How to Unblock Vents on the Roof

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Things You'll Need

  • Ladder

  • Flashlight

  • Metal rod

  • Plumber's snake (optional)

  • Garden hose

  • Assistant

Drain vents are used in conjunction with sink traps to maintain air pressure in the lines and expel gas out of the house.

A drain vent is a component of a plumbing system that allows waste and sewer gas to escape from pipes and sewer lines. Drain vents are typically installed on the roof of a house. They are used in conjunction with sink traps to maintain the air pressure in the lines and expel the gas to the outside of the house. When a plumbing problem cannot be solved on the inside of the house, it is often an indication that the drain vent has become blocked or clogged. If this occurs, it must be cleared before the system will operate properly.


Step 1

Locate the drain vent on the roof of the house. Place the ladder as close to the vent as possible to allow for easy access to the vent and the transportation of your tools.

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Step 2

Carry the items you need for the job up to the roof. Have your assistant guide the garden hose as you climb up the ladder to help keep it from hanging on the ladder or gutters as you pull it up.

Step 3

Shine the flashlight into the drain vent to locate the blockage.

Step 4

Use a metal rod to dislodge any clogs, such as leaves, bird nests or other material. You may also use a plumber's snake if the clog is farther down inside the vent and cannot be reached with the metal rod.


Step 5

Ask your assistant to turn on the water for the garden hose. Place the hose as close to the clog as possible. The force of the water will dislodge the clog and send the debris into the drainage system, clearing the vent.


Roofs that are wet may become slippery. Do not attempt to walk across the roof if it has rained or moisture is still present.


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