How to Find and Check Your Plumbing Vent for Clogging

How to Find and Check Your Plumbing Vent for Clogging

Many homes have one or more plumbing fixtures, such as sinks, showers, baths, and even laundry machines. These fixtures may also have waste pipes that lead outside or to a septic system. In most cases, these fixtures and waste pipes are connected through an underground piping network called the plumbing system. Your home’s plumbing must flow liquid sewage and other waste so it can be disposed of safely. However, the same pipes that carry this liquid may also serve as a sewer when larger items such as dirt aren’t drained from them regularly enough. If you put something harmful into your plumbing system and then don’t clean out the vent to keep it free of gunk, it will clog over time until you resolve the problem with a tool known as a drain snake.

 

How to find your plumbing vent

The first step in finding your plumbing vent is to look near the drain or fixture where the waste pipe and vent are located. These pipes are usually hidden behind walls and in walls, so they may not be immediately visible. Next, search for the vent itself. This vent is usually a small hole in the ground and will be located near where the waste pipe and vent meet, or at the base of the drain or fixture. Finally, check the waste lines for a vent at the septic system and other drains. These vents will be visible near the drain or fixture as well as at the septic and/or other drain.

 

Check your drain snake for progress

If you’ve followed the steps above and you’re still having problems unclogging your drain, you can check your drain snake for progress. You’ll need to remove your drain pipe from the garbage disposal to do this. While your garbage disposal is removed from the drain pipe, slip the end of the drain snake into the drain. Run the snake down the pipe to check for clogs at the bottom of the pipe. If you find a block, you’ll need to dig out the block with a long, thin tool, such as a drain auger.

 

How to unblock clogged PVC pipe with a plunger and auger

If your drain snake is finding clogs and your drain is still clogged, you’ll need to use a tool that will dig at or break through the blockage in the pipe. A pipe that’s blocked with tree roots may require a special tool known as a root digger, which has a long arm that reaches into the pipe to free the blockage. A snake won’t work for this purpose. For most clogs, however, you’ll need to use a powerful tool called a drain auger. This tool looks like a drill does, but it has a different-sized bit and is powered by a cord.

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How to unblock clogged metal pipe with an auger and pliers

If your drain snake is finding clogs and your drain is still clogged, you’ll need to use a tool that will break or cut through the blockage in the pipe. A pipe that’s blocked with tree roots may require a special tool known as a root digger, which has a long arm that reaches into the pipe to free the blockage. A snake won’t work for this purpose. For most clogs, however, you’ll need to use a powerful tool called a drain auger. This tool looks like a drill does, but it has a different-sized bit and is powered by a cord. It’s usually heavier and less portable than a drill, but it’s also more powerful.

 

Wrap up

Plumbing vents can be tricky to clean and to keep free from debris. Fortunately, there are several ways to unclog a clogged vent with minimal effort on your part. The first step is to check your plumbing vent for debris and debris blocking it. Once you’ve cleared the vent, you can use a drain snake to run down the pipe, a drain auger to dig through the blockage, or a plunger and auger to cut through the blockage.

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