How to Clean A Plumbing Vent

When your bathroom feels damp or poorly ventilated, this could be because your plumbing vent is dirty. Before reaching out to your plumber, try cleaning the vent yourself to clear debris and get your vent pipe working correctly again. This guide will discuss when to clean your plumbing vent, how to clean a clogged one, and other tips for keeping your bathroom well-ventilated. Contact our plumbing experts here at Caldwell Plumbing to access high-quality expert advice for your plumbing needs.

How Often Should You Clean A Plumbing Vent?

To prevent debris from causing a clogged vent pipe, you must clean a plumbing vent every 3 to 5 years. Inspecting your plumbing vent and systems even more regularly is also a good idea. 

There are specific circumstances where you may need to clean your vent pipe more regularly – for instance, if your bathroom has a lot of dust, debris, or dirt, you may need to perform this process once a year. Failing to clean your plumbing vent pipe will result in the following issues:

  • Unpleasant odours – your bathroom may smell musty, unpleasant, or damp should you neglect to clean your plumbing vent system.
  • Mould – if you do not provide a way for water and humid air to flow freely from your bathroom, this will cause mould to develop, damaging your tiling and paintwork. This mould will also contribute to any unpleasant smells in your bathroom.
  • Sewer gases – vent pipes allow sewer gases to escape from your building, and a dirty vent stack will increase air pressure, which could lead to an increased risk of fire caused by the methane in sewer line gases.
  • Humidity – a plumbing system requires ventilation to escape humidity from hot water. A humid bathroom will cause warping for any wooden fixtures, contributing to mould growth.

For the reasons listed above, cleaning your plumbing vents regularly is essential for safety and to keep your bathroom smelling fresh.

Cleaning A Plumbing Vent: A Step-By-Step Guide

To clear debris from your clogged plumbing vent and ensure your bathroom functions optimally, you must allocate time to cleaning it. Below are the steps you should take when cleaning your clogged plumbing vent.

  1. Climb to the roof using a ladder – when taking this step, it’s best to ensure you are equipped with the proper safety equipment to secure the ladder to your roof. If your plumbing vent pipe protrudes from an exterior wall, you must find a way to access this area.
  2. Flush the toilet – while you are next to the plumbing vent, you can have an assistant flush the bathroom toilet. While this happens, place your hand over the plumbing system vent. If there is no suction when the toilet flushes, you have a clogged plumbing vent.
  3. Use a plumber’s snake – if you find your vent is clogged, you should use a plumber snake to fish out any debris blocking the pipe.
  4. Use a garden hose – if you cannot clear all of the debris using the plumber’s snake, you should use a garden hose to flush out the debris.
  5. Check the air pressure – once you have performed this process, have your assistant flush the toilet again so that you can check the air pressure for suction.

If you have rubber or PVC couplings, you may be able to perform this process from your attic, cutting a portion of the pipe and replacing it once you’re done.

How to Keep Your Plumbing System Clear

To avoid future clogging, you should take the following steps:

  • Reduce vermin and pests – vermin and pests can leave debris in your pipes, using pesticides and rat poisons to protect these areas will reduce debris.
  • Reduce external debris – cleaning your roof and gutters regularly will stop leaves and other debris from getting into your plumbing vents.
  • Clean your plumbing vents regularly – performing regular maintenance on your plumbing vents will prevent a seriously clogged vent, which may be extremely difficult to clear.

Need Your Plumbing Vents Cleaned?

Knowing the steps to clean your own plumbing system will help you to avoid the cost of replacing or cleaning your system should it become severely blocked. If your bathroom is damp, moldy, or has foul odors, your plumbing vents could be clogged.

If you’re looking to maintain and update your bathroom, why not reach out to our friendly and professional team of plumbers here at Caldwell Plumbing? We can help you to reach those hard-to-get places and keep your bathroom working optimally.