If you notice that the drains in your home are slower than normal, then you probably automatically think of a clog in your drain. However, if a plunger does not loosen any debris, then a drainpipe clog may not be your problem. The issue may be a clogged plumbing vent that runs to your roof. To diagnose and fix the issue, follow the tips below.
Before you completely rule out a clog in your home, investigate your drainage. You can easily do this in your bathroom where the toilet, sink, and bathtub drains are likely attached to the sewage or septic system with the same pipe sections. First flush your toilet and listen carefully for any bubbling or gurgling sounds. These sounds will indicate that air is being drawn in through the p-trap attached to your sink or bathtub. This air is usually provided by the roof vent so that wastewater can move through the drainage system, but suction in the pipe will force air to be pulled in through the other drains if this is not possible. The same gurgling is likely to be heard from your toilet if the bathroom sink or bathtub drain is used.
If you cannot hear any gurgling sounds or if they are faint, then it is possible that several of your p-traps are clogged with debris and causing a household drainage problem. Check the trap attached to your bathroom sink. Set a bucket under the u-shaped attachment and twist the compression nuts that keep this part of the drain in place. Tip the trap over to dump its content in the bucket and rinse it out as well. Unless you see large clumps of hair and other debris releasing from the trap, your roof vent is likely clogged.
Unclog the Vent
If your drainage investigation indicates that your roof vent is likely clogged, then you can usually force the leaves, branches, and dirt through the vent and into your main drainage system with the use of your water hose. You will need to attach a sprayer to your hose to make sure that water pressure is high. You will also need a ladder to get on your roof and a screwdriver to remove the attachments from the vent cover.
Use your ladder to reach your roof and then use your screwdriver to remove the attachment from the vent cover. Remove the cover and any debris you see at the very top of the vent. Place the spray nozzle at the top of the vent and spray water downward. Keep a continuous spray for about five minutes. This will allow you to see if the water completely fills the vent pipe due to a hard and congested clog.
If water does not build, then the spray has likely released the clog. Replace the vent cover and test your drains. If water starts to pour out the top of the vent, then it is time to call a professional plumber. The plumber will be able to use a snake device to either either grab the clog and pull it out or force it downward.