Pay Attention to the Signs
Have you ever been in your bathroom and seen air bubbles rising through your toilet bowl? Have you noticed the water rising and falling randomly? If these things are occurring when you aren’t flushing the toilet, you likely have a clogged toilet. Also called an “improperly vented toilet,” this type of thing occurs when you’ve got an appliance like a wash machine nearby and your toilet isn’t getting enough air.
How Pipes Work
All pipes need to “breathe.” Most drain pipes use the principal of gravity to send water down drain lines. As waste water moves through your pipes, the pipe’s air pressure fluctuates. For this reason, most pipes have vertical vents that let air into the pipe that they can “breathe.” When pipes breathe, they let air in so it can water and flow and work property.
If this sounds a bit confusing, think for a moment about pouring water from a can with only one opening. Whenever you pour liquid this can, you’ll notice that the water doesn’t flow evenly. However, if you add a second opening to this can, water will more easily flow out of the can when you pour it out. The principle same is true when we talk about plumbing. As water goes down a drain, air is needed to equalize the pressure in the drain line.
Sign’s of Poorly Vented Drain Lines
Do you know if you have a poorly vented drain line? Here’s 5 signs to look out for:
- Methane Odor – If you smell a strong methane odor coming from your drain or toilet, this usually means that you’ve got poorly vented drain lines. In a normal properly functioning plumbing system, a seal prevents outside harmful gases from entering your house. When you’ve got poorly vented drain lines, your pipes become empty and start drying out. This allows the seal to be broken and harmful gases to start to enter your home. Always call a plumber if you smell a harmful odor like Methane near your toilets.
- Bubbling Toilet – If you see bubbles in your toilet happening at any other time then when you’re flushing, you’ve likely got a situation where a blocked vent is creating pressure in your pipes and forcing air up the pipes into your toilet bowl.
- An Empty Toilet – If your toilet bowl doesn’t automatically refill with clean water when you flush it, this means that there isn’t any water in the pipes or the reserve behind your toilet. Pipes require air pressure to keep water in this reserve. A poorly vented drain line doesn’t have air pressure, so water flows down the pipes away from your toilet.
- Gurgling Toilet – If you hear noise coming from your pipes after you flush, you’ve probably got poorly ventured drain lines. In this case, the gurgling sound happens when water can’t go down the pipe easily because of less air in the pipes.
- Slow Drains – A slow drain either happens from a clog or a plugged vent. If your pipes don’t have the right ventilation to push water down the pipes, it will drain slowly or not drain at all.
Since pipes need to breathe, any type of drain line that is poorly vented can be a serious problem and affect your plumbing. This type of situation isn’t any easy “DIY” fix because the solution means removing walls to examine your drain system. Regardless of the cause, a poorly vented drain line can cause a multitude of problems. Unless you know what you’re doing, it’s much better to call a professional plumber to fix the job.