How to Unclog Bathroom Vent Pipe: Steps from Pros

Most homeowners don’t even realize they have a bathroom vent pipe, so they neglect it until they experience a problem. You may not realize it, but a clogged vent pipe is a serious problem. Today, the experts from Pro Comfort Control are here with this quick guide on how to unclog a bathroom vent pipe. 

Contact us today to speak to Framingham’s emergency plumbing services experts!

how to unclog bathroom vent pipe

What Does a Bathroom Vent Pipe Do?

Although it is designed for water, your plumbing system also takes in air sometimes. Just like water, plumbing systems need to vent air and gas to prevent pressure that can damage your pipes and plumbing fixtures. Your bathroom vent pipe allows air into your system, keeps pressures low, and stops a foul odor coming from your plumbing.

Bathroom vent pipes can become clogged by dirt, debris, and hair. When your vent is clogged, your pipes have a much higher risk of forming a clog themselves. Clogged pipes can cause serious water damage, so it’s in your best interest to unclog your plumbing vent as quickly as possible. 

How to Unclog a Bathroom Vent Pipe

If you find a clogged bathroom vent pipe, follow these steps on how to unclog a bathroom vent pipe. First, you’ll need the following tools: rubber gloves, eye protection, a ladder, a drain snake, and an optional auger camera attachment.

Secure the Work Space

Most plumbing vents are on the roof of your house, so clear the area near the side of your house. Ensure all hazards, such as pets or children’s toys, are out of the way. We recommend attaching a safety harness to your belt before you go up to your roof.

Secure the ladder against the side of the building, making sure it’s on flat, level ground. Also, be sure to wear hand and eye protection to prevent clogged material from getting in your eyes. 

Insert the Drain Snake

Once you climb the ladder, unscrew the cap on the pipe and slowly insert the drain snake. Some drain snakes have flashlights and cameras to make them easier to feed into pipes. Don’t push too hard, or you will accidentally damage the side of the vent pipe. If you see tree roots in the vent pipe, you will need to call an expert for removal services. 

Break Apart the Clog

After identifying the clog, pour some water into the pipe with a garden hose to soften it up. If you are lucky, some pressurized water will be enough to push the clog out of the way. Next, push the end of the drain snake or auger into the clog. Start rotating to break apart the clog, taking care to get the sides of the pipe as well. You should be able to tell when the largest mass of the clog breaks apart. 

Double Check for Extra Clogs

Flush the pipes with water again and reinsert the drain snake to look for additional clogs. Sometimes, working a clog with a drain snake just pushes it down, and you’ll need to break it apart again. Have someone else flush the toilets in your home one by one and watch for flowing water. If the water flow is incorrect, there might be another clog in your plumbing system. 

How to Tell Your Plumbing Vent Is Clogged

Check the list of below symptoms to determine if you have a clogged vent. 

  • There is a strong smell of sewage and gas coming from your sinks, toilets, and other water-connected appliances
  • Your toilets and sinks gurgle and bubble when they drain water
  • Drains are slow or won’t drain at all

We recommend you unclog your plumbing vent at least once every three to five years. However, you may need to clear your vents earlier than that, depending on the plumbing system condition and vent age. Make sure you give a professional plumber a call to give you peace of mind if you find yourself unable to figure out how to unclog a bathroom vent pipe.