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How Do I Unclog the Vent Pipe on My Roof?

If your vent pipe is clogged, you’ll need to climb onto your roof to unclog it. If you can see debris inside the pipe, you can retrieve it using a plumber’s snake. If you cannot see debris in the pipe, then you can often blow the clog out with water, but prepare to call in a pro if that’s ineffective.

Cracking the Case of the Clog

Before you get to unclogging, first to consider what might be the source of the clog. Many things can get lodged in the vent pipe on your roof, including:

  • Leaves, branches, trash, and other forms of foliage or debris

  • Bird nests

  • Animal caracasses

  • Tennis or baseballs and other small outdoor objects

When one of these gets caught in your vent pipe, you can expect to notice:

  • Slow drains in your home

  • A sewage odor

  • Water bubbling or gurgling when it exits your drains

Unclogging Your Roof Vent Pipe

If you suspect you’ve got something lodged in your vent pipe, there are a couple of things you can do to unclog it.

Begin by climbing onto your roof carefully, using a ladder (and a spotter). Take care here: this is a risky move, and you should take every precaution you can to make sure the ladder is stable and you’re got a strong foothold before continuing further onto the roof.

Snake It Out

Using a flashlight, take a good look down your vent pipe. If you can see something lodged inside it, and it seems within reaching distance, go ahead and pull it out. If you can see it, but can’t quite reach it, fish it out using a plumber’s snake.

Blast Off

If you can’t see anything lodged in your pipe, then it may be too deep inside for you to pull it out. Run your garden hose into your vent pipe, and let someone on the ground know to turn on the water. Make sure to listen closely for the sound of the water pushing the clog out of the pipe, then remove the hose.

Bring in the Pros

If these procedures don’t do the trick, or if you’re not up for the risk maneuver yourself, it’s time to bring in a professional! Contact your local plumber to have your vent pipe inspected and unclogged.

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