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?
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Paragon home Inspection. LLC
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, .
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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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