Plumbing Vents, Frozen, Heat Tape, Ice, Maintenance, Pipe Insulation, Prevention, Roof, Thaw, Vent Stack, Vents, Winter

Have you ever thought about all the different exhaust or vent systems in your house? You probably know that the furnace, chimney, dryer vent, and kitchen fan all have their own exhaust or vent system. But have you ever thought about your plumbing vents? It’s actually a pretty important part of your plumbing system that serves a crucial function. Plumbing might seem like a mystery to most folks unless you’re a professional. But don’t worry, that’s where your friendly Gahanna Plumbing & Drain team comes in! We’re here to give you useful tips and help you keep an eye on your plumbing vents and vent stack during the winter season. 

Know the Role of Your Plumbing Vents and the Vent Stack:    

Most homes have a single-vent stack on the roof. These vent stacks are like the “end piece” of the plumbing vent system, connecting all the drain lines in the house – sinks, toilets, tubs, you name it. Some houses may even have multiple vent stacks on their roofs. Additionally, vent stacks are usually made of materials like cast iron, steel, galvanized steel, PVC, or CPVC.  

Plumbing vents and the vent stack have an important job in getting rid of those unpleasant sewer gases from the plumbing system. They exit your home by way of the plumbing vents to the vent stack, which is placed on your roof. Though they might not be in the spotlight, they’re like the unsung heroes of your plumbing system. Not only do they control the plumbing odor and gas buildup in your home, but they also balance air pressure, stop backflow, prevent siphoning, and overall, just keep everything running smoothly. So, what happens to that vent stack in the winter in cold regions when snowfall hits hard, and things start to ice up? Well, when a vent stack gets frozen and blocked with ice buildup, the plumbing vent system can no longer perform its intended function properly, leading to all sorts of plumbing problems. So, check out some tips with us to prevent this plumbing catastrophe from happening. 

Know How to Identify a Frozen Vent Stack:    

You can visually inspect a vent stack from the ground looking up. What you are looking for is ice buildup on top of the vent stack. Should you find any, it could indicate a frozen stack. Slow flushing toilets or gurgling sounds from the toilet can also be signs of a frozen vent stack. 

Know How to Prevent a Vent Stack from Freezing:    

  1. Pipe insulation – it’s a simple yet effective tool. If you have access to a portion of the vent stack from your attic, you can use pipe insulation in this area to aid in preventing ice buildup. 
  1. If this is an issue you have experienced more than once, heat tape is another great option. Utilize heat tape on the piece of the vent stack you have access to in the attic. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safety reasons. 
  1. You can put an insulated cap on your vent stack. 
  1. You can pour warm water down infrequently used drains, especially floor drains, and let hot water run from faucets. This ensures that the traps remain full and can help prevent freezing. 
  1. If your vent stack is already frozen, open the attic door to allow warm air in from the lower level of your house. This can help with thawing your frozen vent stack faster. Just be aware that this may temporarily raise your heating expenses. 
  1. Loose outdoor debris, such as leaves and twigs, should never be left to accumulate on and around the vent stack. When mixed with winter weather, loose debris can create an even bigger and more stubborn ice blockage. However, always prioritize safety! Unless you’re a professional, it’s best to avoid climbing onto your roof. 

To prevent your plumbing vent stack from freezing this winter and ensure smooth operation of your plumbing system this season, follow these tips. In addition, don’t forget that performing regular maintenance and taking preventive measures always helps keep your plumbing system in tip-top shape. 

If you are encountering any problems with plumbing vent stacks or have other plumbing concerns, don’t hesitate to contact Gahanna Plumbing & Drain. We’re here to assist you! Call us today at (614) 245-2256, or schedule an appointment online now by clicking here! We wish you a safe and trouble-free winter!