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What is a Sewer Line Cleanout?

That capped black fitting on your pipe is a sewer cleanout, also referred to as a drain cleanout, and a direct access point to your house’s sewer system.

Finding them around your house can be taxing, but unclogging drains, pipes, and sewer lines can be much easier when you can access them.

It’s challenging to find their placements around your house without a lot plan, but here’s how you can locate them without a map.

Where Can I Find My Home’s Drain Cleanout?

An outdoor drain cleanout located outside is connected to your main sewer line, which links your house’s sewage to the city’s sewage system and ensures all your waste water is disposed of properly.

You can locate the outside cleanout of your house by locating the nearest manhole on a public access road.

Once you find the manhole, face your house and walk in its direction. You can find your drain cleanouts located outside your house more quickly, as the link between the municipal sewer line in the manhole and the main sewer line inside your house tends to go straight.

Drain cleanouts located inside can be seen directly linked to your home’s pipes. They are typically found on a Y-shaped pipe-fitting at the last mile before sewage exits your house. While lines connect, their drain cleanout has a distinguishable threaded plug fitted with a black, grey, or white square nut. 

They look like a removable plastic cap covering, providing access to blockages and clogging. Older homes might have a cast-iron cover instead of a plastic or PVC one.

A square nut of plastic or cast iron isn’t always easily removable without proper plumbing tools. You can use metal pliers to twist cast-iron nuts off the cover, but it might be too harsh on PVC materials.

While a sewer line cleanout is meant to grant accessibility, you should leave its management to the professionals.

Does a Residential House Have a Sewer Line?

While not all homes have a sewer cleanout, everyone has a sewer line!

All that waste water pumping through the drain line ends up in your plumbing’s septic system. A sewer cleanout is helpful because it provides plumbers with easy access to reach clogs.

Plumbers can clear clogs caught in your pipes more efficiently with their tools and know-how when they have direct access to your home’s main sewer line.

What Is the Main Sewer Line?

Before we go any further, it is exactly what you think it is. It’s all the pipes involved in handling your household’s sewage.

The drain linked to your toilets is led out of your home through your sewer line. It facilitates waste management correctly, which is essential because human wastes carry dangerous gases.

When there’s a clog anywhere within your pipes, wastes build up within your drainage pipes. Clogs constrict sufficient water flow leading to compounded blockages. Their decomposition within sewer lines can redirect toxic water flow into your plumbing systems. They could come out of your shower drain, toilet, and other plumbing fixture.

Additionally, it is a terrible thing for its decomposition to result in widespread evaporation. If you smell a funk from your kitchen sink, that’s most likely the smell of your sewage. Is it such a terrible thing to smell sewage?

Yes, it is not only a nasty nuisance, but it is more dangerous than you think it is.

Most homeowners do not know this, but the members of your household aren’t just smelling something filthy from a blocked pipe. You are all inhaling dangerous gases such as methane.

Methane and other toxic gases are byproducts of your waste’s decomposition. A plumber wears masks and other protective gear before cleaning your drain or main line. These protocols aren’t because of the residue they might inhale that result from the industrial solvents they use reacting with your copper drainage lines. Methane and other waste gases are hazardous to inhale in large volumes or chronically in small amounts.

Having a sewer cleanout is most helpful in these cases. While professionals still need to wear protective gear, their risks of exposure are greatly lessened.

However, some homes might not have sewer cleanouts inside their home because they have another type of plumbing fixture.

Septic Tank

A septic tank may have a drain cleanout. Unfortunately, not all septic tanks come with this accessibility.

More and more plumbing companies encourage homeowners to install a drain cleanout, especially into a septic tank. It will not only be easier for a plumber to handle your plumbing needs by hastening the removal of a clog backing up your toilet but is now required by Building Codes in residences nationwide.

A Residential Home’s Plumbing System

According to 2012’s Building Codes, a home built anywhere on a pier, beam, or slab foundation must have a plumbing system fitted with a cleanout.

If you have checked indoors and outdoors, under any lawn decorations, without locating any cleanout, you might find another plumbing access point.

In Case Your House Doesn’t Have a Cleanout

If you live in a building, inspect utility rooms for a double vent house trap installed indoors that may act as plumbing access points. However, their use is obsolete but likely still utilized in buildings built in 1989 and the years prior.

A house trap doesn’t share the same primary purpose as the cleanout. Still, its supplemental effect is catching contaminants that may clog a pipe. However, a double-vented house trap’s primary purpose is to trap hazardous gases such as methane from evaporating or flowing back into your home’s pipes.

Even the smallest clogs in your pipe often lead to backflow and cause harmful risks to areas with floor or sink drains. If you have stayed in the bathroom for a prolonged period and started getting light-headed or dizzy, you might need to have your pipes examined by a professional.

Signs There is Something Wrong with Your Sewer Line

If you notice any of these signs below, there might be something wrong with your sewer drain.

  • The smell of sewage in unusual places. (Kitchen, shower area, garden, etc.)
  • Backflow from toilet drain and bathroom floor drain.
  • Gurgling noises from toilet, sink, shower, or hose.
  • Inability or slow draining of toilet, shower, or sink.
  • Leaking pipe.
  • Wet spots on the ceiling.
  • Mold around wall corners or on walls of rooms adjacent to half or full bathrooms.

You should call a professional plumber at the sign of one or more of these symptoms. These can lead to additional risks and damages that may incur increased costs. However, if you are pinching pennies now, there are preventive and semi-curative measures you can take to remedy minor clogging.

How to clean your drainage pipes

All your drainage pipes are connected to a single sewer pipe at the bottom of your house’s piping system that leads to the city’s sewage.

While it isn’t directly linked to the sewer, snaking the drain of your kitchen sink, shower, and bathroom sink can help alleviate any pressure buildup indirectly affecting your sewer.

If you don’t have snaking attachments linked to your drain or have any snaking tools in your toolbox, you might have two everyday household items lying around your home that can be useful.

non-toxic compound to clean out your drain

Vinegar, baking soda, and warm water can do your plumbing system wonders.

Create a powerful non-toxic solvent by adding half a cup of baking soda to a cup of vinegar. Run warm water on your sink or shower, and pour your homemade compound down the drain to dislodge or soften impurities clogging your drain. After ten minutes, flush it with hot water to clean everything out.

How You can prevent clogging your main sewage line

Make it a habit to snake your drain. Because toxic gases can also attach themselves to moist particles resting in your pipes, you should run them with warm water to prevent any buildup of contamination, especially mold and mildew.

You can never entirely avoid clogging lines, but by hiring a routine maintenance service, you can prevent chronic clogging. You can also ensure you never face severe clogging by observing these habits:

  • Don’t flush food down toilets.
  • Don’t flush grease or oil into toilets or sink drains. 
  • Don’t dispose of cooked or raw food through drain pipes.

Is Having a Sewer Line Cleanout Beneficial?

Some homes have them to make their sewer lines more accessible for maintenance and tune-ups. It is most helpful if a clog in your pipes needs remedying.

Only plumbing professionals should go through this access point to prevent causing more clogging that might back up your pipes.

Who Should I Call for Proper Installation and Repairs of Drain Cleanouts?

If you live anywhere in Melbourne, Florida, or surrounding areas, Mac 5 Services can provide your home with expert quality sewer line installation and all your plumbing needs.

Reach out to Mac5 Services

Mac 5 Services is equipped with the necessary tools and knowledgeable technicians not only to install but execute reliable sewer line repair, upgrade, and maintenance of your plumbing systems.

We can help you get things back in line and prevent future problems. For immediate concerns and inquiries, call our hotline below.

Call (321) 380-1776

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