Poorly-vented drain lines can cause myriad symptoms in your household plumbing, often masking the real cause behind it all. To move drain water freely out of the house, your plumbing system needs air. As water flows through household drain pipes, pressure imbalances occur: air pressure builds in front of the flow and a zone of low pressure like a vacuum forms behind it. If these pressure imbalances aren’t equalized by plumbing vent pipes that extend all the way to the roof, mysterious problems develop.
Clogged plumbing vents may be due to debris such as leaves or birds’ nests, or the pipe may deteriorate internally and block the free intake and exhaust of air. Here are some of the symptoms of poorly-vented drain lines which may be mistaken for other common plumbing issues.
- Slow draining from sinks or tubs — Is there a partial clog in the drain pipe? Maybe, but if the usual methods like plunging and snaking don’t improve the situation, you may have a blocked drain air vent affecting that part of the system.
- Unusual sounds, even when the sink is dry — If you notice burping or gurgling noises, what you’re hearing is trapped air pressure venting up out of the drain as water flows through a drain line. It’s usually because the vent pipe that’s supposed to relieve pressure in the pipe is obstructed.
- A bubbling toilet — Another way trapped air finds its way out of the drain system when a vent is blocked is by emerging in the toilet bowl. Bubbling that occurs at times other than when the toilet is flushed is a red flag for a poorly-vented drain line.
- Sewer odors — The odor of sewer gas is unmistakable. You know it when you smell it. An obstructed plumbing vent may reflux sewer odors back into the home. Pressure in a poorly-vented drain line can be enough to push air through the traps beneath sinks that normally seal out these odors.
If you’re noticing suspicious signs of poorly-vented drain lines in your house, contact the plumbing professionals at Roth Heating & Cooling.