pressure in the plumbing is low. If the air pressure and water pressure are out of sync, the toilet will bubble as the plumbing system searches for air to correct the pressure in the pipes.
Call Our Team at Advantage Plumbing & Sewer Co. in St. Charles, IL
If you’re experiencing symptoms of a bad plumbing vent, you need a professional who can fix the problem quickly and safely. At Advantage Plumbing & Sewer Co., we’re here to solve any issues with plumbing or water heaters. Learn how to spot the signs of plumbing problems even in new homes, and call us at (847) 613-1344 for any plumbing issues in or around St. Charles, IL!