Properly Clean Your Home’s Plumbing Vent Pipes This Winter

If your plumbing drains are acting sluggish, cleaning out your vent pipes may solve this problem. When your vents are blocked, air can’t get into the plumbing drain lines, and eventually, a vacuum is formed. This is when you’ll notice slow draining and maybe even unpleasant sewer gas odors in your bathroom. Here’s how to make cleaning the plumbing vent pipes part of your annual home maintenance routine.

Get Organized

Set up a ladder so it extends three feet past the roof line. Then, make sure the ladder’s feet are on level ground and secure it with ropes. Gather the required equipment, including a screwdriver, to remove vent caps, as well as a garden hose equipped with an adjustable nozzle. Make sure to have a 20-foot plumbing snake nearby in case it’s needed.

Start With a Visual Inspection

Next, take the screwdriver and hose to the roof. Once you’re there, remove the vent cap and check the opening for obvious obstructions, such as leaves and debris. If you find any, clear them away to help restore proper airflow.

Flush Out the Vent Pipe

With the nozzle on “full” or “jet,” thoroughly flush out the pipe to clear any debris collected inside. In many instances, this is enough to get air flowing again. If water backs up out of the opening, a buildup of debris or perhaps a dead bird is blocking the pipe. If this occurs, leave the hose on the roof and head back down the ladder to get the plumbing auger.

Snake the Pipe

Place the auger head into the vent and feed the cable down the pipe until it stops. You’ve hit the blockage, so start cranking the auger handle to cut through it. When water starts draining, retract the snake. The clump of debris causing the blockage will likely come out with it. As a final step, take the hose and spray water down the pipe until you’re sure it’s clear.

For expert advice about cleaning the plumbing vent pipes in your San Antonio home, contact Beyer Boys today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Antonio, Texas area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Max Topchii/Shutterstock”

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