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Old 11-12-2010, 01:46 PM   #1
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Checking for vent stack obstruction...


I'm getting gurgling in my bathtub when the toilet is flushed... I've read a suggestion (here maybe, can't remember) that if the vent stack is obstructed, I coud run a garden hose in the stack and it might clear it up or it might fill with water if it is indeed the source of obstruction.

So my question is, if I'm obstructed below one of the fixtures, could running a garden hose overflow a sink or toilet before it overflows out the top of the stack?

Just want to be sure if this is going to happen that I do this when somebody else can watch inside for something to start overflowing.

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Old 11-12-2010, 03:49 PM   #2
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Checking for vent stack obstruction...


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So my question is, if I'm obstructed below one of the fixtures, could running a garden hose overflow a sink or toilet before it overflows out the top of the stack?
Definitely. Water in a tube with opposite ends exposed to the same atmospheric pressure will level itself. This is how water levels work. Meaning that higher water in the vent will overflow any lower opening.

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Old 11-12-2010, 09:38 PM   #3
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Checking for vent stack obstruction...


I've gotta say... I've been cleaning drains for almost 10 years, and have only seen a blocked vent once. and that one was just barely a vent (roofers dropped cedar shake down a vent, plugged it just above the wc san tee. not saying it can't happen, but I would look down instead of up. any other service guys wanna chime in on this?
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:52 PM   #4
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Checking for vent stack obstruction...


Gotcha beat Man, found a Mountain Dew bottle a roofer dropped down a 4" vent stack. Made it past the toilet to the bldg drain in the crawl. Homeowner made the roofer foot the bill
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Old 11-13-2010, 12:50 AM   #5
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Checking for vent stack obstruction...


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Gotcha beat Man, found a Mountain Dew bottle a roofer dropped down a 4" vent stack. Made it past the toilet to the bldg drain in the crawl. Homeowner made the roofer foot the bill
wow thats messed up
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Old 11-13-2010, 05:54 AM   #6
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Checking for vent stack obstruction...


It's not a complete obstruction I think, it's a wide open unprotected 4" pipe in a suburb and it's been here since 1917... Big oak trees over it. I'm thinking leaves, squirrel or both. At any rate, the stack is attached to a toilet upstairs and a full bath downstairs. Everything does drain, just slowly.
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Old 11-13-2010, 08:48 AM   #7
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Checking for vent stack obstruction...


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Gotcha beat Man, found a Mountain Dew bottle a roofer dropped down a 4" vent stack. Made it past the toilet to the bldg drain in the crawl. Homeowner made the roofer foot the bill
so we know roofers are idiots... guess it's a question we ask now huh?
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Old 11-13-2010, 09:57 AM   #8
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Checking for vent stack obstruction...


One diagnostic is to have a plumber run a sewer cam down the vent - if the vent is obstructed you can have them rod it during the same service call.
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Old 11-13-2010, 12:52 PM   #9
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Checking for vent stack obstruction...


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Originally Posted by WillK View Post
It's not a complete obstruction I think, it's a wide open unprotected 4" pipe in a suburb and it's been here since 1917... Big oak trees over it. I'm thinking leaves, squirrel or both. At any rate, the stack is attached to a toilet upstairs and a full bath downstairs. Everything does drain, just slowly.
IMO, vent pipes should never be left open at the top to allow anything from getting in.

In the past I covered the three ABS vent pipes protruding from our roof with 1/4" galvanized screen with the screen bent down the sides and held with a screw. But eventually the screens would rust out. Guess sewer gas is strong stuff. --- What I've done now is I bought ABS end caps and drilled a lot of holes in them to act as a screen. Hold each cap on using a stainless steel screw. Works great, looks great and will never rust. Suggest doing this to your vents after you clear them out.

HRG
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Old 11-13-2010, 04:46 PM   #10
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Checking for vent stack obstruction...


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Gotcha beat Man, found a Mountain Dew bottle a roofer dropped down a 4" vent stack. Made it past the toilet to the bldg drain in the crawl. Homeowner made the roofer foot the bill
My only experience with a blocked vent was when the roofers got rid of their beer cans that way, it got so bad that we had to cap the vents until they were done!!
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Old 11-13-2010, 05:05 PM   #11
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Checking for vent stack obstruction...


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IMO, vent pipes should never be left open at the top to allow anything from getting in.

In the past I covered the three ABS vent pipes protruding from our roof with 1/4" galvanized screen with the screen bent down the sides and held with a screw. But eventually the screens would rust out. Guess sewer gas is strong stuff. --- What I've done now is I bought ABS end caps and drilled a lot of holes in them to act as a screen. Hold each cap on using a stainless steel screw. Works great, looks great and will never rust. Suggest doing this to your vents after you clear them out.

HRG
Due to people dropping things down the vent pipes most commercial jobs I worked would use something like this.

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Old 11-13-2010, 05:32 PM   #12
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Checking for vent stack obstruction...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Homerepairguy View Post
IMO, vent pipes should never be left open at the top to allow anything from getting in.

In the past I covered the three ABS vent pipes protruding from our roof with 1/4" galvanized screen with the screen bent down the sides and held with a screw. But eventually the screens would rust out. Guess sewer gas is strong stuff. --- What I've done now is I bought ABS end caps and drilled a lot of holes in them to act as a screen. Hold each cap on using a stainless steel screw. Works great, looks great and will never rust. Suggest doing this to your vents after you clear them out.

HRG
On a previous house I added these on:

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...atalogId=10053

But the current stack is too tall. I'm considering replacing the stack with PVC, and if I do I'll build it at a height approriate to this kind of cap.
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Old 11-13-2010, 08:58 PM   #13
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Checking for vent stack obstruction...


If the house was built in 1917, I would definately try cleaning the vent line first. To me it does sound like a partially obstructed vent. I see that alot on older homes b/c of the sludge from the lavatory building up at the tee. Pulled (or mutilated) squirrels out of drain, leaves are an option, on top of having ancient plumbing. Clean the vent or hire a plumber to clean the vent... Would not try the water hose idea.
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Old 11-14-2010, 07:00 AM   #14
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Checking for vent stack obstruction...


The potential problem with plumbing vent screens in cold climates is that they can provides a matrix for ice formation. I don't have a picture of an ice-occluded screen, but here's an example of how these pipes ice up even without a screen: Plumbing Vents are Subject To Frost Closure In Cold Climates - Paragon Inspections Chicago
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Last edited by Michael Thomas; 11-14-2010 at 07:09 AM.
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Old 11-14-2010, 08:45 AM   #15
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Checking for vent stack obstruction...


I just had all my plumbing redone (well, most of it). Most of the venting is done (aside from one sink) through a new PVC. Should I consider installing something to prevent debris falling in or leaving it alone. I live in upstate NY so freezing is a definite issue.

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