What Are Plumbing Vents?
Plumbing vents are those little pipes you see sticking up from your roof. They serve an important function in your homes plumbing system. When you flush your toilet, run the dishwasher, or drain the sink, water runs out of your plumbing system through a P trap that keeps sewer gasses from coming back up into your home. Plumbing vents allow air to come in behind these traps and displace the waste water being flushed out of the home. If they were not there the water would not flush. They are vented on the roof to keep the sewer gasses out of the home since these smell bad and can often be explosive.
Since they vent to the outside, a method is required to seal the vent to the roof to prevent leaks when it rains. This is called “flashing” and is either lead or rubber. Critter Quitters® are designed to work with lead flashing, not rubber flashing. If your flashing looks like the pictures below, Critter Quitters® will work. If you see a black rubber gasket then Critter Quitters® are not appropriate, although they will still fit. They will do no harm and improve the look of the home.
What Is Lead Flashing?
Lead Flashing is simply a soft lead pipe with a square plate at the bottom that is slid over the vent, nailed down under the shingles, and the top folded over the vent pipe to seal it. They often look “beat up” or wrinkled. If you live in the deep Southern states or along the coast of Texas, Georgia, and the Carolinas odds are you have lead flashing, although it is fairly common in other states.
Lead flashing is used in these regions because the combination of high sunlight and lots of rain make rubber a poor choice. Rubber deteriorates in sunlight quickly, and when it does the roof will leak. Lots of rain brings lots of leaks. Lead lasts the lifetime of the roof, at least until the squirrels get to it.
What Is A Rubber Grommet?
Rubber Grommet flashing is a flexible rubber disk that is nailed down to the plywood roof base and the vent runs though the rubber which seals it. These can always be identified by the white or painted PVC pipe sticking through. Generally these do not require shielding from squirrels. Unfortunately in high rain high sun these become brittle and crack after a few years and are thus not used much in these areas. This is mainly the Southern states.
How Do I Know If My Vents Are Damaged?
If you look up at your roof and see white sticking out of your lead flashing, your vents have been damaged. But really the best way is to go on the roof and check them, often squirrels will chew the top of the flashing and you cannot see this from the ground. If you have never been on your roof before we recommend using a professional or someone that has experience on roofs. But be aware they may not be aware of Critter Quitters and vent repair, so they may wish to do a shingle removal and put in a new flashing. This is risky as the shingles may be hard to match and it may result in a dog patch looking repair. So make sure your vent repair is done with Critter Quitters.
Vent Repair – What Is A Critter Quitter® and How Does It Work?
Unlike other products that are either screens or guards that just cover the vent to keep squirrels away, the Critter Quitter® has a patent pending design that takes the rain water and directs it into the vent and out the house drain, thus keeping the area between the outside of the pipe and the damaged flashing from becoming wet. This stops further leakage into the plywood base, which is called decking in roofer language, and thus further damage. Its outside shell protects the vent from squirrels, and it’s an attractive addition to any roof. It doesn’t require any modification to the existing flashing so it can be used on new or damaged vents. They are easy to install with 4 screws, and come in a standard pitch that will fit most homes. Custom cuts are available if requested.
Do You Get Frogs, Rats Or Snakes In Your Toilet?
Have you ever heard of a frog, rat, or snake getting into your toilet or sink? It happens. In fact it happened to me. My wife was screaming about a frog in the toilet, and sure enough a giant tree frog was in there. Later on, my father in law called and said he had a rat in his toilet. Now frogs are bad enough, but rats are dangerous and can both bite and spread disease, plus if they get loose in your house they are hard to catch.
Apparently, the vents are a major way these animals get into the house. They either jump in or crawl in. Once heading down they can’t turn around, and they fall into your homes drainage system. They will swim through the toilet or sink trap and end up in your house.
Critter Quitters® come with a screened inlet that keeps these pests out of your home, and thus out of your plumbing. So you need not worry about any animals being where they shouldn’t be. Plus the screened inlet will keep leaves and other debris out of the vent, so it cannot become plugged and slow or stop your sink or toilets from working properly.
Can Critter Quitters® Be Used On New Roofs?
Absolutely. In fact it’s the best time to install them as the vents will not require repair. They don’t require any flashing trimming or modification, so they can be installed and protect your vents from potential squirrel attack and keep animals out of the plumbing.
Also as a side benefit, since the vent is protected from the sunlight and the elements, lead oxidation is reduced, and thus roof stains are eliminated. So no more unsightly gray runs down your shingles making the roof look far older than it is.
Are Critter Quitters® Easy To Install?
Yes, all it takes is a screw driver. Each unit has 4 screws that hold it in place by passing through the lead flashing and biting into the pipe. This provides a firm mount. The average time to install is about 15 minutes per unit, and you don’t have to pull up shingles or cut the flashing. Simply cut the unit to fit (unless you ordered a precut unit,) slide it over the damaged flashing and put the screws in place. Its an easy vent repair vs. an expensive vent flashing replacement.