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Old 01-30-2015, 07:06 PM   #1
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Prevent vent from icing over


I live in NW WI and have a split level built in 1999. The vent pipe is located on the southern roof line and gets a fair amount of sun, and I even painted it black last year, but it still is icing over when we have a week at a time where our highs are -20F and its getting down to -40 at night. My first indication is usually the smell or when the basement eject pump kicks in and all the traps get sucked out.

Is there anything else that can be done to prevent it from icing or am I stuck getting on a ladder and breaking the ice out when this happens? Getting into the attic to get to it is going to be tough since it is on the opposite end of the attic from the access and I really don't want to stomp down all my insulation.
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Old 01-30-2015, 07:13 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rich_kildow View Post
I live in NW WI and have a split level built in 1999. The vent pipe is located on the southern roof line and gets a fair amount of sun, and I even painted it black last year, but it still is icing over when we have a week at a time where our highs are -20F and its getting down to -40 at night. My first indication is usually the smell or when the basement eject pump kicks in and all the traps get sucked out.

Is there anything else that can be done to prevent it from icing or am I stuck getting on a ladder and breaking the ice out when this happens? Getting into the attic to get to it is going to be tough since it is on the opposite end of the attic from the access and I really don't want to stomp down all my insulation.
what size is it...picture would help
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Old 01-30-2015, 07:27 PM   #3
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There should be nothing in a vent to freeze.
Painting it black did nothing but add to the issues.
Dark colors absorb heat.
If it's to low above the roof line and snows covering it, add a coupling and a longer pipe.
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Last edited by BigJim; 01-31-2015 at 12:53 AM. Reason: Unnecessary comments
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Old 01-30-2015, 08:05 PM   #4
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Water vapor will freeze.

Install this and problem is solved.
http://www.heatline.com/arcticprod.htm

Last edited by Ghostmaker; 01-30-2015 at 08:09 PM.
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Old 01-30-2015, 08:16 PM   #5
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It's an 3" PVC pipe 14" tall above the roof line and roughly 8' from the edge of the roof.

Joecaption, what do you mean there should be nothing in a vent pipe to freeze? Any water going down the drain is going to have some evaporation leaving it and going up the vent pipe with the air. Warm water is going to have even more which leads to condensate forming when that warm, moisture laden air hits the cold external air at the top of the vent. If it is cold enough, that condensate freezes onto the pipe walls and eventually closes in with a few days of subzero highs.

Dark colors do absorb more heat, which should increase the temperature of the pipe at the mouth and keep the vapor from condensing and then freezing. How could painting it black possibly hurt things?

It does not get covered in snow and I rake my roof off when it gets anywhere near it. The ice plug forms inside the pipe near the top, not over the top as it would with falling or blowing snow.

My understanding is that the shorter the pipe the faster the vapor gets out and the less time it has to cool, condense, and freeze in the pipe. Wider is also better but I'd rather not rip the roof and vent stack apart. I was hoping that there is some sort of external solution besides heat tape, which worries me a bit.

Last edited by rich_kildow; 01-30-2015 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 01-30-2015, 08:19 PM   #6
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Ghostmaker, that looks like it would do it. Wonder how much they cost...
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Old 01-30-2015, 10:19 PM   #7
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It's what they use up in northern Canada.
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Old 01-30-2015, 11:22 PM   #8
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A 15 ft. 7 watt / ft. heat tape dropped down the pipe might just prevent freezing. Insulating the pipe would be an advantage but being you would rather not be in the attic insulating the exposed portion above the roof may be your only option.
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Old 01-31-2015, 10:23 AM   #9
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This summer it might be worthwhile to replace the top section of your vent pipe with 4" pipe (from attic up and out). It will take a lot longer for ice to build up enough to block 4" pipe.
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Old 01-31-2015, 04:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghostmaker View Post
Water vapor will freeze.

Install this and problem is solved.
http://www.heatline.com/arcticprod.htm

Ayuh,..... This one oughta do the job,....



The Arctic Vent,...

Those folks seem to have an electrical cure for 'bout any Freeze problems you could ever have,....
Sewer vents, to cattle feeders,...

Last edited by Bondo; 01-31-2015 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 01-31-2015, 07:04 PM   #11
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I was impressed by the site. Some ingenious stuff.
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Old 02-01-2015, 07:46 AM   #12
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Let me tell you about this nightmare of a problem. If that arctic vent works use it. I ran into this problem ten years ago and nothing seemed to work.
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Old 02-02-2015, 11:12 AM   #13
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Here's what I'd do. Cut the pipe short on top of the roof, leaving just enough length to glue on a fitting. That fitting will be a 3-to-4" transition and on top of that, a short section of 4" pipe to make your new vent about 7" high above the flashing. If necessary, a 4" PVC "return bend" (U-shaped fitting) can be put on to keep snow from covering it over.

And I'd paint it all black. PVC wants UV protection anyway.
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Old 02-02-2015, 03:10 PM   #14
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I have personally been through this. Maybe it was just my setup, or just the perfect conditions. I went round and round with a similair problem.
I was over 40 feet in the air on a metal roof at well below zero. Not matter what I tried, kept icing over. The final solution was to cut out the wall and y in a pop air valve.
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Old 02-06-2015, 02:51 PM   #15
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Pop air valve?


What is a pop air valve? A one way valve that you would use when venting a drain through the main vent stack isn't feasible, like this:

http://www.amazon.com/Oatey-39016-Su.../dp/B000BVMX62
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