Your plumbing system relies on gravity to carry wastewater down the drains and out into your municipal sewer system or septic tank. Adequate ventilation is necessary to keep the drain lines running smoothly, so your home’s main drain is connected to a PVC or cast iron vent pipe that runs vertically up through the roof. The vent serves two purposes – it lets sewer gas out and draws air in to maintain neutral pressure in the drain system.
If you’re experiencing any of these warning signs of poorly-vented drain lines, it’s time to call a professional plumber.
Pressure imbalances caused by problematic vents create a vacuum effect that slows the movement of water through your drain pipes. Sluggish drains are more prone to clogs, so if you’re plunging toilets or unstopping sink drains frequently, it’s wise to have the vent stack checked.
When your plumbing system is working properly, drain traps underneath each fixture retain a small amount of water to keep malodorous sewer gas out of your home. Negative pressure in the drains can suction the traps dry, and you’ll start to smell noxious odors in the bathrooms.
It’s normal to hear a rushing sound as water exits a plumbing fixture, but noises further along in the pipes can indicate a vent obstruction. If your plumbing is burping, belching or gurgling, wastewater is having difficulty traveling through the drain lines.
Rising bubbles in the toilet bowl when an appliance is draining elsewhere in the house are a sign of abnormal pressure in the drain lines that’s forcing air up through the bowl.
If you have to flush the toilet multiple times or the bowl doesn’t refill after you flush, the trap beneath the fixture is likely empty. If a blocked vent pipe causes a pressure imbalance in the drain line and water gets pulled from the trap, flushing power drops and/or the bowl fails to refill properly.
For help dealing with poorly-vented drain lines in your Traverse County home, contact the experts at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about plumbing and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 231-714-6196.
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