Prevent Frozen Plumbing Vent Pipes At Your Chicago Home
As crazy as it sounds, homeowners on the Northwest Side of Chicago have to worry about their vent pipes freezing up during extremely cold winter spells. At Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer – Chicago’s highest rated residential service plumber, we get calls all winter long about frozen vent pipes – especially in three flats and multi-unit buildings. This is due to many of those structures having vent pipes located on the flat roof. That’s where snow and ice accumulate and that’s bad news.
As a Chicago homeowner, you’re already accustomed to taking extra precautions to protect your home as the winter approaches. Think of protecting your plumbing vent pipes as just another step in that winterizing process and your plumbing pipe vents will never be caught out in the cold weather. Call the plumbers from Vanguard at (773) 633-6139 for help getting prepped at a great price!
What Exactly Are Plumbing Vent Pipes In The First Place?
Your Northwest Side home’s plumbing system is filled with noxious sewer gases. These gases can’t be forced out with the waste water completely so your home’s plumbing system needs a secondary way to expel them. That’s where pipe vents come into play. They transport the sewer gases outside your home and into the fresh air where they disperse harmlessly – well, aside from odors that no one enjoys.
Because the system is dealing with gases, many flat-roofed structures place the sewer pipe vents atop the roofing to allow the exchange of gases into the environment. This makes sense from a design perspective but it can create a real problem for the pipe vents themselves during harsh Chicago winters. After all, they’re stuck up on a rooftop where snow tends to accumulate.
How Does A Chicago Plumbing Vent Pipe Freeze Over?
As described above, it’s usually snowfall and ice accumulation that endangers a plumbing pipe vent – whether it’s up on your Chicago roofing or on an exterior wall of your home. If the opening becomes clogged by snow and ice then the gases will not be able to escape successfully and may back up into your home. This can also happen when sewer gas contains water vapor which freezes in very cold temperatures inside the pipe itself. Sewer gases can cause headaches, dizziness and nausea so it’s a hazard you want to avoid at all costs.
Sewer lines can also become frozen in extremely cold temperatures so you want to avoid this too. This can lead to even bigger problems for you – like wastewater backing up through your toilets and drains. If you think your sewer pipe may be frozen then you should call Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer immediately for sewer line service or a video plumbing inspection.
What You Can Do To Keep Your Plumbing Vent Pipes Safe
At Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer, we’re asked all the time what homeowners can do to help prepare their home for a rough winter to come. Safeguarding pipe vents is one of the things we touch on because it’s an important step in protecting your Chicago plumbing system from below zero temps. We’ve outlined four things you can do this fall to get your home’s pipe vents ready, as well as your sewer line safe. They include:
- Rooftop Snow Removal: If you live in a flat-roofed structure then your home’s plumbing pipe vents are probably located up on the roof – especially the sewer gas vent. This means that you’ll need to engage in regular rooftop snow removal to keep your rooftop pipe vents free of ice and snow. As we’ve mentioned before, that’s the 31 way you’ll end up with a blockage and that’s to be avoided. If your home has pitched roof the pipe vent may be up there or on an exterior wall. In any case, ensure it’s completely free of snow and ice all winter long.
- Regularly Test Drains: If you have any taps in your home on Chicago’s Northwest Side that see infrequent use make a habit of checking them daily and running warm water in them. This will push warm water down the drain and heat up the pipes. That should help them stay out of the sub-zero temperatures that can lead to disaster. It only takes a moment to do this and it might save you a ton of money this winter!
- Heat Attic Spaces: If you have a pitched residential roof with an attic then your pipe vent stack probably runs through there. Without heat those pipes can freeze over in below zero temps so it’s important to protect them from whatever the elements send your way. The best way to do this is by extending your home’s heating into the attic space. This is relatively inexpensive and will help you keep your attic plumbing pipe vent stack safe from the cold.
- Insulate Pipe Vents: When you have pipes in your attic or basement, or anywhere they can be exposed to the frigid temperatures common to Chicago winters then you should protect them with insulation designed for plumbing pipes. The best of these insulations come with foil-backing and are rated to arctic cold snaps. Best of all, pipe insultation is a low-cost option that should last for years and years.
Get Professional Help Protecting Your Plumbing Pipe Vents!
When you’re ready to start thinking seriously about protecting your home on Chicago’s Northwest Side from the damages the winter can bring just reach out to the licensed, insured and highly experienced residential service plumbers from Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer for immediate answers and honest recommendations – not to mention world-class service. Call (773) 633-6139 to get an estimate for whatever Northwest Side plumbing service you need!