All You Need To Know About Roof Vents

We get a lot of questions from homeowners about roof vents. We asked our plumbing experts to address some of the most common ones.

What are roof vents and what do they do?

Roof vents are special vertical pipes connected to your home plumbing system designed to remove sewage and regulate air pressure within your pipes.

Are roof vents a necessary part of every home plumbing system?

Yes, roof vents are a necessary plumbing component to any home. In fact, most local building codes mandate that every appliance must have a trap and in most cases every fixture must also be connected to a vent. Without adequate venting, you could be gambling with the comfort and health of all the occupants.

How do roof vents work?

Waste enters the system through your plumbing fixtures such as toilets, sinks and showers. After exiting the fixture, the waste’s first stop is a ‘trap.’

What is a trap?

In the plumbing world, a trap is a dipped (U, S or J shaped) section of pipe attached to most fixtures that always contains water. The bend in the pipe is meant to stop sewer gases generated by the waste from entering the house.

What is the point of the water in the trap?

The water in the plumbing trap creates a tight seal that also serves to prevent sewer gas from passing back up through your drainpipes, reentering the living areas of your home and potentially making you and your family sick.

If no water actually flows through the roof vent, how is it helping my plumbing?

Without roof vents, both clean water and waste water would not move properly through your pipes. Roof vents work to preserve neutral air pressure within your drain lines. As a result of this neutral air pressure, gravity can take over and successfully push and pull water and waste through your pipes. Keep in mind all this ventilation only works correctly if your pipes also maintain the appropriate downward slant throughout the system to ensure proper flow.

Can roof vents get clogged?

Yes, it isn’t uncommon for us to receive calls about roof vents becoming clogged up. We see this fairly often no matter the season—ice build up in winter, leaf blockages in fall or perhaps even the decomposing carcass of a wild animal in the spring. There are a few different signs that will signal your roof vent is clogged. You may notice one of your drains is functioning extremely slowly or you may see abnormal bubbles in your toilet after you flush it. You could also experience a powerful ‘glugging’ noise as one of your plumbing fixtures drains. Or in a worst case scenario, your traps may empty of water completely and allow foul smelling sewer gas to escape into your home.

Radiant is Austin and San Antonio’s #1 in plumbing service. We’ve been serving local communities across Central Texas for more than 20 years. Our ever expanding service area covers Austin, San Antonio, and neighborhoods everywhere in between. If you need plumbing repair, you need it now.

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