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 Frozen Vent Pipes
Author: Anonymous User

Hello out there.

I have a very stinky problem. Both of my sewer vent pipes freeze in cold snowy weather. I have had the plumber who originally installed my plumbing (new home) back to find the problem but he had no idea how to fix it. The house smells like methane? gas and is barley liveable. Normally when this happens I climb up on the roof and pop open both vents with a broom stick. This time the roof is covered in ice with no melt down in site. Climbing up on the roof is not an option.

Is the gas dangerous to breath? Can the furnace ignite the gas? Can I put a heating elemnt on the end of the pipe to keep it from freezing?

Other hints:

-My home has a Gambrel styled roof. Like a barn.

-Before vent pipe exits roof there are two 90 degree corners. Both corners are 24-36" apart.

-PVC pipe size is around 3"

-Pipes exit roof on the West side of the house, facing normal wind direction.

-Plumber wants to put two 90 degree corners on the very end of the pipe. He claims this will prevent the icing over.

This is one of MANY problems I have had with the plumbing in the house so I'm no longer giving the pumbler the benifit of the doubt.

Any ideas?

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 Re: Frozen Vent Pipes
Author: steve (CA)

Frozen, I would put heat tape around the pipes.

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 Re: Frozen Vent Pipes
Author: Anonymous User

Thanks for the idea. Tried that - no luck.

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 Re: Frozen Vent Pipes
Author: steve (CA)

Frozen, heat tape wouldn't keep the pipe from icing up?

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 Re: Frozen Vent Pipes
Author: Anonymous User

Im southern by the grace of god not to have to deal with that type of problem. but my mechanical mind tells me to get in the attic and cut the vent loose, clear the ice or blockage and replace it using a coupling or no hub ,that has little or no travel so the flashing isnt disturbed. im assuming of course that getting on the roof is not an option. for your question about methane gas it is lethal at 10% air volume. but you would not hang around for that much by choice any way. good luck

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 Whoaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!
Author: Anonymous User

You have more than one problem ,Frozen vent should not fill the house with sewer gas!I would say you have some un finished plumbing !when the vent freezes the gas takes the path of least resistance,In other words there is a vent that was not run through the roof or a pipe not glued.Find the area of worst odor and go from there.....good luck

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 Re: Whoaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!
Author: Anonymous User

are we ready to do a smoke test?

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 Re: Whoaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!
Author: steve (CA)

Trap siphoning?

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 Re: Frozen Vent Pipes
Author: Anonymous User

No,

Last night I got into the attic and cut the vent pipe off 40" below the roof line. Up came all the methane!! Peeyoo! I pulled the stack down into the house. It was frozen solid from the top down, about 8". I took the now free stack into the house and chipped the ice away. Then I glued a threaded male conector to the bottom end of the stack. Then glued the female part to the other end in the house. Pushed the stack up through the hole in the roof (and the caukless rubber flashing). Then pulled it back down to the point where I could screw it back into my new fitting on the main vent line. Within 20 minutes there was no trace of the methane smell. Now if this happens again I can clear the frozen pipe from within the house.

In the summer I will install to 3" 90degree bends to the top of the stack, so the opening faces down.

Does make sense to anyone?

Frozen and Stinky

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 Re: Thanks for the tip.
Author: Anonymous User

Thanks for the tip. That is basically what I did and it worked great. Now I can fix the stack if it gets frozen again from the inside.

Thanks Again!

Frozen and Stinky.

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 Re: Frozen Vent Pipes
Author: e-plumber (NY)

When the weather improves you should consider increasing the vtr size to 4" or larger 24" below the roof line. Heat tape with pipe insulation could be additional protection. Why wait until the house is stinking with sewer odor, possibly from trap siphoning as a tell tale sign; "Time to clean the stack vent".

Good Luck. e-plumber



e-plumber
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"The society which scorns excellence in Plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an
exalted activity will have neither good Plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water." -
John William Gardner 10/8/1912 - 2/16/2002

Repair your leaking Plumbing fixtures ASAP [www.theplumber.com]
This slow drip will waste 7+ gallons of water per day.

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 Re: Frozen Vent Pipes
Author: Anonymous User

dont use 3 90 though just buy a 3'' dwv trap throw the 90 away and use the trap part . it will give you a nice looking invert with less travel. glad we could be of help.

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 Re: Frozen Vent Pipes
Author: indyt (IN)

I know this won't help you but I am battling the same issues here! Brand new house, smell coming from vent under kitchen sink then worsened to master bathroom!!! Builder came over and said it was called "whore frost" over the vent coming thru the roof! So he cleared the frost and said he would investigate with plumbers he knew as to how to stop this from reoccuring. What worries me is one reply to you was that the smell took the path of least resistance............. not sure how to find or fix the problem forever!! Can't stand the smell!!!!!!!!!

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 Re: Whoaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!
Author: indyt (IN)

I am having the same issues of Septic smell in the house, the builder came over and said the vent was frozen shut causing the smell to back up into the house...#1 How do I stop the vent from freezing???....#2 your reply to the other guy as far as the smell taking the path of least resistance has me very concerned!! How do I find and fix this problem forever!!

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