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The Essential Guide to Plumbing Vents: Why Every Home Needs One

How our home smells is a a part of us. After the visuals, it is the sense of smell that defines you. Imagine you have a beautiful house, the house of your dreams, but there is a lingering stench. That would be an unpleasant experience for both you and the people you invite. 

For this reason, it is essential you know the basics of plumbing vent. Plumbing vent will help you balance the air in the drainage system so that your home smells like home and not the sewage.

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What is a plumbing vent?

A plumbing vent is a part of the plumbing system that allows air to escape so that the air pressure in your plumbing is regulated. This is because even if no liquid or a solid is blocking the drains, air pressure can also cause disturbances in the system. Plumbing Vent is not a choice, it’s the law and must be had in the house to pass the inspection and permit according to the National Plumbing Code of Canada.

A plumbing vent is a vent or pipe that passes through the house plumbing to the roof of the building. A proper vent ensures you don’t have to call for help occasionally.

What is the purpose of a plumbing vent?

  • Allow sewer gases to escape your home
    The plumbing vent allows the sewer gas out of the house using the vent that faces the roof. It allows the plumbing system to breathe. When the water is flushed, the waste is sent downward and the air goes upward from the plumbing vent.
    This is what is preventing your house from smelling like sewage and not just the air freshener. 
  • Equalizes air pressure in your drainage system
    A plumbing vent also allows you to regulate the air pressure in your plumbing system. When the water is being drained, the flow would not be smooth if it weren’t for the plumbing vent.
    When you flush your toilet, the air pressure that forms is helped by the plumbing vents so that the flow is smooth.
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What are the types of plumbing vents?

  • True vents
    Tru vents are simple vents. It is a simple fixture that has one vent. It regulates airflow from the intersection of two pipes containing drain traps. It vents two or more traps with a single pipe.
  • Common vents
    Common vents are vents at the intersection of two pipes containing drain traps. It is applicable for two plumbing fixtures like back-to-back bathtubs, sinks, etc.
  • Auxillary vents
    Auxilliary vents are connected directly to the plumbing fixture which requires ventilation or they connect to the horizontal drain line. It is also called a revent pipe because it is attached to many drain pipes which leads to the main exhaust.


What are the types of plumbing vent systems?

  • Circuit vents
    A circuit vent is used on a single floor. How it works is that it is connected to a horizontal drain pipe and can vent up to 8 different traps which are then connected to a battery. The circuit requires a 2-inch vent relief. It circulates the air between drainage and vent systems that can act as an auxiliary vent on an especially designed system.
  • Chicago loops
    Chicago Loop is an alternative venting method where the vent trap is installed under the counter or a sink. These vents are suitable for areas where vents are not easy to be made.
    Chicago loop vent, which is also known as the ‘Bow vent’ is designed to circulate the air throughout your house. It is a little different from the conventional straight vent systems but it gets the job done.
  • Air admittance valve
    The air admittance valve helps release trapped air and waste gases while the piping system is operating using a hydromechanical device. It helps maintain the air pressure in your house.
    AAV allows flexibility when it comes to planning the layout of the system. It helps to balance the pressure within the waste pipe. These pipes can last you about 20-30 years.

What common issues of a plumbing vent?

  • Animals getting stuck or building a nest
    It may not seem like it, but animals can also get stuck in the plumbing vents which can clog the vents. Animals are little explorers and can unfortunately get stuck in the vent. Birds can also find the vents cosy which will clog the vents.
  • Clogging from toilet paper, hair & foreign particle
    Toilet paper and hair do not directly clog the plumbing vents. This debris can restrict water flow and form blockages. This affects the plumbing system including the plumbing vents.

What are the signs that your plumbing vent is blocked?

  • The lingering smell of sewage in your house
    If there is a mell of sewage in your home, even after no one has used the bathroom in a while, this is a tale-tell sign that your plumbing vent is blocked.
  • Gurgling sound when you flush your toilet
    If you think your plumbing vent is blocked, try pouring water or flushing the toilet. If you hear a gurgling sound, it could be a sign that your plumbing vent is blocked. Water takes longer to melt.

What is the purpose of a p-trap?

P-trap is the plumbing fixture which is a curved section of the pipe. It resembles a ‘P’ from the side. It acts as a reservoir by making the flushing and draining. P-traps also prevent insects and animals from crawling up and entering your personal space. 

P-trap holds water, this prevents odor from coming to your home. You just need to make sure that it is always full of water so that an unwanted smell does not linger in your home.


How to unblock a blocked plumbing vent?

  • Check your ventilation from time to time
    Your plumbing vent will need to be maintained from time to time. To prevent blockages, make sure you check your vents. Sometimes uninvited guests may be stuck in it and need your assistance.
    Sometimes some birds can build their nest and may be causing disturbances in the airflow.
  • Call your plumber for help
    If your home smells and you think it is your plumbing vents, you can call your plumber or someone who specializes in plumbing like Everest plumbing of Toronto. They will be well-equipped to understand what the problem is and will know exactly what to do. For further assistance, you can also reach out via info@everestplumbing,  or call us at 416-383-7378, or request a quote via online.

You must understand what a plumbing vent is and how it works. This is because it would help you when you smell the familiar stench of sewage. You won’t have to wonder if it’s the outdoors or if you have not flushed your toilet right. 

There are several benefits of plumbing vents so, make sure you hire someone who knows what he’s doing to ensure you have a durable installation that will take the stink away from your beautiful home.

Why are plumbing vents needed?

Plumbing vents are needed to maintain the air pressure in your home’s plumbing

Where are plumbing vents required?

Plumbing vents are required in toilets, bathrooms, and kitchen sinks.

What happens when plumbing is not vented?

If your plumbing is not vented, toxic sewer gases will seep into your home and leave an unpleasant smell.

What is a common vent in plumbing?

The common vent is a vent that connects two drains and acts as a vent for both fixtures.

What does a plumbing pipe look like?

A plumbing vent is a vertical pipe running through the roof.

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