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If you’ve lived in a residential area, you’ve likely noticed the short, narrow pipes that extend from the roof of a home. What you may not know is that those pipes are plumbing air vents, and they are critical to ensuring that a home’s plumbing system is operating appropriately.
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What Is a Plumbing Vent?
You can think of a plumbing vent as being analogous to a chimney or flue. It’s a vertical pipe connected to a home’s internal plumbing system. It extends up through the roof of the home. The plumbing vent pipe roof fixture is called the plumbing vent stack.
Though it’s an integral part of a home’s plumbing system, water does not pass through the plumbing vent pipe. Air and other gases pass through it instead.
What Is the Purpose of Vent Pipe Fixtures?
The purpose of a plumbing air vent is to provide ventilation for a home’s plumbing system. The vent stack allows harmful sewer gases and odors that accumulate in a plumbing system to escape the home. The vent stack also regulates the pressure in a plumbing system so drain traps remain filled with water. This prevents gases and odors from emanating from sinks, tubs, and showers in the home.
Without vent stacks, plumbing systems would operate inefficiently and allow toxic gases to enter residential spaces. While most people may not know what those plumbing vent roof fixtures are, they would most certainly understand something was wrong if a vent stack wasn’t doing its job.
What Are Some Problems With Plumbing Vent Pipes?
For all its significance in a home’s plumbing system, a plumbing air vent is a rather simple structure. There isn’t much that can go wrong. They can become clogged, however. It’s not uncommon for birds to make nests atop the vent stack. Squirrels or other small animals may interfere with the structure. Leaves, twigs, or other organic debris may become caught inside the stack. If the clog is significant enough, it can seriously impair a home’s entire plumbing system.
Here are a few things to watch out for that may suggest the vent stack in your home is obstructed.
- Gurgling sounds. Strange noises coming from the sink, tub, and shower drains may be one of the first signs that something is wrong with your plumbing air vent. This is a sign that air is escaping the drain traps.
- Pooling water. As the pressure in your home’s plumbing system is disrupted, you may find water pooling in your sinks and tubs, even when the faucet hasn’t been in use.
- Slow drainage. A clogged air vent can also cause water to drain more slowly from your sink or tub. You may first assume this is a symptom of a clogged drain. If plunging or other methods to resolve a clog are ineffective, then a clogged air vent could be the true cause.
- Foul odors. If the plumbing air vent is badly obstructed, then sewer gases have nowhere to escape but from the drains in your bathroom or kitchen. If you notice foul smells emanating from your drains, a clogged vent is likely the problem.
Will a Home Warranty Cover Plumbing Air Vents?
A home warranty for plumbing systems can absolutely ensure that your air vents will remain in working order for years to come. With appropriate coverage, any problem with your plumbing system can be resolved at minimal expense to you.