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Thread: Can a broke stack vent cause toiling flushing problems?

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    DIY Junior Member sinistersix's Avatar
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    Default Can a broke stack vent cause toiling flushing problems?

    Noticed that this house we recently bought, the toilet in teh master bath flushes weak and today it made a crazy swishing vortex noise. I went into the attic and saw that one of the stack vents that goes out the roof, had white tape over one of the Y joints. The white tape revealed an area that was straight up missing, it seems the previous owner didnt want to replace the Y with new PVC but instead covered it up with white tape.

    Will this cause a plumbing or flush issue or is the purpose of the stack vent to only push gas out of the house to the roof? I assume tape will do the job if thats the case, but not sure it will keep any type of pressure in the pipe. Please advise

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    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    You should post a picture so we can see what you have. The only open vent should be above the roof deck.

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    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinistersix View Post
    Will this cause a plumbing or flush issue or is the purpose of the stack vent to only push gas out of the house to the roof? I assume tape will do the job if thats the case, but not sure it will keep any type of pressure in the pipe. Please advise
    Think of a straw that is full of water and you have your finger covering the top. Until you remove your finger and allow the straw to vent, the water cannot go anywhere. Having tape around a gap in the stack going up through the roof merely moves the opening from there to the top, and there should never be any significant pressure in that vent line unless something below gasses/fills up and needs to burp.
    "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people." --Eleanor Roosevelt

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    DIY Junior Member sinistersix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leejosepho View Post
    Think of a straw that is full of water and you have your finger covering the top. Until you remove your finger and allow the straw to vent, the water cannot go anywhere. Having tape around a gap in the stack going up through the roof merely moves the opening from there to the top, and there should never be any significant pressure in that vent line unless something below gasses/fills up and needs to burp.
    Attached is a picture with the tape removed. I know the right answer is to fix it, but is this the source of my weird flushing issue? I know that it now causes the gas to leak into the attic instead of out into the sky, but didnt know if this break right here would cause the weird flushing issue (even though there was tape over it). Name:  IMG_20130404_164617_704.jpg
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    Also Ive never fixed this before, do I need to cut the pipe and get a new T and some new pipe glue?

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    When everything is working properly, vents keep the sinks and toilets from working TOO good. If the vent is missing, (i.e., never installed), or plugged it will seldom cause the fixture to drain slower, unless the drain is also plugged.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    FWIW: The unevenness of thickness of that insulation is cutting pretty seriously into performance. It's well worth taking the time to air-seal (can-foam, caulk whatever it takes) all the plumbing & electrical penetrations, then blowing more insulation (preferably cellulose, for overall annual performance, since it's more air retardent than fiberglass or rock wool blowing wools) to at least the full joist-depth, but the installer needs to rake it smooth & even as part of the process. Thin spots of any size dominate the heat gain/loss through the ceiling, undercutting the average performance to well below the R-value of the average depth. Unless the depth is uniform you are getting less performance than you've paid for.

    If you make it at least 3" over the joist tops you dramatically reduce the thermal bridging of the joists too, but it makes it a bit awkward to move around in there when you can't see the joists. Code min in most of TX is R30, which is 8.5-9" of fiber insulation depth, but there's still a long term financial rationale for R50 (14-15"), which will also take peak ceiling temps down a degree or so at the cooling season peaks.

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    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinistersix View Post
    Attached is a picture...is this the source of my weird flushing issue?
    No. If the toilet has been flushing okay and is now suddenly acting up, either it is not sending water into the bowl fast enough or the flush has no place to go. Try pouring a two-gallon pail of water into the bowl and see what happens. If the toilet does not flush properly, you possibly have something partially blocking its output somewhere.

    Do I need to cut the pipe and get a new T and some new pipe glue?
    It would take more than that to fix that broken Tee, and I would just re-tape it.
    "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people." --Eleanor Roosevelt

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