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What Are Plumbing Vents and Why Do You Need Them?

Has your plumber talked to you about plumbing vents? 

You might have just been polite and nodded your head in agreement as they talked about installing or repairing them. Or maybe you thought they were referring to the drains in the house.

However, a plumbing vent actually sits on your roof. It doesn’t catch rainwater or supply any liquids into your system. Plumbing vents serve other important purposes to help keep your drainage system working the best that it can.

But how important are plumbing vents? What would happen if you didn’t have them installed in your house or if they stopped working? 

You absolutely do need to have plumbing vents in your property. Here’s why they’re so crucial to your drainage system.

Why Do You Need Plumbing Vents?

Even though it plays a vital role in your house’s draining system, plumbing vents don’t actually take in or expel any water. Instead, they help provide the correct level of air pressure to your setup so that liquids can flow through the pipes easily and quickly.

They also help get rid of gasses and odours from storing in the drainage system. This can come from sewer smells or food scraps that have made their way down the kitchen sink. 

If these fumes had no way to escape, they would build up, block the pipes, and start filling your house with dangerous smells that can be harmful if inhaled.

What Types of Plumbing Vents Are Available?

For most houses, there is one pipe connected to your drainage system that runs vertically through the walls and to the roof. However, as plumbing structures and house designs have evolved over the years, so has the need for different types of vents to help get the job done. 

Studor Valves/Air Admittance

These unique plumbing valves only open up once the water starts flowing through the drain. When this occurs, the air is able to equalise the pressure that’s generated by the liquids. They’re mostly used with sink drains instead of more traditional style vents.

They’re not perfect though. In fact, not all building codes recognise them, and some even deem them illegal. They are also can wear out quickly, which leads to the valves getting stuck when they’re in the closed position.

Circuit Vents

Commonly used in apartment buildings or houses with multiple fixtures, circuit vents help reduce the need for numerous plumbing vents sticking out of your roof.

It works by connecting up to eight different fixtures to one single horizontal pipe. Circuit vents can then be attached to allow for even more to feed into the existing system. 

It makes for a more efficient and effective way of managing air pressure rather than having an individual plumbing vent for each unit or section of the house.

Chicago Loop

Not every part of the home that requires a plumbing vent is able to connect to the traditional horizontal pipes. That’s where the Chicago loop solution comes in.

For this design, the vent gets installed under a sink and loops just above the floor rim. This allows it to travel down to the floor and extend horizontally to the main vent pipe. 

It requires a little more extra effort to get installed, but it’s an ideal solution for items like island kitchen sinks. 

What Problems Can Occur with Plumbing Vents?

Even though a plumbing vent doesn’t take in any water, it’s still prone to damage and blockages that can lead to more significant problems. You’ll immediately know when something is wrong as you’ll hear gurgling sounds from the drains, notice that water is taking longer to go down the sink, or not disappearing at all and remaining in the basin.

Often, you’ll be able to clear the blockage using a cleaning solution, auger, or plunger. However, when it’s related to the plumbing vent itself, a vacuum can form, and instead of hearing gurgling, you’ll get greeted with odours and gasses filling the room. This is your cue to call a plumber.

How Do You Get a Plumbing Vent Fitted or Fixed?

Plumbing vents are an essential part of your drainage system. They can help regulate the air pressure to ensure that any water or liquid waste is cleared as quickly as possible. It also helps provide odours and gasses a way to get expelled from the house so that they don’t clog up pipes or stink up your home.

It’s important to know that plumbing vents aren’t immune to damage. They can get blocked up like any other piece of piping within the house. While on most occasions, you might be able to fix the problem yourself with the standard tools and methods to unclog a drain, you’ll need to call in the professionals if you start noticing water not draining at all or nasty smells coming from the sink.
When this happens, you need to get in contact with All Day Plumbing. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of the day or at midnight. We’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for any emergency situation. Don’t just open a window to air out the odours from the sink. Book an appointment with us today, and we’ll make sure your plumbing vents are getting rid of them for you.