Sewage Pipe Vent

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    • #279304

      We recently had a sewage backup into our house in the basement. When we called someone to come and take care of the clog, he had to snake it from the inside trap instead of the outside vent. It turns out that we could not find the vent from the outside of the house because it has been sided over. I contacted the builder and he told me how to find the vent. Who would I call to have this done….contractor, plumber, etc. What would be the cost of something like this. From my understanding, this should have never happened inside the house as that is the function of the vent. I want to prevent this from happening again so any information you have would be helpful. Thanks.

    • #300485

      While some vents run up the outside walls of the house, all off them should go above the roof line. If the vent is “sided-over” but is still open at its end above the roof line, it should work fine. Did you check up on the roof? If some contractor (and roofers are the main culprits) actually covered up a vent, contact the culprit (if he’s still in business) and tell him to fix it. If it was licensed work (i.e. if he has a contractor’s license), he is obligated to fix it. I am amazed that roofing contractors (who are licensed in my locale) hardly ever have to get their work signed off by an on-site inspector.


    • #300486

      Thank you for responding to my question. I did contact the builder and he told me the approximate location of the vent. He said to follow the pipe up from the basement to the point where it goes to the outside of the house and drill a hole right next to it until it goes through to the outside, then go outside locate the hole made by the drill and cut the siding accordingly and place a vent cap/plate over the cut. The back up was due to a clog in our main waste pipe located in our basement and the sewage backed up from the trap cap instead of the vent where is should have backed up from, but since that is sided over, it backed up into the house instead. The builder is no longer responsible to fix this type of work as the Statute of Limitations on this is up. The house is almost 7 years old.

    • #300487


      Sorry to hear about the Statute of Limitations…Even if the contractor is no longer legally answerable, it would have been nice if he behaved in a more ethically responsible way (e.g. by offering to fix his mistake at no cost to you).

      BTW, the fact that the sewerage backed up into your house drains has nothing to do with the vent. Drain, Waste, and Vent pipes work by gravity and the vents are open to the atmosphere. The vents always project to higher levels than any of the plumbing fixtures in the house. So even with a perfectly normal and open roof vent, water backing up from the sewer would come up from your toilets and sink drains before it surged out onto your roof. The problem created by your contractor’s blocking the vent was that your drains would drain sluggishly and your traps could be siphoned out, allowing dangerous sewer gasses to enter the living spaces of your house.


      » This message has been edited by nicktheplumber on 26 August 2003

    • #300488

      The sewage did not back up into my drains, sinks, or toilets. It came up from the trap itself (where the elbow/cap is) which is located in my basement. Everyone is telling me this should not have happened and if the vent was exposed outside, the sewage would have come out of there instead of inside this house. Is this correct?

    • #300489

      What I said about sewerage backups and the vents/traps/fixtures is correct. Lets say that your sewer line outside the house gets clogged (or the municipal sewer backs up into your building sewer and house drain). That sewerage will back up into you house drains, even to the point of ascending into the vent stack and pouring out of the top of that. However, before that occurs, the sewerage will back up into the fixture traps in your house. The lowest is usually a basement floor drain. It will then ascend further in your drain pipes and start coming out of the drains in your sinks, showers, tubs, and toilets. Finally, it may start to emerge from your plumbing vents.

      I’m at a loss to explain why sewerage should have been coming out of your “trap itself” in the basement (unless you mean a floor drain there). The trap should be watertight…it shouldn’t leak at all. If it did, maybe your contractor installed that incorrectly as well…


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