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3 Signs You Have a Clogged Plumbing Vent


Signs You Have a Clogged Plumbing Vent

The Romans were the first people to build elaborate plumbing systems so they could bring spring water from the mountains to supply their cities.

They also used these advancements for better waste disposal systems. Before Romans used underground sewers to empty waste into the rivers, communities emptied their sewage into the streets.

Nowadays, plumbing systems are intricate. Not every clog is fixable using a plunger. In fact, a plunger only handles small clogs, whereas anything larger requires the expertise of a professional plumber.

If your plumbing vent is clogged, your plumbing system will stop working correctly. You should be able to tell rather quickly there’s a problem.

There are a few telltale signs that indicate your plumbing vent is clogged. Do you want to know what they are?

Read this guide to learn the signs that you may have a clogged drain vent.

What are Plumbing Vents?

Before we discuss sure signs that your drain vent is clogged, let’s go over what that vent does and why it’s important.

Drain pipes remove water and waste from your home. They can become clogged, but they aren’t the only pipes that can become clogged.

Plumbing vents remove gas and odors from your home. They also regulate the air pressure in your plumbing system.

Without vents, water and waste could not move from place to place in an efficient manner.

The plumbing vent pipe is a vertical pipe that attaches to the drain line and runs through the roof of a home.

The pipe leading to the main roof vent is called the vent stack. It helps maintain proper atmospheric pressure in a building’s waste system and channels the exhaust gasses to the vent.

Your home or office’s plumbing systems are composed of both drainage and vent systems that work together to remove water and waste.

Those vent pipes provide fresh air to all the plumbing fixtures so that the system can efficiently move water through the drainage pipes each time a sink is drained, or a toilet is flushed.

Plumbing vent pipes are always located away from windows and HVAC units so that fumes dissipate easily without contaminating those air sources.

The significance of plumbing vents has been established. Now let’s look at the top signs to look for, which may mean a vent is clogged.

1. Strong Sewage Smells

Strong sewage smells are a telltale sign that your toilet vent pipe may be clogged.

One of the main jobs of vent pipes is to get rid of those nasty odors and gasses, so if you smell something off, it’s time to check it out.

If there is a clog in the plumbing vent, those sewer gasses can’t escape properly. That means it’s possible they’ll re-enter your home through the drains.

If you smell a distinct or unpleasant odor from either your toilets or your sinks, it’s possible that vent is clogged.

Not only is it a gross smell, but methane is also something you don’t want your family or customers breathing in. It’s combustible, and it can also cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you smell something strange or gross, call a plumber immediately.

2. Gurgling Toilets And/Or Drains

Have you noticed strange gurgling sounds coming from your toilet after you flush? Have you noticed those sounds coming from your drains?

If a plumbing vent is clogged, that means that air can’t escape your plumbing system how it’s supposed to. When that happens, the air will find the nearest exit, which is usually your toilet or your sink.

It makes noise as it escapes, which is what causes those gurgling sounds. If you notice any of these noises, call a professional as soon as possible.

3. Sluggish Drains

Slow drains can stem from several issues. But one of those issues pertains to a clogged plumbing vent.

If you notice that one or all of your drains are backed up and very sluggish, it could indicate a vent issue. When a plumbing vent gets clogged, it can’t regulate the air pressure within your plumbing system to keep things flowing properly.

Call your local plumber to find out if it’s due to a clogged drain vent or something else.

You Might Need an Expert

When it comes to a clogged vent, Drano will not cut it. Plus those harsh cleaners like Drano take a toll on your pipes the more they’re used. So, regardless of your plumbing situation, it’s always best to call a professional.

And plumbing jobs can be messy. Sometimes a clogged vent will require a professional plumber to open up the walls of your home to get a good look at your drainage system.

Because most drain vent pipes are up near the roof, sometimes debris from the roof can even clog a pipe. Bird’s nests, debris, and rodents are all known culprits for clogging vent pipes.

Going up on a roof is dangerous, especially when you’re trying to search for the cause of a clog. It’s in your best interest to hire a professional if there may be a clog in a vent pipe.

Don’t Wait to Get Your Plumbing Vent Checked

An essential thing to remember about plumbing issues, especially if it pertains to a clogged plumbing vent, is not to wait too long to fix an issue.

If methane gas releases into your home or your business, your family or customers could get sick or hurt.

Plus, the sooner you call a professional and tackle any plumbing issue, the less likely it is that you must reach deep into your pockets to pay a large bill.

Either way, we are here to help. Have a question? Give us a call or request a quote.

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  1. Jim

    Sewer smell outside of home front entrance. City cleaned out sewer line, came back out and suggested getting stack vent pipes. all toilets working in home. Not sure whether to clean out all four vent pipes or buy the vent stacks (seem fairly expensive

    • Linda

      Just started getting the gurgling sound when flushing! It’s a dual flush toilet and it’s upstairs! I’ve plunged half the night,,,put vinegar and baking sofa down it, cleaned out sink and bathtub and still when flushing,the water nearly goes to the top,,then starts to flush itself down till no water left in the bowl,the gurgle then it starts to fill back up

    • Anyoums

      My apt since moving has always haf a foul smell to the point i had went to drs but i thought i was just feeling bad.As time has pass living in apt my granddaughter stay sick and skin is irritated as well as tummy hurting all of us at different times has been sick constantly water flity brownush very bad odor has consta ntly starting to be a whole problem with excuses like when water coming thru light ceiling and its electric no one came professionally until days later and again i have 2 8 year old and a 14yr old in this apt.ive now been waiting since last Thrusday even offer a reliable plumber 2 exactly one i paid 50.00 even tho they wanted help.To me this landlord is a slum landlord and cant speak for owner but myself with videos of pouring water sometimes 5xs pouring eater from overflowing sink and linking pipes.Theirs mo way that a teanant with children has to try and make do and spend money and borrow to get products for odor and help to make it livable which its not.Floors has to be dried kitchen ,sink counter need to be up guareen if i can fill the front of my porch in front with water then theirs mold ,mildew toxic health issues thats occuring.BUILT IN I THINK 1964 DEBRIS PIPES NEEDS DONE TOTALLY NOT JUST TEMPORARY FIX

      • Aa Bbb

        I see that this is from 2022. If this happens again I think you should call the Health Dept or Emergency Services immediately. Be sure to take pictures for proof. Write down the names of EVERYONE you call, their phone number and the date. Write down exactly what they tell you.

  2. Robert

    Will a clogged vent prevent Your toilet water from going down when flushed?

    • Zach Durham

      My washing machine is inside & has a sewer vent just above the washer water output in the wall & is easy to see & to get to. When we use the washer the water will not drain fast enough & will back up & over run on the floor could the vent be a problem? Thank you!

  3. Glenn H Sykes

    I need a professional plumber to come out and unclog vent stack. Experiencing strong sewage smells, gurgling toilets and sluggish drains.


      Strong odor inside the house near the drain vent. Have poured hot water down to make sure it is not clogged or iced due to frigid temperatures in our area. Smell comes and goes but seems to draw out the odor when we pour more water down the vent stack. Tank was pumped a month ago. Would it take awhile to release the fumes in the tank? Would a frozen leach field lead to backed up gases? Can the roof vent ever get cracked even though we don’t see any liquid at the bottom of the vent?

      • Kim

        Did you ever get this sorted Melinda? I’ve had the same issue since we had our septic pumped 🙁

        • Deborah

          We had similar issues with a vent pipe that had leaves clogged in it. Our neighbor came over and went up on the roof with a very long pole, pvc I think. He drilled a hole into the one end of his pole and had a rope through it. He put the pole down the vent pipe and worked it up and down a bit and pulled it back out. The clog was cleared.

    • Stevey

      pick up a phone


    Bad older outside, no gurgling toilets and/or drains. We do have a septic system with sprinklers. no smell around the sprinkles. Tanks been pumped still smells. There is a vent pipe coming out the side of the house on the upper floor. We have a 2 story house. Possible the vent pipe be stop up some but not totally? Or is there another cause?

  5. Charles R Cox

    My toilet keeps backing up my air vent I unclog it just to do it again .

    • Cindy

      What came of this? I seem to be having the same issue.

  6. Mike Koss

    I just had a champion pro 4 American Standard installed. We noticed one large bubble on every flush. The waste material flushes great. There is no foul smell. The house was built in the 30’s and have a septic system. Could it be a clog in the venting pipe? Should I call the plumber back?

  7. Dawn

    My water in the toilet bowl keeps going down

  8. Art

    Will two 90 degree fittings on my 4″ vent pipe make the waste line plug up

  9. frank cipot

    sink and shower water pressure is lowered when the dishwasher is turned on. why?

    • Elizabeth Mitchell

      We have a home in Florida that sits empty for 8 months and we only stay for 4 months in the winter months. The water is turned off so I imagine everything dries up during the 8 month. We arrive I. January and everything g works fine for a week and then with use of the water, any dried up debris that has. Cumulated I guess gets wet and swells and the. Causes back up int our two bathtubs and the toilets burble up air bubbles. This has happened two years in a row. We have a guy coming to snake out the vent stack which worked last year and I assume will work out this year as well but how can we prevent this from happening every year? Will a vent cap/ screen help? Do we need to ask our neighbor to go into the house once every two weeks to flush the toilet and run water down the drains? Should we ask the guy who is going to snake the vent (today) to run the garden hose down the vent to make sure the debris is washed away into the sewer system?

  10. Tim Busch

    09 cavalier double wide I’m getting condensation in my attic space area there’s one big vent up there I don’t think it’s working condensation is running down to the corners on the inside of the sheetrock and to the outside sofit vents what can I do ? Thanks

  11. dave theriault

    i hear a banging noise sounds like its comingfrom the stack pipe. i also get asmell fro my kitchen sinks. could this be the vent pipe is getting clogged

  12. Pawel Jankowski

    When pump in the crawlspace turn on I heard gurgling sounds coming from upstair sink, and is bad smell in the house. Do we have clogged vent?

  13. Ann

    My toilet won’t flush if I run the washer, take a shower. It gurgles then the water disappears. I open the out pipe (or whatever it’s called) and all the water comes out. This is a new main line so I doubt anything is clogged. Could it be the vent pipe? This just started happening last year

  14. Reg & Jane Barss

    Every time we flush toilets, on both floors of our house we gurgling sounds in the kitchen sink & at times in the toilts. Plumbers have checked all inside drains & outside drain to street water flowing smoothly. One of the plumbers said that probably the air vent is clogged, but they did not do that kind of work. We are physically unable to climb ladders especially to the roof. Do you do this kind of work? House built in 50’s & this issue has been going on for 6 months

  15. Melinda

    Will clogged vent pipe smell like urine

  16. Em Kay

    I observed sluggish flushing of toilets and gurgling due to faulty installation after renovation work. i.e. failing to connect to vent system.

  17. Suzan E

    We have a vent pipe with a hole in it near the lower floor bathroom. The tub is sluggish. We tried to repair the pipe with tape since it is in a very difficult location to access. The pipe is located between a tile wall shower and the kitchen. There is an access panel outside in the back of the building as well. When the tub is clogged and we snake the tub – water comes out of the vent pipe and underneath the kitchen cabinets on the other side of the wall. What are some options for repairing a vent pipe this low? The pipe is copper. Any suggestions? I have photos.


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