blocked plumbing vent - need advice

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Hi,
We have a clogged kitchen air vent. I have climbed up onto the roof and tried to clear it myself using a hand held snake and one of those hose balloons, but no luck. If you pour water down the vent then it backs up completely and drains extremely slowly (takes a few hours to drain). We had a plumbing company come out today with a power auger, and they couldn't get through either. The blockage is only about 3 or 4 feet down the vent pipe. The plumber today also tried to break through the blockage with a copper pipe, but that didn't help either. They suggest that the only thing we can do is cut out the pipe from the attic and this will cost approximately $600.
I was hoping someone on this group might have some other suggestions aout what I could try before I move on to the option of cutting out the pipe. Maybe I could pour a chemical down there, let it sit over night, and then try to snake it again in the morning? Will it eat through the pipe if I leave it that long?
Any suggestions?
Thanks.
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wanna sandwich wrote:

You'd better know what the clog is made of before using chemicals to dissolve it. Some plumbing companies have cameras that they can shove down pipes to see what is going on. It might be worth it.
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What type of pipe is it? If it is cast iron, it can be difficult to work with. If it is PVC, it is very easy to work with.
Considering the depth of the clog, have you been able to bring up a piece of whatever it is on the auger? It could be a lost squirrel that got stuck, or a bird. They would eventually decay. Chemicals can have nasty side effects, depending on the material. A strong caustic may work. If it works, you are in luck, if it does not work, then you have chemicals to deal with.
If the vent is PVC, I'd consider cutting it out. It can be a diy job.
From the roof, put a stick or a weight on a string down the hole and mark the depth. If it is say, 36", just measure the protruding part and you know how far down the clog is on the inside. Now, crawl into the hot attic and mark the pipe. Before you cut anything, go to the store and buy two couplings the same size as the pipe, and the proper adhesive for them.
Back to the attic with a saw in hand. Cut a couple of inches above the clog, then a foot or so below. Remove the pipe section, remove the clog, then re-assemble. You'll have to cut the section a little smaller so it can be slid in place using hte connector. Total cost should be less than $20. .
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After the last post, I had another thought. Get a large drill bit and make a very long extension. You can weld the bit onto a steel rod. Chuck it up and drill through for a start. That may loosen things enough for an auger. Even a long dowel with a point may do the job and it will not flex like an auger. Lots of ways to make a bit from a piece of 1/2" OD tubing or rod.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

You can buy 4" long auger bits in the electrical department. The auger bit might get a good grip when drilled partway in to allow the obstruction to be pulled out.
If the vent is PVC or ABS or even copper it is indeed an easy DIY job. Only cast iron would be a pain and even then it just needs a sawzall.
Pete C.
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I have a 4-5 foot drill bit for electrician work, get one, drill a bunch of holes and try to force it down.
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m Ransley wrote:

Bad idea! Try to pull it up, nor force it down. Forcing it down just makes a bigger problem as if you get it past any of the inlets it will catch everything going by and clog up in a day. If it's up near the top of the vent and you are unable to pull it up then cutting it out in the attic is relatively easy.
Pete C.
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If it's 3 to 4 feet down, couldn't you peep in and see what's in there? Hard to imagine what it is that even a plumber could not clear. Try sticking a high pressure washer wand into the pipe. Unless it is a rock, this should eventually clear the obstacle. If it is a rock, you don't want to push it deeper into the pipe.
What kind of pipe is it? If it's PVC (black plastic like), you can buy a long one (10 feet?) from hardware store for less than $20. Then buy a rubber "sleeve" with hose clamp on both ends for $5. Then add a net or some sort of filter on the top to prevent large object from falling in. This is probably the cheapest and safest solution.
When you find out what's blocking the pipe, please post.
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Whatever it is, if it's located in a section of pipe accessible from an attic, you don't want to push it down the stack to a point where you have to tear out a wall to get at it.
Michael Thomas Paragon home Inspection. LLC Chicago, IL mdtATpargoninspectsDOTcom 847-47-5668
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On Wed, 19 Jul 2006 17:49:23 GMT, "wanna sandwich"

Can you see the clog? Can you tell or guess what it is made of?
I don't know how big the augure was, but how about a quarter inch or so drill? You can buy long drills and you can buy one foot extensions, especially for 1/4 inch bits,
or a spade bit on a series of three extensions. Tighten them well so they don't fall in. :) But you can probably get them out with a magnet if they do.
and you can get 3 and 6 foot bits at home depot. The 6 foot one's are flexible but i don't think the 3 foot could be very flexble. Drill a few holes and maybe that will be enough to to make the drain work right. Maybe you can enlarge them later, or use some corkscrew type thing to grab the clog and pull it up. Or a toggle arrangement on a string to lower a weight through the hole that you can somehow use to pulll the clog up with, .

Maybe it wasn't pointed enough.

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On Wed, 19 Jul 2006 17:49:23 GMT, "wanna sandwich"

Before you get too aggressive make sure there isn't a dogleg in the pipe.
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Much as he says it is blocked, could be a whole puppy in there.
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wanna sandwich wrote:

Make sure the vent doesn't have a bend in the attic where the blockage is. If it doesn't get the long drill bit in the electrical department of the Borg and try drilling through and pulling it out. You have to post what it is when you get it out. My money is its a baseball.
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Why $600 to cut off a pipe and drop in a new one if you have attic access? Should take about 15 minutes.
--
Steve Barker


"wanna sandwich" < snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com> wrote in message
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Steve Barker LT wrote:

I was just thinking the same thing especially if it is PVC. Even if it is cast iron $600 sounds like a lot unless there is little or no access. If it is PVC the OP could fix it themself for $20 as has already been said. Even if it is cast iron a fairly handy person could rent a pipe splitter and attach a piece of PVC to the unclogged portion with a Fernco. Changing from cast to PVC going through the roof would just require a new rubber boot.
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Thanks to everyone for their replies. I'm still undecided about what to do. I'm pretty sure that I will want to pull it up, not push it down and I won't use chemicals.
I don't know if it's PVC or or not. Probably not. Our home was built in 1949 and it looks like the original vent.
I'm also not sure if the blockage is above or below the attic. Hopefully above, but I'll have to do take some proper measurements.
I really need some kind of sharp barbed spike thing that I can push down there through the blockage and then the barbs would catch and I will pull it up. Maybe a harpoon! just kidding, but something along those lines sounds like what I need.
I will post back when I have had a chance to investigate further. Probably won't be for a few days. I really appreciate all the advice!
Darren

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wanna sandwich wrote:

Hi, Can you tell what is blocking the vent? Like solid object or birds nest or? I had such an incident and I made sort of a spear tying a razor sharp pointed knife securely at the end of fiberglass paint roller brush handle(telescopic type). Then I started poking and jabbing at it until little by little they broke loose. Took some time but persistence paid off. Good luck.
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If it's a hard object like a rock or golf ball then poking it is just going to make it go down further.
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Someone mentioned a ball. Take a long rod or dowel and put a long screw on the end. See if you can drive the screw into it and pull it up.
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wrote in message

This is a really interesting idea! I think that could work. Thanks. I will definitely find out what it is before I attempt this though. I'm going to call around and get quotes on "video line inspection".
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