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Articles About Roofing

What are those pipes sticking out of your roof?

Plumbing vent pipes are an important part of your plumbing system. They are responsible for safely carrying sewer gases out of your home or building. This is to keep the gases from becoming trapped or backed up and potentially causing you to become sick.

Except for floor drains, just about all plumbing fixtures need a vent. The plumbing venting helps to create neutral or equalized air pressure throughout the waste pipe system. Pipe vents provide air a way into waste pipes to prevent siphoning of plumbing traps. The vents also allow gases to safely escape through the roof. Without the venting, the sewage gas would leak through the water in the plumbing trap. This would cause bad odors in the building, and potentially cause some people to become sick.

Why do these vents go through the roof and not out of a wall or underground? The vents must be above the plumbing fixtures, otherwise they would fill with water, so underground wouldn’t work. Having the vents go through the wall would probably work, provided they were above the fixture, but the gases that escape the vent stink. It wouldn’t be good to have the smell come in through a window, door, or anything like that. So the vents penetrate through the roof. This allows the sewage gases to escape without stinking up the building, while simultaneously keeping the vent pipes from filling with water.

There are pipe boots installed on plumbing vent pipes that penetrate through roofs. This is true whether the roof is sloped or flat, but the type of pipe boot depends on the type of roof. No matter the type, is a pipe boot becomes weathered or damaged, a roof leak can occur. There is also the possibility that the vent pipe can become clogged by leaves, debris, animals, ice, or snow, allowing for the possibility of gases and odors to enter your building.

The best way to be sure your pipe vents are clear and pipe boots are functional is to have them inspected regularly, by either an experienced roofer, or by looking yourself. Call Pro Systems, Inc. at (757)506-5019 or email us here if you notice your pipe boots are damaged, have a roof leak, or just want your roof inspected.

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