What a Plumbing Vent Problem is & How to Know if You Have One


One of the most common complaints we get here at Armstrong Plumbing is about sinks and tubs that drain too slowly. Often, homeowners will complain about gurgling or bubbling sounds in their pipes as well. These signs all point to a vent problem. Here's what you need to know.

Air Pressure and Your Pipes

You probably already know that there are numerous drain pipes that attach to your fixtures and carry water in and out of your house. What you may not know is that there are other plumbing pipes in your drain-waste-vent system that open at rooftop level. These are called your vent pipes and they do a couple of things. First, they disperse bad odors into the air. Second, they provide a ventilation system that equalizes air pressure on both sides of a drain.

Why does this matter? Think of it this way: if you open a soda bottle and turn it directly upside down, your soda won't flow smoothly; it will come out in sudden fits and spurts. You have to hold the soda bottle at an angle so that there's enough air pressure around the liquid. That way it will pour out steadily, the way you want it to.

Correct air pressure is important for your plumbing system, too. Tubs won't drain well and toilets will act up if there isn't a functional ventilation system in place.

What Causes Vent Problems?

The most common vent problem is simple: your air vent has become clogged and you need to clear it out. That will eliminate the glump-glump-glump in your pipes and let your drains do what they're meant to do.

Common causes of vent clogs include:

  • Old leaves or foliage
  • Insect or rodent activity
  • Toys or other belongings that have become stuck
  • Other debris

There are other factors that can mess up your vent lines and restrict air flow. If you're at a loss, we'd be happy to come out, inspect your plumbing, and identify the problem.

What to Do If You Have Clogged Vents

The first thing you should do if you face this problem is check your drain lines. Sometimes, what customers think is a clogged air vent is actually just a clogged drain. If you've cleaned your drains and you still have a problem, check your roof.

Homeowners often discover that their rooftop vent cover or ventilator is cracked, clogged, or completely missing. Replacing the rooftop cover can help you solve this problem.

Again, if these steps don't work, call Armstrong and we'll help fix your clogged drain!

Armstrong can Provide Same Day Service for Plumbing Problems

Gurgling plumbing noises aren't simply irritating. They can indicate a serious plumbing problem that requires diagnosis by a professional. At Armstrong, we answer questions about strange plumbing noises and slow drains every day. We'll be happy to come out, usually on the same day, and help you fix the problem.

Contact us today for an estimate. We're ready to help.

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