When you go outside, do you notice a foul odor in your yard? Maybe you don’t have a dog, so the odor problems must be something else. Those offensive odors may be coming from your plumbing vent, or sewer vent/vent stack, which is a vent pipe for your septic system or plumbing system, to help divert wastewater and septic tank odors.
Plumbing vents are important; these plumbing vent stacks and plumbing vent pipes (often PVC pipe, but can be other materials) allow sewer gases to slowly escape from the septic system of a home, so these sewer gases from solids and liquids, hydrogen sulfide, or other septic/unpleasant odors can vent up through your septic vent pipe; allowing those sewer gas odors to be released into the atmosphere and taken away by the wind currents. This process ensures that a home’s pipes aren’t under too much pressure – the effects of a clogged plumbing vent which can cause a lot of issues as well
If you notice that there is a vent pipe odor coming from your vent system that seems more unpleasant than usual, then it can make ordinary tasks, such as gardening, relaxing on the porch, or entertaining guests outside unfathomable.
Since the plumbing vent connects to the plumbing system in the home, the way you reduce the odor is by addressing it at the source, and that’s inside your home, versus simply adding vent stack filters to stop septic odor (however, sometimes this is part of the solution, along with other reducers for tank vents and gas smell odor control)
Causes of Plumbing Vent Odors:
- Do you have any clogged drains inside your house? You get odors in plumbing from what’s inside the pipes, so if you have a clog, the sludge inside the pipe can be causing the foul odor. It doesn’t have to be human waste, it can come from hair, soap, skin cells, body washes and other stuff that makes its way into the drain.
- If you see a clog, for example a hair clog, clear out the drain with your hands if possible. Remove the cover, put on a pair of gloves and pull the clog out.
- If the clog is too far for you to reach, use a drain auger, also known as a “snake.” You put this down the pipe to get to areas that are out of reach. If you don’t know how to use these devices, an experienced plumber can do it for you.
- If you don’t have any clogs inside the home, you can check the vent to see if it’s blocked. Since the vents are on the roof, you need to be careful when you climb up to take a peak. Get a friend or your spouse to hold the ladder while you climb.
When you look in the vent, make sure the flap can open, and make sure there isn’t anything like leaves or a bird’s nest in the pipe. If you spot any debris, pull it out.
Plumbing Vent Odor Control Tips
- Clogs – ensure that all of the lines, clean outs, and other lines going to your holding tank or mainline are free of debris concentrations, and that all drain pipes are clear
- Airflow – ensure that your plumbing vent system is functioning correctly and that the proper amount of airflow and pressure are present. If you hear gurgling when trying to run faucets or flushing toilets, then this may be an issue
- Septic Tank/Holding Tank Issues – check and make sure that you have the right amount and kind of bacteria in your holding tanks, by not using chemicals whenever possible, like Draino, and to keep your drain field from having offensive odors.
- Add a vent stack filter – these odor filters with activated carbon vent filters can help control the unpleasant odors and sewer gas smells. These vent pipe filters can help, but attacking your roof vent and the odor issues should start within the drain lines, and septic system/holding tanks
If you’re a homeowner and not a DIY-type person, or if you simply want a professional to take care of it, contact A-1 Sewer & Septic Service Inc. to schedule a service call with one of our Kansas City plumbers!