I seem to have the classic problem of a clogged vent; flush toilet and shower drain "gasps".

Is there a good alternative to going up on the roof and clearing it from there? What's the recommended tool, if the problem isn't just a bird's nest -- standard drain auger from the top?

(I've climbed lots of roofs in my time, but I'm getting just old enough that I may want someone else to deal with that.)

Folks have asked about availability of clean-out T's. I don't think there's currently one that will let me hit this vent. I do have attic access, so could presumably splice something into the PVC there to reduce climbing in the future; doing it without disturbing whatever seals the roof penetration might be tricky, though.

  • Understood. But if I am willing... Standard auger I'd use for a sink drain,, or something else?
    – keshlam
    Aug 9, 2023 at 14:02
  • 1
    A hose has worked for me. However it would take 2 people logically if you didn't want to risk getting wet. A drain auger can work too. I had a neighbor that cleared a vent stack with a hockey stick... but that was just luck.
    – RMDman
    Aug 9, 2023 at 14:09
  • Avoiding the roof climb depends what you have (or add) for internal clean-out access.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 9, 2023 at 14:18
  • Good answers depend on the situation--what's available for cleanouts and other entry points, roof height and access, etc. Please revise with more information about yours. Otherwise you'll get, at best, a list of possible solutions.
    – isherwood
    Aug 9, 2023 at 15:06

1 Answer 1


If you have access to the pipe in your attic or basement then consider getting a sanitary tee installed or a long-sweep wye with a screw cap. When clogged then insert an auger upwards and knock out the clog.

  • Great idea. A pinch of prevention...
    – keshlam
    Aug 9, 2023 at 17:06

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