Cleaning a Drain Vent

What You'll Need
Extension ladder
Garden hose
Plumbing snake
Garbage bag
Rubber gloves

Your drain vent is the channel through which sewage and gray waters are discharged from your house. This vent may experience frequent build-up of debris. A clogged drain vent creates problems in the drainage system as water will not be discharged out of the bathroom as it should. It is best to clean your drain vents twice a year to avoid drainage and plumbing problems. Fortunately, it just takes a bit of time and a few basic items.

Step 1 – Mount the Roof

Wear shoes with a firm grip to avoid an accidental fall while on the roof. Position your ladder against the wall closest to the drain vent. Climb onto the roof. Be sure to carry along a garbage bag, plumbing snake, garden hose and flashlight.

Step 2 – Locate the Vent

This is usually a plastic or metal pipe about 4 inches in diameter that extends 1 to 2 feet above the roof surface. It may have a cap on it. The vent is usually placed above a bathroom.

Step 3 – Clean the Vent

Insert your gloved hand into the vent and extract whatever may have clogged it. Leaves, debris and animal droppings may have found their way into the vent. Place the dirt into the garbage bag. Shine your flashlight into the vent to see if it is clear.

Step 4 – Flush the Drain Vent

Position your garden hose a few inches into the vent. Turn on the water at high pressure so that it gushes into the vent. The water will be able to reach into the inaccessible areas further down where more debris may have clogged the drain. Try and circulate the inside of the vent with the hose so that it receives adequate water from all sides. Keep up the pressure until you hear some whooshing sound which indicates that a blockage has been cleared. Once the water clears the blockage, the water from the hose should flow directly into the sewer. Turn off the water.

Step 5 – Plumbing Snake

However, if the drain vent is still clogged, you’ll get an overflow of water on top of the vent pipe. Insert your plumbing snake into the vent. Probe firmly into the vent and try and reach all areas right inside the vent. You should be able to clear the blockage with some effort.

Step 6 – Flush with Water

Place your garden hose above the vent again and turn on the water. It should be able to flush right through the vent and carry the dislodged debris along with it into the sewer.

Step 7 – Replace Vent Cap

Place back the vent cap to prevent entry of debris into the vent. It is best to use vent caps that are designed in such a way that debris doesn’t find its way into the vents easily. Proceed to clean your other drain vents so that you’re certain they’re all in good order. This will save you another trip to the roof soon.