Common Air Admittance Valve Problems and Solutions

An amateur plumber looking at the piping beneath a kitchen sink.

An air admittance valve is a valve that is completely pressure activated. It is for one-way mechanical vents that are used in a plumbing system, and it totally eliminates the need for a conventional roof and pipe venting penetration.

When there is a charge of water waste, the air admittance valve will open and release the vacuum. This will allow all of the air to enter the vent pipe and give the proper type of drainage. It is important that you know all of the things that could go wrong with this valve, so that you can keep it working for as long as possible.

Common Problems

Although air admittance valves are tested for their durability against rodents, sometimes they cannot persevere. Holes can sometimes still be chewed through if rats or mice are a persistent problem. If you happen to notice that your air admittance valve is acting like it is not sucking up what it should, then you may have a hole or two on your hands.

Sometimes you may find that even with an air admittance valve, there are still clogs and a sewer odor. While this is rare, it is possible. Remember that these valves should last anywhere from 20 to 30 years, so if they are only lasting for a couple of years, there may be some problems that need addressing.

Common Solutions

Your best bet when it comes to holes in your valve is to go to the root of the problem. Get an exterminator if you need as rodents can be a recurring cause for issues like this. If you feel like you can handle the pest control problem yourself then give it a try, but you still may want to keep an exterminator’s number handy just in case. As for fixing the holes, you are going to be better off getting a new valve. Just be sure your pests are under control before you do.

If your problem is not holes in the valve, it’s time to look at the valve itself. An air admittance valve leaving behind clogs and sewer odor is faulty, so be sure to find your receipt if you still have it and take the valve back as soon as you see that it is not working. Also, make sure that the air admittance valve is not itself clogged, as that can sometimes be an issue. If there are no clogs and everything seems to be free and clear, then return it immediately.


When it comes to an air admittance valve, there really are not that many problems that you will run into. You will be pleasantly surprised more often than not that they are great tools for keeping clogs and disgusting odors out of your pipes. If you do happen to run into problems and do not know what to do, call a professional; they will be able to diagnose the problem and fix it for you quickly as well as safely.