Most homeowners have a pretty good idea of how the basics of home plumbing work. They may know how to unclog a simple drain or even replace a weird fixture or two. But there are some aspects of home plumbing that remain a little exotic and inexplicable, even for the most intrepid DIY enthusiast.
For example, why are there those vents in the ceiling? A seasoned observer might explain that they are connected to the lines in important ways, but ask what function they serve and you're likely to get a variety of (probably inaccurate) answers.
What is a plumbing duct?
A plumbing duct is little more than a pipe that runs from a plumbing fixture to the roof of the house. If you look up at the ceiling of an apartment building, you can usually see these protruding air vents. In very simple terms, this tube allows air pressure to escape from the plumbing system. Contrary to what many people believe (and what many DIYers might tell you), their primary purpose is NOT to let air into your pipes.
If you stop for a moment to think about it, all the drains in the house are open. Air has no problem getting into the pipes to force the water through the pipes by gravity.
But the problem is the pressure. Without a vent to relieve pressure from the plumbing system, harmful sewer gases can build up and make it difficult for water to flow efficiently through the plumbing. A clogged drain causes problems not because it won't let air in, but because it won't let air out.
Vents, Traps, and Suction
As water flows down a drain, air and gravity work together to push it through the pipes. However, they do their job too well. Most building drains contain some type of siphon that introduces a low point into the drain that remains filled with water after the basin has been emptied. The purpose of this trap is to prevent harmful sewage gases from entering the drain and into the home where they could make residents ill. By keeping the siphon filled with water, waste gases are trapped in the pipe.
But without a vent behind the drain to allow the air to escape, as the water pushes through the siphon, it creates a suction effect inside the pipe and draws too much water into the siphon line. This often leaves the trap half full, allowing those dangerous gases to reach the house. Therefore, a properly functioning vent is critical to a healthy plumbing system.
My vent is clogged. What now?
Unfortunately, ventilation slots get clogged all too often. Exposed to the outside elements, they make attractive nests for birds and rodents and can also be blocked with leaves or other debris. When a vent becomes clogged, gases can build up in the vent, eventually exerting downward pressure on the plumbing system. At a certain point, the pipes become so full of water and gas that nothing can flow through them.
Here are some telltale signs of a blocked vent:
Gurgling noises come out of the drains.
Stagnant water in the sink or bathtub.
Slow drain in the bathroom or kitchen.
Sewage smell from the drain.
Drilling or countersinking a drain will not help to clear a clog.
However, clogged air vents can be particularly problematic, as in many cases they can cause the same symptoms like a clogged drain.
Unfortunately, no amount of drain cleaning will fix the problem if the vent is clogged. In many cases, people can seriously damage their pipes by trying to unclog a blockage that isn't there. Cleaning air vents yourself can also be dangerous as they are only accessible from the ceiling and unclogging them could release noxious fumes. As with a serious clog, if initial efforts to clear it are unsuccessful, it is best to call in an experienced, professional plumber.
Maintaining your home's air vents is critical to keeping your system clean hold /p>
If you have your pipes inspected regularly, be sure to ask your plumber about the condition of your vents to ensure water keeps flowing and dangerous sewer gasses stay out of your home. And if you encounter problems with your air vents, be sure to contact an experienced contractor to solve the problem effectively.
Earth Care Plumbers are available to assist with plumbing emergencies 24/7/365. Just dial 8337368835 Or you can book online at https://www.earthcarebrands.com/