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Plmqwk, Master Plumber
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 920
Experience:  20+ years in plumbing field. Licensed master plumber, commercial plumbing inspector
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We have a frozen sewer vent in the roof. How to defrost it?

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Our sewer vent that comes out of our roof is frozen. We tried using a snake to chip it out but it is frozen solid. Could we put some sort of salt down the pipe? Our next idea is to run hot water down the pipe but that will run off from our roof and probably get into our basement. Do you have any ideas without getting a plumber?

Welcome to Just Answer.

You can bring a small heater up on the roof and direct the heat into, it may help. You will have the best success if you remove the melting water with a shop vac. Both the salt and hot water options will work eventually but I think the hot water will work the best, aside from the mess. If there happens to be a small crack in the freeze up the hot water won't take long to unthaw it. So the mess will be minimal.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Once we get the vent thawed out, how can we prevent this sort of thing from happening again?

Depending on how accessible it is, the best thing is to increase it in size. If it is a two inch I recommend doing it to 4".

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

The hot water idea that we were going to try involved hooking a garden hose up to our washer line and just letting it run into the pipe while overflowing onto the roof and onto the ground. Wouldn't there be a better way of doing it...or not?

One more than what else I already listed would be to purchase some heat tape and wrap as much of the pipe you can get your hands on. This will take a while though. The tape is designed to keep it from freezing not thawing it out once frozen.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

We have a few 90 degree turns in our vent pipe. Would that have had something to do with the freezing problem? Also, is there anything that you would recommend for the sewer smell that is in the house now?

Yes there has apparently been a lot of condensation that has built up and froze. The multiple turns definitely played a factor.

Just SLOWLY adding water to ALL drains to fill up traps is all that can be done, sorry.

Plmqwk and other Plumbing Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you very much for your prompt answers! You have been very helpful!

You are welcome.

Good luck to you on this.