Toilets have two purposes: remove the waste from your toilet and prevent the odor from the sewers from entering your bathroom.
Vents are helpful as they control the air pressure within your drain pipes. While denser waste and liquids will occupy the outlet drain’s lower part, air will stay in the top part.
Naturally, this design allows air to flow through the vent and upwards toward the roof. Generally, hard waste will remain down and escape via the drain.
Overall, the venting process has a simple purpose that’s easy to understand.
Generally, you need a vent for your toilet to work correctly. There are four ways a toilet vent system can work, but there’s also a different method: using an air admittance valve.
In this post, we’ll talk about how air admittance valves can work, but we’ll also talk about all of these methods to help ventilate your toilet.
However, before we discuss your options, let’s discuss why it’s so essential to ensure your toilet has proper venting.
Why Is Toilet Venting Essential?
Many people don’t consider toilet venting options because they don’t realize this system’s importance. Usually, you would just do your business, flush, and let the water jet clean your toilet bowl.
Then, the vent will guide the odor from your home’s drain pipe to the sewer. It’s essential for your toilet to function correctly, or it would have a closed plumbing system.
Utilizing water in the toilet bowl, your vent prevents the gasses from coming back to your bathroom.
Your vent has other uses too. Not only does it help prevent sewer gasses from entering your home, but it also has three other essential services.
With your toilet vent, your toilet will flush properly, the water stays level, and it stops the water in the bowl from gurgling. How does it do this? Let’s find out.
The Vent Allows Your Toilet To Flush Properly
When you flush your toilet, the wastewater passes along the trapway and takes the smell down.
However, the air wouldn’t be able to go without the toilet vent; without it, the air would remain within your outlet drain until the next time you go to the bathroom.
Ultimately, without it your toilet would still function, yet it would be unclean and noisy, as a bubble of dirty air would burst each time you go to the bathroom.
So, it’s essential you have one to release the air and restore your toilet’s pressure.
The Vent Will Keep Your Water Level In The Toilet Bowl
Have you ever wondered how the water in the toilet bowl remains level?
Without a specific and steady water level, sewer gasses would enter the bathroom. You need the vent to keep the water level and regulate the air pressure inside.
The pressure beneath the trapway within the toilet is too intense without a toilet vent, so it would suck the water out from the bowl or push surplus water into it.
You know your vent is working when the level of water is even. If it’s not even and the water is going up or going down, you should contact someone for advice as your vent isn’t working correctly.
The Vent Stops Water From Gurgling
Finally, you’ll notice that your toilet won’t make any strange noises, and that is due to the toilet vent.
If you didn’t have a vent, you would hear the toilet gurgling 24/7. The air wouldn’t locate an alternative escape; it would instead come back to the toilet bowl, where it would bubble after flushing.
With your toilet vent, you’ll find that the only noise you hear is the water running through the drain pipe after flushing, but it only lasts for a few seconds.
Different Toilet Vents
Now that you know why having a toilet vent is so essential, let’s discuss the four venting options that you would most commonly find.
These include a straight vent connection, a connection under the toilet, a street elbow and wye, and wet venting. Down below, we’ll discuss how these four options work.
Many toilets have a horizontally stretched drain pipe. With this method, the drain pipe will go downwards at one point, so it can deliver your waste to the sewage system.
The ventilation pipe will take an opposing turn and will go upwards toward the roof to allow the air to be released.
You’ll need a wye fitting and a tee sanitary connection pipe to use this structure. Using these two parts will assist the drains to have one line connecting to the sewer and another line to the roof.
Connection Under The Toilet
You could also establish your vent connection so it is under the toilet. To do this, you need to place the vent on your vertical waste pipe before it can reach the elbow’s turning point.
This method needs a reducing wye so you can attach the vent properly. The wye will let you change the vent angle so that it can separate from the toilet drain pipe when needed.
Street Elbow And Wye
Toilet vents can be made by connecting a street elbow to the wye. First, you place the wye, so it’s positioned horizontally against the outlet pipe.
Then, attach a street elbow with a 45-degree angle to your wye. These two parts will hold the vent pipe vertically so it can stand still behind your bathroom wall.
You’ll find this works when it is placed in the rear wall behind your toilet, but it can also be placed in the sidewall if it’s close enough to your toilet.
If you have a pipe at least two inches wide, you could use one pipe to transfer waste and air. However, it needs to be this wide in order to work accurately.
Using wet venting, you can connect multiple fixtures in your bathroom to create a common venting point.
One popular venting point is the sink drain, as it’s easier to attach to the toilet using a sanitary tee pipe. Y
ou should have the pipe’s entrance elbow facing the water flow while the outlet goes the other way to oppose your waste line.
Wet venting is perfect for anyone wanting to save space.
Venting Without A Toilet Vent
If you want to vent without installing a toilet vent, you can instead use an air admittance valve. While it is deemed somewhat controversial, you’ll find that it offers many benefits if you don’t have a toilet vent.
But first, let’s go into a bit more depth about what air admittance valves are and how they actually work.
What’s An Air Admittance Valve?
The best way to describe an air admittance valve is as a tool that will reduce the amount of negative pressure in your waste disposal system.
They release the pressure into the pipes and rinse water entering instead of relying on gravity.
While some people describe it as a cheater valve because it is not legal in every country, and you don’t have a uniform plumbing code.
If you can’t install a standard vent, then an air admittance valve will work. In many cases, if you don’t have as much space, an air admittance valve is a suitable replacement.
Are They Legal?
There isn’t a uniform plumbing code that says that air admittance valves are illegal, and a number of regulatory bodies actually approve of these cheater valves.
For example, they have several benefits that the usual toilet vent doesn’t have.
They don’t cost as much to install, and they minimize the risk of having any roof leakages.
They also will make your roof more pleasing to the eye, as you won’t have any unnecessary holes or vents. However, that doesn’t make them the perfect replacement.
They were made illegal in some countries because they couldn’t guarantee the relief of positive pressures.
A solution to deal with this issue has been offered by the International Residential Code, which says that you should have at least one vent pipe that extends outdoors to relieve the positive pressure in your system.
How Does It Work?
Now that we’ve discussed the legality of air admittance valves, let’s go into more depth about how they work. They actually admit air into your plumbing lines as they control the pressure in your plumbing system.
Once the air admittance valve sees a low-pressure zone in the pipe, it will open a seal. Essentially, it’s a device that will let the air access the toilet drain line.
When the pressure is restored, the seal closes due to gravitational forces. When this happens, the gasses can neither go in nor out of the air admittance valve. Therefore, it will keep balanced so your toilet can still flush.
It will return to its original position when it feels the pressure dropping again.
How Do You Choose The Right Mechanism To Vent Your Toilet?
Ultimately, the type of system you use is determined by several different factors. An air admittance valve should work if you can’t vent a toilet.
While they shouldn’t be your first point of action, they are a viable alternative if you have no other option. However, before you decide which system you use, let’s discuss what you need to consider.
When choosing the right venting mechanism, you should consider the length of your drainage system and waste pipes.
You’ll need to know the height of your air vent and the distance that lies between your toilet and your sink’s drain. Plus, you need to find out if an air admittance valve is available.
Once you’ve considered all these factors, you can find the right option for you.
Ultimately, you need to have a toilet vent or a viable alternative, or your toilet won’t flush properly, and you may be more at risk of gasses from the sewer.
Not every household can handle having a toilet vent, which is why air admittance valves have become a more popular alternative.
You won’t have any issues if you have the right plumbing system. You just need to find the right system that will work for you.