A clog in your home’s main drain line can cause a nasty backup. That drain line carries all the wastewater, including sewage, from your home to the main municipal sewer line under the street. You’ll need to know how to identify the main sewer cleanout for your house in order to save time and money when you have your sewer inspected or rodded out once a year.
What a Main Sewer Cleanout Looks Like
A main sewer cleanout is most commonly a four-inch pipe with a screw cap that has a square knob on top. Sometimes, instead of a protruding knob, your cleanout will have a square indentation. Either way, you will be able to open the cap with a special key tool that fits over the rectangle in the center of the cap or with a wrench.
Type of Foundation and Climate
The kind of foundation your home sits atop and the climate you live in will affect the location of your main sewer cleanout. In warmer climates, the capped pipe will be outside, usually in the front yard between your house and the street. Often, you can find the cleanout near the foundation, outside a bathroom. Homes built on slabs may have cleanouts inside, on the bathroom floor, or in a garage near a floor drain.
Homes in colder climates or those that have basements might have cleanouts in the basement, by the foundation, near the soil stack. Some cleanouts are located at the base of the soil stack, where it enters the concrete floor.
Larger homes may have several cleanouts. Older homes may not have one at all. If you can’t locate your cleanout, you can check your home’s plans. If you don’t have the plans, a plumber can help you locate where your drainpipe meets a drain out by doing a camera inspection.
Your Home’s Age
Although all homes should have cleanouts, many older homes do not. That makes it tough for a plumbing service to get into your pipes to auger them out when they need it. It’s important to keep your home’s main drain clear, inside and outside the house. If your home doesn’t have a cleanout, a licensed plumber can install one in an appropriate place.
To install a cleanout, it might be necessary to dig down to your sewer line outside on the inside of your home. If so, it’s best to select a specialized sewer and water main company with the proper license and insurance to conduct sewer inspections and exterior excavations.