Plugged plumbing vent pipe

I did an inspection this morning, and i could smell sewer in the attic. The crawl space is also very wet and moldy. The owner told me she was in the attic last year, found a vent pipe that had separted and so she filled both pieces with spray foam insulation. I now understand the smell, but with the vent plugged, will this not cause the plumbing to drian incorrectly, possibly flooding the crawl space?

I am curious as to why you yourself did not see that plugged vent when you did the attic inspection?

The drains will still work but will gurgle and vent itself at the sinks, toilet, ect… Will also keep smelling.

1 Like

Yes it will drain incorrectly. Have Qualified plumber remedy the problem.

I hope inspections are going great with you, Darin. :smile:

1 Like

Well, somehow she did. :wink:


It’s her attic. If you truly understood the liability you are taking on by crawling around in someone’s attic and the damage you could accidentally cause or be accused of causing, you would most definitely not continue to do so. But that is your choice.

1 Like

There are far too many important components and potentially high cost repair issues in an attic to make that sweeping statement.


Never been a problem for me and too many things to look at that need to be documented.


Did you see a vent pipe at the exterior of roof?

Yah but who can knock Darin for not entering, He has every right not to A. and B. settles his decision. I myself will not enter a well insulated attic unless there is a path to travel.

If the access is in a closet, cover the clothes and such with a sheet. Put another sheet on the floor and take a Childs rake up with you. Step where the tops of the trusses indicate the lower truss cord is and rake the insulation smooth on the way out.

I can’t even begin to say how many defects I found because I did that. Some of the defects were life threatening.

Just my opinion. YMMV


Thank you Greg. You get on this forum for some friendly assistance, which a lot of people provide, but there are always those few who feel the need to turn it into something it is not meant to be. A place to compare yourself to others, point out what they do differently than you so you can feel better about yourself. It’s sad really…

1 Like

Larry, how you doing. You seem to be a level headed guy on this forum, so I hope you understand this is not a punch thrown but just a thought and conversation. And I am open to look at things in other perspectives. Just a scenario question? I do not have the answer I am just asking. So you can either inspect the attic or not enter, It don’t seem to me as if there is a wrong or right way about it. So let’s say you choose to inspect and you miss a open junction box because of the 12” of insulation and it arcs and starts a fire. Then the homeowner says well you inspected the attic why did you not catch that! Or else you could just claim you did not enter the attic except to view from the access opening so you are washing your hands of it because it could not be seen. Is my scenario here a fair call out, or am I missing another way of looking at it.

My intentions are not to simplify my inspecting or take the easiest road but to protect myself, I feel I would be leaving to much in jeopardy if I said I did inspect the attic when in reality you will not catch it all because of the insulation. I understand inspecting the attic would lift you past other inspectors but what about the liability?

I’m picturing Larry raking the insulation in the attic after he makes a big mess :smiley: :rofl: :joy:

Greg, you disclaim it even if you do enter it… not everything was visible… attic is full of insultation, some areas unreachable, etc… just like any other part of the house that has similar limited view and access.


Ok makes sense, good point about disclaiming, entering the attic is what I intend to do for every inspection, but honestly I don’t always because I don’t want to step down a nicely layered attic of insulation. But we don’t know Darins circumstance for not entering, then to have others say he should have caught the cut pipes.

That’s just absolute nonsense.

1 Like

I inspect all attics if they are accessible. I do as Larry does with the small rake, sheets, etc. Also have some 1/2" x 12" x 4’ pieces of plywood in my truck in case I need them to walk on. I do a lot of larger homes and some of the attics are huge. You have to get into the attics to do justice to the inspection. I especially look for the vent pipes, any exhausts, roof penetrations, wiring, etc.
I also have a small battery vacuum to clean up when done.

1 Like

Greg, I am retired and when I was inspecting I chose to inspect attic as indicated above.

Home inspections is not for the faint of heart (Not calling you that.)

I’m sure I missed things over the years but not life threatening things that I know of.

I am happy with how that part of my career went. :smile:

We take our best education to the game and try to win every time. IMHO