Do You Know about Your Sewer Cleanout – Why it’s Important and How to Locate It?
Mike Williams, , Plumbing Tips,
Sewer cleanouts aren’t the subject of everyday conversation, but they sure are when something goes wrong, aren’t they? In fact, most homeowners don’t know where their cleanouts are located or even what they do. Since backed up waste water in a home is such a terrible thing to contemplate, much less experience, we thought we’d take homeowners through a sewer cleanout – why it’s important and how to locate it. When they become the topic of everyday conversation, homeowners will know how to advise their fellow sufferers.
What is a Sewer Cleanout?
Plumbing pipes run all through a house. They come together in a main pipe system called a stack. From there, the sewage runs out of the house and into the county sewage system or a septic tank. Stuff happens, though, such as clogs of a dozen different types stopping a pipe from allowing waste water through. A sewer cleanout allows a snake or a hydrojetting tool to disperse the clog and get things running again.
And They’re Important for What Reason?
Waste water isn’t only smelly and unpleasant, it forms a health risk as well. When it seeps into the floors and baseboards before it’s cleaned up, waste water stays there, unless it’s cleaned immediately by professionals. That is a continued risk to the health of all who live in the house. Moreover, if the health department finds out about it, then the homeowner will be fined and instructed to get it cleaned up.
Additionally, dangerous gases build up in piping. Without a sewer cleanout with a proper cap on it, those gases could get into the air around the house or inside the house.
Where are Sewer Cleanout Pipes Located?
Not all plumbing is done to code, or in some places at least just enough to pass code. While most cleanouts are located outside the home, some (especially in older homes) are located inside. That could put the cleanout in several different places, including on the drain stack in the basement. A few pipes coming into the stack usually bend somewhere, and the cleanout on the stack is a better way of getting at the clog than removing a fixture like a toilet to get at the clog. Each stack has a roof exit, where a cleanout could be located. There are also cleanouts located outside the house in a line each 100 feet until they get to the main sewer line. The pipes will generally be either cast iron or PVC (plastic) piping with a cap of either plastic, brass or cast iron on top.
Anything Else We Should Know?
Absolutely. First, if you have a sewage problem, turn off the water immediately and stop using water fixtures like the washing machine and toilet. Second, find the sewer cleanout outside the house. Clear it of grasses, landscaping, dirt and debris and keep it clear. If homeowners can unscrew the cap, then they can get in there with a snake to unclog the line. If the homeowner can’t open the cap, then plumbers might need to be called. They will have the right wrenches with which to open the cap. They will also have a long enough snake or perhaps a hydrojetting tool if hydrojetting is required.
Hundreds of people every day need to unclog their sewer cleanout, but they haven’t a clue. Plumbing is usually a dank, dark, wet subject that homeowners don’t want to contemplate. Occasionally, though, you’ll need to know where the sewer cleanout is located. We hope this explanation helps. Bay Area Plumbing is available 24/7 for all of your plumbing needs. If you need help with a blockage, then please feel free to contact us for more information and help.
Cleanout Cap Replacement Program
What is a Cleanout Cap?
A cleanout is a vertical pipe that connects to the underground sanitary sewer system. It has a removable cap in case you or your plumber need to access the sewer line. Sanitary sewer cleanout pipes are typically located somewhere near the front of the house (sometimes hidden in a flower bed), and are made of PVC pipe.
Why Do I Need a Cleanout Cap?
- To prevent rainwater from entering the sanitary sewer system.
- To keep leaves, grass and other debris out of the line.
- To keep rodents and insects from entering the line and your house.
Cleanout Cap Replacement
Mansfield Water Utilities will replace a missing or damaged cleanout cap at no charge. Fill out the form with your contact information, and we will schedule a time to inspect and replace your cap. You don't need to be home while it's replaced, and we'll leave a note once it's been completed.
What Does a Cleanout Cap Look Like?
Cleanout caps can be various sizes, colors and materials. Your cap might be located in places like a flowerbed near the house, out in the yard, or in or near a sidewalk or driveway.
Tom-Kap 2" Flush-fit cleanout adapter & plug, PVC, 24Pk
om-Kap is a threaded cleanout adapter fitting that cements inside pipe providing a flush-finished cleanout for drain, waste, and vent systems.
- Reduces installation cost
- Simplifies rough-in
- Includes top fitting, Cap
Threaded adapter cements inside the pipe, providing a flush-finished cleanout for DWV systems
|Case Weight (lbs) :||2.65|
|Case Height (inch) :||5.00|
|Case Length (inch) :||5.25|
|Case Width (inch) :||7.75|
|Recommended Use :||Schedule 40, SDR-35, Foam core|
How to Replace a PVC Cleanout Plug
By Chris Deziel
The drain waste and venting system in your house should have several clean-out fittings placed in strategic locations to make it easier to clear blockages from the pipes. There is usually one at the point where the main toilet stack meets the sewer, which may be in the basement or just outside the house. In addition, there may be clean-outs on the sink P-traps and at the base of the main sewer vent. If the pipes are PVC, the clean-out plugs are too, and they are threaded. You can remove a damaged plug by unscrewing it.
Remove a damaged clean-out plug from a 3- or 4-inch waste line with a pipe wrench. Tighten the wrench around the square nut on the top of the plug and rotate the plug counterclockwise. It may be hard to turn, but if so, just use more force until you are successful. Tapping the handle of the wrench with a hammer may help to loosen a stubborn plug.
Drive a slot screwdriver at an angle into the surface of a plug that has a damaged nut, or from which the nut has been removed. Gently tap the screwdriver with a hammer until the plug starts to turn, then keep tapping until the plug is loose enough to turn by hand. Remember to turn the plug counterclockwise.
Inspect the threads on the clean-out fitting. If the plug was cracked, they may be soiled. If so, clean them off with water and a scrub brush.
Screw on a new plug and tighten it as much as you can by hand. Use the wrench to tighten it all the way. Apply reasonable force so that you tighten the plug securely without cracking the fitting.
Use an adjustable wrench or adjustable pliers to unscrew the clean-out plug from a P-trap. Place a bucket under the trap to catch the water that will spill out when you remove the plug. Turn the plug counterclockwise to remove it, install the replacement, and turn it clockwise to tighten it.
- Drain lines aren't under pressure, so there is no need to seal the threads of the new plug with plumbing tape or pipe dope. A clean-out plug is meant to be removed periodically, and sealing the threads will only make it harder to get off.
Chris Deziel has a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's degree in humanities. Besides having an abiding interest in popular science, Deziel has been active in the building and home design trades since 1975. As a landscape builder, he helped establish two gardening companies.
Cleanout cap pvc
Cleanout fittings are used in DWV projects to provide an easily accessible opening for cleaning or servicing the pipe line. If you've ever noticed a PVC pipe and square top plug sticking out of the grass or sidewalk, you've seen them before. Cleanout fittings fit into an existing pipe and have a female threaded end that accepts a male threaded plug. This design makes opening and closing the line simple. You can buy a cleanout adapter fitting or you can buy a cleanout adapter fitting and plug pair.
Our DWV cleanout adapters are made of white PVC and are resistant to corrosion. They can handle up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit like other PVC materials. The DWV PVC fittings we carry adhere to ASTM standards for DWV PVC fittings and are also NSF 14 certified for potable water use. DWV fittings, however, are usually used to handle drainage or venting of sewage. They are made for non-pressurized uses, and should not be used for pressurized liquid or gas. Cleanouts come in a range of sizes from relatively small pipe sizes to large diameter cleanout fittings with plugs. Plugs made for cleanout adapters come in raised plug or countersunk plug styles. They are threaded on the outside to screw into the cleanout fitting.
Save on all sizes of cleanouts and adapter/plug pairs. We have the best selection and best prices around on PVC Fittings Online.
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