4 Tips To Keep Your Plumbing Vents Free Of Frost

Construction & Contractors Blog

Freezing temperatures aren't good for your plumbing system. A frozen vent pipe, for example, will block exhaust gases from escaping the house, and these gases will be forced to come back and contaminate your house. Clearing a frozen vent isn't an easy job for a DIY homeowner, but there are measures you can take to prevent the occurrence.

Clear the Snow

Keeping your roof clear of snow as well as other forms of debris (such as leaves) is the first step to keeping the vent frost free. These things can block the vent's stack, induce freezing and hinder its operation. Even a little debris on the vent is bad, because the particles act as nucleolus around which the escaping moisture freezes.

Insulate the Attic Vent Pipe

The cooler the air in the vent, the higher the likelihood that it will hit freezing point by the time it is about to escape from the roof top. Therefore, anything that keeps this air warm helps to prevent freezing. A good way of doing this is to insulate the vent pipe. This is as easy as wrapping foil-back insulation around the pipe or using  thermostatically controlled heat tape. The latter is a heating element with a thermostat that senses when the temperature is dangerously low and switches on a heating element.

Keep the Attic Heated

As hinted above, anything that keeps the pipe (and its contents) warm helps, and one of the most direct ways of doing this is heating the attic. This is because your HVAC ensures that your conventional rooms are properly heated, but the attic space is where most heating problems originate. There are several options for this; for example, if the attic is very cold, you can use a heat register vent, plug all the heat escape routes or even use portable space heaters.

Use Warm Water

The temperature of the moisture escaping through the vents may not drop low enough for it to freeze if it is a bit warm to start with. Therefore, using warm water in the house helps because it ensures that the humid air is a bit warm as it rises.

If the vent is already blocked and frozen, then one way to clear it is to climb the roof and pour hot water down the vent. As you can imagine, that would be a risky job, especially since the roof is likely to be wet or frozen, and you can easily fall. Considering all these, it is prudent to let a professional emergency plumber handle the issue. For more information, speak with experts like Gopher Plumbing Supply.


31 March 2015

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