Roof vents are an important part of plumbing and sanitation. Most house owners think of covering the roof vent, especially during the winter. But is it safe to cover the roof vents? Let’s find out.
Covering the roof vents is a good idea as it prevents leakage, reduces noise, and keeps dirt, dust, and animals away. But, sometimes, it is unsafe to cover the vents as it traps moisture if the humidity is high and encourages mold. If the vent is part of the plumbing system, it need not be covered.
Covering the vents can benefit in multiple ways. This article will share those benefits and specific considerations while selecting a vent cover.
Should I cover the roof vent?
The vent pipe is an important part of the plumbing system and sanitation.
The roof vents are generally installed on the rooftop; therefore, they are exposed to the harsh outside environment.
The weather may be extremely sunny, windy, rainy, or cold, which can reduce the vent’s lifespan.
So, it would be best to cover the roof vents to increase their durability.
The vent pipe is also connected to the water systems. If you do not cover them from the inside out, rain can get into the vent pipe and flood your house through the pipe.
You do not want to face such issues, so you must cover the roof vents.
Benefits of covering the roof vents
Here are some benefits of covering the roof vents.
The vent can get clogged by various outside elements like dirt and debris, especially during rains and storms.
Removing the dirt and debris from the roof vent is very difficult, involving safety hazards.
You need a professional to remove the dirt, which will cost around $270. Sometimes, it can cost more depending on the labor charges per hour.
Roof vent covers will free you from these difficulties and expenses.
Besides, the vent can be at risk if animals keep loitering over your house’s rooftop, which can be a sanitary issue and invite more pests.
Covering the vent will protect from such animals.
A vent cover can prevent mold formation in the plumbing and the house and keep the vent safe.
The rainwater and other moisture can remain trapped in the vent and lead to mold.
Increased mold formation will be difficult to remove and unhealthy for the house members.
Covering the vent will avoid such disturbances.
Rest from annoying noises.
Noise can be annoying.
Sometimes, the vents will rattle and make irritating noises that can disturb you and your neighbors.
Covering the roof vents with the right covers can also reduce the noise in the long run.
Too much pressure in the roof vent can cause the rainwater to back up, causing leakages and other expensive damages.
The pressure in the roof vent increases mostly due to clogging, for which the pipe gets leaked at places.
The moisture enters through the leakage, remains trapped, and leads to mold formation.
Covering the roof vents can increase the durability of the vent.
A roof vent will have to face harsh weather conditions.
You must replace it frequently if you keep it uncovered throughout the year.
Changing the vent is very difficult and expensive.
That is why you must cover it.
An unexposed vent will last for 10 years.
But a covered one will last for around 15 to 20 years, which is great.
Who doesn’t love an attractive and stylish house?
An uncovered vent coming out of the roof can be an eyesore.
So, covering the vent with suitable vent covers can improve the look of your house.
It can give a touch of sophistication and soberness to the exteriors.
Keeps the house warm in winters
When winter arrives, the warm air starts escaping from any openings in your house.
Covering the vent during winter can stop the warm air from escaping, trap it inside, and keep your house energy-efficient.
It can also save you money on energy bills because you do not have to keep the heating system on frequently or for long hours.
Prevents ice dams
If your region is prone to snowfall in winter, ice and snow will accumulate on your roof and around the vent pipes.
It can further make an ice dam, preventing the melting snow and ice from draining and blocking the vents.
If that happens, the wastewater and sewer odors cannot escape.
In worst conditions, the weight of the ice and snow becomes intolerable for the roof to handle and causes the roof to collapse.
Covering the vents can prevent ice dam formation.
Prevents rust and corrosion
The roof vents remain exposed to the outside environment.
Over time, it can rust, corrode, and deteriorate.
It happens mostly in rainy seasons when the moisture remains trapped in the metal surfaces.
Covering the vent will prevent these issues and extend your vent’s life.
What happens if I keep the roof vents exposed?
There is no problem in keeping the roof vents exposed.
An open roof vent can regulate the temperature, prevent moisture from getting trapped, and reduce mold.
But, it is not a good idea to keep it exposed all the time.
If you expose the roof vent, there could be chances of leakages and expensive damages.
Rainwater can easily enter the vent, remain trapped, and lead to mold and mildew.
Roof vents keep the air pressure even in the system.
Keeping them uncovered can increase the pressure in the system and back up the water.
It can further lead to leaks and other expensive damages.
The sewer gasses will enter your house through the vent if it gets clogged, causing serious health hazards.
Experts recommend installing a cap for the vent stack to prevent clogs and reduce pressure and leakages.
Clogged vents are the main cause of pressure fluctuations.
The vent covers will prevent dirt and debris from entering the system and regulate the pressure.
How to identify a clogged plumbing vent?
Understanding whether the vent is clogged or not is quite confusing.
Sometimes, you will need a professional plumber to help you out.
Besides, you may have to spend extra money if the problem persists.
So, here are some tips to help you understand whether the vent is clogged or not.
Whenever you flush, you can hear gurgling sounds.
The air causes this sound in the drain line because the water needs to force itself through the small opening of the P-trap.
The opening gets smaller due to some blockage, preventing the air from getting into the drain line.
The sinks will drain very slowly if the vent is clogged.
When the vent gets too clogged, it prevents the air from entering the drain line.
It further creates a vacuum and slows down water drainage in the sink.
The P-trap is a U-shaped part in the drain line.
It holds water and stops the sewer gas from entering your house.
If the P-trap is dry, it means the vent is clogged.
The vent must have a balance with the air pressure in the P-trap to refresh the water.
If the P-trap is dry, the vent is clogged, and no water has reached the trap for replenishment.
Bad smell from the drains
A foul odor will come out from the drains of your house if the vent is clogged badly.
The smell is because a clogged vent stops the sewer gasses from escaping your house.
The gasses are formed due to decomposed water and escape through the roof.
But when a vent is clogged, the odor will have no place to escape and enter your house.
Water backing up in other drains.
When you use one drain, the water backs up in other drains, indicating clogged vents.
The clogged vent creates a vacuum when you use one drain.
This vacuum causes the water to be sucked back through the other drain.
The plumbing vent is clogged when you discover a sewage backup.
It occurs because vent clogging does not prevent sewage from escaping through the roof.
As a result, the sewage will have a place to go if the vent remains blocked and, thus, backs up in the drain line and your home.
Is there any risk factor behind covering the roof vents?
Sometimes, experts suggest using roof vent covers to prevent mold formation in the plumbing and the house.
However, it is not completely true because the covers can become a hotbed for mold and mildew.
When you cover the roof vents, you trap excessive moisture in the roof vent pipe.
This trapped moisture will increase humidity levels and lead to mold formation.
The condition can be dangerous and common in a highly humid region.
But that does not mean you should keep them uncovered throughout the year.
That will encourage mold and mildew much more than covered vents, especially during rain.
Uncovered vents are more prone to mold than covered ones.
It will be very difficult to get rid of this mold.
Besides, it will become risky for health, especially for people with allergies.
Removal of mold by professionals can cost thousands of dollars.
What should be considered while selecting a roof vent pipe cover?
Most of the pipes of the roof vents are copper, galvanized, or cast iron.
So, the material you choose to cover them must ensure efficiency and prevent negative reactions.
The best roof vent covers must have the following features:
- It has to be durable.
- The cover is corrosive-resistant.
- The cover must have high-quality performance.
You must also consider the weather conditions of your living space.
Some regions have frequent rains, no matter the season.
So, you must select a high-quality cover for such areas so rainwater cannot enter the vent.
Your goal should be to have the best and most long-lasting venting system.
A good roof vent cover must keep the roof structure from decay.
So, your chosen material must absorb moisture and keep the roof structure dry.
Wrong materials can interfere with the roof vent’s functionality and cause serious issues.
You can also contact a professional to get help with the right roof vent cover.
Can I use a rain cover for roof vents?
Using rain covers or galvanized steel boots is one of the best ways to cover the roof vents.
These covers are long-lasting and have several shapes and sizes.
So you can get the right one for your vent.
Plastic rain covers are also a good choice.
But, they can wear down after frequent usage due to excessive moisture and climate changes.
The galvanized steel has zinc that provides extra strength to the vent cover.
The most affordable product is the plastic rain cover.
You can get these covers only for $5.
The plastic vent covers are good for temporary purposes because they last only a short time.
For the long term, you need to choose galvanized steel rain covers.
It is expensive, costing around $25 or more, but it is worth it because of its durability.
The galvanized steel rain covers can last up to 10 years.
Does a plumbing vent pipe need to go through the roof?
The plumbing vent pipes don’t need to pass only through the roof.
Though that is the common passage, there are alternatives.
You can also run the plumbing pipe through the wall outside your house.
No matter wherever you run them, you must install the vent pipe to extend it above the roof, even if you install and stick it out of the wall.
All house owners cannot access the roof due to the house’s design or lack of an attic.
If the pipe is taller up to your house’s tallest window, you can run it on the exterior walls without letting it go higher than the roof.
You can also run the pipes up to the attic, but it’s uncommon.
It is also safe to run the vent pipe to the attic if you have an air admittance valve or AAV in that place.
Otherwise, harmful chemicals may pass through the attic, spread to the rest of the house, and harm the members.
Also, covering the plumbing vent pipe is not needed.
Covering the roof vents is the best way to protect them.
Roof vent covers or boots reduce mold development, noise, and moisture accumulation.
It will also protect your vent from getting clogged by dirt and debris and stop pests from fidgeting and entering it.
However, covering the vent can also lead to mold formation due to trapped moisture and high humidity.
But the chances of mold are less in this case.
Uncovered vents last 10 years, but covered ones will remain safe for at least 15 to 20 years.
You can use rain covers made of galvanized steel.
It is expensive, around $25 or more, but it’s worth it because it will last for 10 years.
Plastic covers are also suitable, but temporarily.
It will wear out after some time due to frequent usage.
Reference: Roof vents Wikipedia, Attic fan Wikipedia.