Something smells in my home, Drainage & Venting

So you have an odor in your home and its not the garbage that needs taken out. At times it smells like rotten eggs or worse. It could be an open drainage system drain or vent somewhere in your home. It could be in the walls, ceiling, or worse below grade in your basement.

So with respect to vents what exactly are drainage vents for your plumbing system? They are an integral part of your plumbing as they maintain atmospheric pressure within your drainage pipes so as to allow for proper drainage. They are pipes that allow air to move freely throughout your plumbing drainage system I'm sure everyone is familiar with placing a straw in your drink, put your finger on the end of the straw and lifting the straw out of your glass. The result is the straw is full of liquid until you release your finger and voila the liquid drops out of the bottom of the straw. This is a brief way of explaining the importance of proper venting for your drainage system.

As per Ontario Provincial Building Code every fixture such as a toilet, sink, and even floor drains are required to be “vented”. A “Cheater Vent” device can be used but is not legal and typically turns into a problem such as the foul odor of sewage in your home when it fails.

It's a good idea to have the venting installed properly and within the applicable plumbing code law so as to prevent this rather smelly problem from arising later on. It can be a lengthy process locating an open drain or vent within a home. The drain repair or vent repair required can be located by smoke testing. This is one method that can work well if properly executed.

This method basically involves sending smoke in to your plumbing system which will also enter any vent piping. The result from this test will show the smoke exiting any open or broken piping within your home. Typically the smoke should only exit through the “stack Vent “which is the 3” pipe protruding through the roof of your home.

It's best to have a properly licensed and insured Toronto plumber to perform this as there is significant knowledge and skill required to have it done properly.