Unclog Plumbing Vent Without Getting On Roof: A Step-By-Step Approach

The long pipe that connects your sink, toiler, or drains to the main sewer has many names like roof plumbing vent, plumbing stack vent, sewer vent, or roof vent.

When clogged, people normally climb atop their roofs to fix it. But there are certain ways to unclog plumbing vent without getting on roof.

Yes, you can clear the clogged vent from within your house! So in this article, I will talk about how to clear clogged vent from within your house.

How To Unclog Vent Pipe Without Going On Roof?

unclog plumbing vent without getting on roof

When working your butt off with the drain auger does a little, it’s time to have a closer look at the plumbing vent.

As the roof plumbing vent is an integral part of your Drain-Waste-Vent (DWV) to equalize the air pressure within that DWV system, it has to be clear all the time.

It releases the sewer gas into the outdoor air and keeps the entire core functioning of your house normal. Let’s see how to do this:

  • Tools You Need
    • Gloves.
    • Drain Snake
    • Suitable clothing
    • Hacksaw

Before you start, make sure you have the above tools readily available to you.

  • Identify The Vent Pipe Location

When climbing onto the roof is not something you want to do, you need to locate the vent first. The vent pipe is just a white PVC pipe and you can find it above the kitchen or bathroom.

  • Cut The PVC Pipe!

Make sure to wear your work cloth and gloves before you start cutting the pipe!

The idea is to run the snake downward or upward. To do so, you need to cut away a big piece of the pipe. You should use a hacksaw to quickly accomplish this.

Don’t worry; you can repair the vent pipe later easily.

  • Run The Snake

Now, run the plumbing pipe downward to find the clog. You need to crank the snake handles clockwise. That way, the cable will extend through the pipe and reach the clog.

But if the blockage is dead animals or wet leaves, the clog is above you. In that case, run the snake upward.

When you are done breaking up the clog, you need to crank the handle counterclockwise. This will make the cable to retract.

  • Repair The Pipe

When you are done clearing the blockage, it’s time to repair the PVC pipe.

Either you can use PVC couplings or rubber with cement to repair the part you cut. But if you go for the couplings, make sure the diameter of the coupling is the same as the vent pipe.

Alternatively, you can use a utility knife to scrape the pipe’s ends to remove the burrs. Then simply use PVC glue to both ends of the pipe or PCV coupling.

As the vent is attached to the roof with a flexible rubber gasket, you can shift it up or down to re-fit this without any trouble.

Symptoms Of A Bad Plumbing Vent

symptoms of a bad plumbing vent

It’s important to know whether the plumbing vent is really clogged or not before you start cutting your PVC pipe.

Because then, it would be just a waste of time if there is nothing wrong with the pipe. You can tell whether the vent pipe is clogged or not if you just pay a little attention.

You don’t need a complete blockage to notice it. There are some other signs like a slow drain you can notice. Here are some more symptoms.

The most obvious sign of a clogged vent pipe is having a rotten egg smell in the kitchen or bathroom. Another sign is a gurgling bathroom or kitchen sinks when drained.

If you are not sure, you can always hire a professional plumber to assess the case and recommend solutions.

How To Prevent Roof Plumbing Vent?

As you can see, it’s not hard to clear the clogged plumbing vent from inside your house but plumbing vent without going through roof is not something you want to do more frequently.

The only way to avoid a clogged vent pipe more frequently is to take preventive measures as discussed below:

  • Beware of Debris

The most common reason of a clogged roof plumbing vent is when wet leaves get stuck inside the pipe. And many households have hanging trees over the roof.

That’s how the wet leaves can clog the pipe!

So, you need to make sure no debris or such wet leaves can get stuck inside the vent pipe. And the easy way to ensure that is by trimming the tree branches regularly.

  • Beware of Vermin

Vermin can get stuck inside the plumbing pipe, leave debris, or even build their nests. In that case, the vent will be clogged and the air will find nowhere to go!

So, take preventive measures and don’t let the birds, rats, etc. enter the plumbing vents.

  • Wrong Vent Cap

Some people often use vent cap as a protection against the tree leaves and vermin mentioned above. That’s a good idea but if you have the wrong vent cap, it will create the problem instead of protecting your vent.

This happens a lot during the cold season where ice will build-up and the vent will create an ice barrier. No professional plumber will recommend to have any vent cap at all!

  • Get A Wider Stack

Sometimes, the plumbing pipe may not be large enough for the drains to run to it. It becomes obvious when regular maintenance like trimming tree branches and pest control can’t keep the lines clear.

Normally, you should not have any trouble if you have a 4-inch wide pipe but sometimes households have a single 2-inch stack. That’s not enough!

I would recommend getting a wider stack in that case. And you should take immediate action as soon as you notice any signs of a clogged vent pipe. Later, take preventive measures as discussed above.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should vent pipes be covered?

No it should not. Having vent pipes covered defeats the purpose of having it in the first place. Covering the vent pipes will restrict the air flow and this is something you don’t want.

How do I know if my plumbing vent is clogged?

You will have smells like rotten eggs or sewer smells in the bathroom or kitchen. You will hear gurgling and bubbling sound in the toilet and bathtub.

What happens if vent pipe is clogged?

The first problem you will face is that your entire house will be full of bad smell since it can no long allow the air into the system. Also, water won’t be allowed to flow properly through the drain system.

What does it mean when you flush your toilet and the bathtub gurgles?

It simply indicates you have a clogged vent pipe issue that needs your immediate attention!

Can a clogged vent cause a toilet to overflow?

Yes. The vent pipe allows the stuff to pump out with each flush. But when clogged, your toilet can’t flush properly; so you will have a overflowing problem.

Is a clogged vent pipe dangerous?

Yes. A clogged vent pipe will make your home dirty and smelly. It can create healthy problems too.

Closing Remarks

Our daily life comes to a standstill when there is a blockage inside the venting pipe. If you are not a PRO, I don’t recommend fixing it from the roof. It’s just too risky!

Your only safe bet is to learn how to unclog plumbing vent without getting on roof. And I think I just did that! If you still have some confusion, feel free to let me know in the comment box!

1 thought on “Unclog Plumbing Vent Without Getting On Roof: A Step-By-Step Approach”

  1. Thank you. My vent pipe seems to be galvanized pipe as it’s an old house. Can I still clean from inside and cut a large section out then replace most of the pipe with pvc except for maybe a foot where in comes through the ceiling. Then couple pvc to
    the galvanized pipe. Thank you for very clear instructions.

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