What is a Plumbing Stack?

aaa plumbing stack replacement and repairA plumbing stack is a key piece in a home’s plumbing system, but most homeowners have never heard of it and don’t know where it is.  A stack as a primary pipeline for any water or waste system that spans through one or more floors in a building or home.  This large vertical pipe serves as the focal point in which horizontal pipes are connected and permitted to drain or vent. The purpose is to transport waste out to the drain and balance out pressures.

Plumbing Stacks can be broken down to 3 main areas:

  • Vent Stack – The vent stack is at the very top, above the highest drain in the home or building. It allows air to enter the stack and maintain equal air pressure.
  • Drain Stack – Below the highest fixture draining into the plumbing stack.  This one comes to an end at the point where the lowest fixture in the home drains into the stack.
  • Soil Stack – The soil stack is everything below the lowest fixture and serving as the connection to the sewer.  This is typically under the concrete foundation or yard outside.

Homes often have multiple stacks depending on the size.  In these cases, you’ll have a main stack and auxiliary stacks as well.  AAA Plumbing can service all plumbing stacks in your home.

Diagnosing Vent Stack Issues

The vent stack is an integral piece of the overall home and stack system. It’s located at the highest point and responsible for keeping sewer gas out of the home or building. Issues with a vent stack are usually emergency repairs. 

Vent Stack Issues:

  • Slow Drains – As is the case with a lot of other plumbing issues,water pressure problems whenever you notice your drains starting to run slow, it can be a sign of a greater problem.  There is some sort of obstruction that’ll likely only get worse the longer you let it go. In the case of vent stacks this is always true.  A vent stack is responsible for releasing out those sewer gases that can build up in your home. Any obstruction will likely result in air being sucked into the p-traps. Once this occurs, you’ll notice slow drainage and even some water gurgling sounds.
  • Unpleasant Smells – The purpose of a p-trap is to stop the sewage gases from drifting from the drain pipe into your home or building.  It does so by trapping water in the p dip to prevent any gasses from traveling through.  Whenever a vent stack is clogged in a severe manner, the water barrier can get removed.
  • Multiple Drains Running Slow – If all your drains are running slow, then you’re looking at an issue with the main stack. If just one of the drains is running slowly, than its likely you have a blockage on that one only.

Easy Safeguards Against Vent Stack Blockages

Considering a vent stack is at the top, you’ll want to put some sort of filter on the top to prevent things like leaves or even small animals from finding their way in. If these were to make their way in, the odds of a blockage increase drastically. And secondly, you’ll want to insulate the pipes before the winter. You should do this before the cold Missouri winter creeps in.

Soil Stack Issues

The soil stack is the final piece of the stack system. Being connected to the sewer line, soil stacks are the one that remove all of the waste from the various plumbing fixtures in your house (baths, sinks, toilets). When a soil stack is blocked, you’ll probably start to notice similar issues as the ones with vent stacks. The toilets will drain slower and once again, some bad odors will arise from the drains.

Call AAA Home Services Plumbing!

AAA Home Services has always been to be a one-stop shop for all drain repair and plumbing projects. We understand every plumbing project can have a unique problems and possessing the ability to troubleshoot these situations is our speciality. When you work with our team, you can expect reliable and long-lasting repairs at fair and honest pricing.

Our team services the entire St. Louis and St. Charles as well as Lincoln and Warren.

Call AAA, We’re On Our Way!