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Frozen Sewer Vents Are Bad News

Frozen Sewer Vents Are Bad News

Freezing winter temperatures create the perfect environment to cause sewer vent pipes on your home’s roof to ice over. The good news is that you can take steps now to prevent your sewer vents from freezing this winter.

Before cold weather hits the Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin areas, call us at Feltner’s Sewer & Drain to insulate and extend your sewer vent pipes so they don’t get covered with snow or even freeze shut during a winter chill.

What Are Sewer Vents?

Sewer vents are one of the components most homeowners never think about, let alone understand. So let’s break down why they’re essential.

All plumbing fixtures, with the potential exception of floor drains, require a plumbing vent, so your home’s sewer system may have multiple sewer vent pipes. Have you ever noticed pipes sticking up from your roof? Those are your sewer vents.

Basically, the purpose of these vents is to keep sewer gases from staying in your home. Knowing that, you may be getting an idea of why winter weather can play havoc with your sewer vents.

Freezing Temperatures Put Pipes at Risk

When the mercury drops below zero for an extended period, sewer gas containing water vapor can condense and then freeze inside vent pipes, partially or fully sealing them. Snow on your roof can also block free airflow in your vent pipes.

When the vent pipe becomes blocked, your home’s sewer lines will be unable to drain properly. The first red flag may be the toilet gurgling or failing to flush as water from sewage traps begins restricting existing water and air flow.

Remember, vent pipes help sewer gases exit your house, so when they become blocked due to snow or ice, a health hazard can result. You’ll begin to notice an obvious sewage smell; however, an unpleasant odor is the least of your worries. Sewer gas may also contain more harmful, completely odorless gases that can result in symptoms such as headaches, nausea, or dizziness.

Frozen sewer vents are a more frequent problem in newer homes with plastic or PVC piping because those materials are less effective at conducting heat than the cast-iron pipes found in older homes. In addition, many newer homes have multiple bathrooms and appliances, all of which create more water vapor within the sewer system.

What Should You Do to Prevent Frozen Sewer Vents This Winter?

While the weather is still nice this fall, contact Feltner’s Sewer & Drain to discuss preventive measures to keep your sewer vents safe from Old Man Winter’s icy grip. An insulated sleeve that slides over the outside end of the vent pipe is one simple method available to keep them from freezing over.

These sleeves not only protect the vent pipe, but also extend it further into the air. They’re designed to keep the water vapor and sewer gases above the freezing point until they exit the end of the pipe.

Keep in mind that it’s always better to contact a licensed, bonded, and insured technician to do the pipe insulation work for you. Not only do our technicians have the proper training necessary to do a good job; they also have specialized equipment your toolbox lacks.

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