Rats Keep Getting In Your House? Temporarily Repair The Vent Stack Pipes On Your Roof

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If rats keep getting into your home, and you can't find holes in the wall, flooring or attic, you may wonder if you can find the cause of the invasion and repair it until a professional can get to your home. Rats can find their way into your home through many places, including the plumbing pipes on your roof called vent stack pipes. If the right coverings aren't over your pipes, or if your plumbing pipes aren't structurally sound or repaired, rodents can use them to access your home. You can check the vent stack pipes on your roof problems and repair them temporarily to keep rodents out of the home. Here's more information about vent stack pipes and what you can do to protect your home against rats temporarily.

What's the Purpose of Vent Stack Pipes?

One of the first places you want to look for rat signs is the vent stack pipes on your roof. Vent stacks serve several purposes. The pipes allow sewer odors to leave your home, and they help fresh air circulate into the house. The largest of the pipes is called the main stack, and it typically sits over the bathroom or close to the bathroom and kitchen. The main stack connects to a long drainage line that leads to the main cleanout system beneath the house. The cleanout system connects to the sewer lines in your yard, which lead to the municipal or city sewer lines in the street.

The secondary vent pipe often connects to auxiliary plumbing fixtures, such as the lines connected to your water heater and washer. You may or may not have a secondary vent pipe on your roof. If you do, it's important to check it for damages that allow rodents into the home as well.

Before you try to access and check the vent stacks, be sure it's safe to do so. If the vents sit high on a slope, such as at the top of the roof, you may want to hire an HVAC contractor or plumber to check and repair them for you. You don't want to accidentally slip and fall off your roof, as it can be very dangerous. If the stacks sit on low slope or flat part of the roof, and you can access the area easily from a ladder, you can proceed with the next steps of your project.

How Do You Know If the Vent Stack Pipes Need Repairs?

To find out if you need to repair the vent stacks, do these things:

  1. Position a tall ladder close to the location of the main vent stack. Remember, it's the largest of the two pipes. If necessary, stand out in your yard and examine the roof for the pipe's location.
  2. Ascend a wide-based ladder. Be sure to have someone hold the ladder steady for you before and after you climb it.
  3. Access the main stack. You want to look for holes near the flashing, as well as lifted, peeling or lost flashing. If the flashing is too damaged to secure yourself, have a roofer repair it for you.
  4. Examine the top of the stack for a missing cap or grate. Caps and grates allow air and odors to circulate in and out of the stack. 
  5. Repeat step three with the secondary stack. If you can't walk over to the smaller stack without traveling too far across the roof, climb down from the roof and place your ladder closer to the secondary stack's location.

After you note the damages, obtain or purchase one thick roll of waterproof tape, such as mastic silver tape, from your local hardware store. To temporarily replace a missing cap or grate, you can place sheet metal over the vents' openings, then wrap waterproof silver tape around the edges of the mesh to secure it in place. Use a ruler to measure the widths of the pipes' openings, then use the results to cut sheet metal in the right sizes. Cover the holes around the flashing with sheet metal, then use liquid mastic sealant to secure the pieces in place. Your home is temporarily protected against rodents.

Be sure to schedule your vent stack plumbing repairs as soon as you can to keep your home protected.

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