Do You Know Where Your Sewer Clean Out Is?

Sewer Clean Out

There are only a few items about your plumbing system that every homeowner should know and one of the most important is the location of your sewer clean out.

What is a sewer clean out?

A sewer clean out is a capped pipe that is connected to your sewer system for easier cleaning.  It’s usually an exposed piece of pipe for easy access but on some older homes it can require a little rooting around to find it.  Many modern homes may actually have more than one sewer clean out depending on how large of a sewer and drain system they have in the building.

Typically the cleanout will lead straight into the main city sewer lines, or into your septic tank if you are on a septic system.  Because the clean out is on the outside of your home any mess from plumbing repairs or work on the system can generally be contained outside.

It’s important for every homeowner to know the location of their sewer clean out for a few reasons.  Most importantly in the event of a plumbing emergency such as a clogged sewer line knowing the location of your sewer clean out will save your plumber time and you money.  If you are a handyman (or woman) type of homeowner and you happen to have a 25′ to 50′ sewer snake (available at Home Depot) then knowing where and how to access your sewer clean out could actually save you from having to call a plumber if the problem is just a simple clog.

What if my home doesn’t have a sewer clean out?

This is not uncommon with older homes, and it’s a problem that any HeroicPlumber could solve for you.  It’s not a huge job, but does require some digging, some cutting and joining of pipes and then a little restoration work to make it all look pretty.  Any competent plumber can complete a project like this in less than a day or two if it’s straight forward.  If you have a complex plumbing/sewer system then obviously it might take a little longer but in the event of a plumbing disaster (it’s going to happen one day) having access to a good sewer clean out will make everyones job easier.

Can I rent a snake and send it down my sewer clean out to repair a clogged drain?

Technically, yes you can.  But ONLY do this if you know for sure what has clogged the drain and if it can be retrieved with a snake.  It is always advisable that you DO NOT rent a mechnically powered snake.  Used in the wrong hands they can destroy your plumbing system in a hurry, with repair bills being potentially astronomical.  If you MUST use a sewer snake do so carefully, slowly and so you don’t damage any of the pipes.

Before any reputable plumber would send a snake down your sewer clean out to fix a clog they would first want to know exactly what was clogging the line (if it’s even a clog and not a broken pipe) and this is accomplished using a special camera system that can be sent down your sewer clean out.  Once your plumber knows what the problem is they can use your sewer clean out to quickly access and repair the issues.

If you don’t know where your sewer clean out is, then take a few minutes out of your day to locate it.  You never know when it’s going to save the day, and save the day it will when you have a blocked sewage pipe.