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Emergency Vent-Stack Repair: Why You Should Never Do It Yourself

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Some plumbing jobs have easy fixes, such as when you have a small toilet clog or a poorly draining sink. All you need is a plunger and a little patience to do the job. But when it comes to big emergencies, such as a rooftop vent clog, it's safer to call Coastal Plumbing, Inc. for assistance than to take care of things yourself.
You have one main vent-stack pipe on your roof. The stack generally sits between the bathroom and the kitchen. The pipe allows toxic sewer fumes to vacate your plumbing system and permits fresh air to circulate back into it. Bird nests, animal carcasses, and even muddy leaves can penetrate the pipe's cover and block the flow of air in and out of it.
Here's why you should never unclog a main vent-stack pipe yourself and what you can do instead.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

If you climb your roof to "unplug" the pipe, you could accidentally slip and fall, or you could injure your hand or another body part. You may even lose your life. Statistics reveal that over 90,000 individuals a year seek emergency medical care due to ladder-related injuries. Many of these injuries occur from using the wrong climbing technique or ladder.
If you do successfully ascend your ladder and climb onto your roof, you may still face danger during the repairs. The main vent-stack pipe may sit on an incline on your roof. Losing your footing on the incline may cause you to slip off the roof.
If you do climb your ladder safely, you may still face some issues with the vent stack and any pipes connected to it. The stack should have a perforated or trapped cover over it that keeps debris out. But if the cover is sealed or screwed in place, you'll have to remove it. If you don't use the right tools or technique, you could break the cover.
In addition, some DIY sites recommend using a water hose to flush out vent-stack clogs. Although it's possible for a water hose to do the job, water may overflow out of the soil stack and other areas of the plumbing if you don't remove the clog. This type of DIY method may also require you to complete a complex number of steps, and going through them can be time consuming and frustrating.

What Can You Do Instead?

Instead of putting your life and plumbing at risk, contact a professional plumber. A plumber will generally assess the vent's location before they perform any work. If necessary, a professional will employ harnesses and equipment to reach the vent without compromising their safety or the safety of the home's occupants.
In addition, a plumber will examine the stack pipe and clean it out with an auger (snake). If the clog sits deep within the pipe, it might take some manpower and force to remove it. You might hear the water flow freely through your plumbing pipes as the clog breaks up.
Finally, a contractor can examine the pipe to see if it requires a replacement or a new cover. Sometimes, pipes and covers wear down from water, rust, damage, or other factors. The items may simply be too old to function properly. Replacing a bad vent stack or its cover can help you avoid issues in the future.
To keep your main vent stack free of clogs between inspections, regularly have your roof professionally cleaned. Also, inspect your roof for excess debris after storms. Small particles of dirt can travel inside the stack and block it.
When big emergency plumbing problems occur in your home, don't hesitate to contact Coastal Plumbing Inc. for services. Safety should always come first, even when the job seems easy.