What Are Sewer Cleanouts?


Did you know that your home’s plumbing system includes a sewer cleanout? It’s an important part of your plumbing system, and it’s something you should know about. In this blog post, we’ll explain what a sewer cleanout is and why it’s important.

What is a sewer cleanout?

A sewer cleanout is a plumbing fitting that allows access to your home’s “clean out” valve, usually for routine cleaning. It can be found near, above, or below ground depending on its configuration and number (single, double, etc.). If you are experiencing frequent clogs in your main drain lines, this is a common solution to use. It should be checked for proper function at least once a year or more often depending on usage.

What are the different types of sewer cleanouts?

There are three basic types of sewer cleanouts: single cleanout, double cleanout, and test tee cleanouts.

What is a single cleanout?

A single cleanout consists of a solid plug that fits into the top of the fitting. It has a swinging arm which allows for easy access to the cleaning tool. A cable with a grabber, auger, or snakehead can be inserted through the center opening and turned so as to open or close the valve.

What is a double cleanout?

A double cleanout consists of two access points, one on either side of the fitting. A double cleanout has two shafts connecting to the lateral sewer line by forming a ‘U’. This type of cleanout is often used in conjunction with a test tee, which will be discussed later on this page.

What is a test tee cleanout?

A test tee allows you to perform pressure tests without having to remove the drainpipe from the building. The fitting consists of three access ports. Two are for the cleanout shafts, and the third is for a pressure test point. A tee is most often used in conjunction with double or triple cleanouts.

Why Do You Need a Sewer Cleanout

Sewer cleanouts are essential in any plumbing and waste management system. This is simply because a clogged sewer is an unpleasant issue, and is a hygiene hazard. You certainly don’t want any waste to return to your house due to a blockage. Additionally, it can interrupt the normal functioning of other plumbing fixtures in your house.

Here’s a small list of benefits of having a sewer cleanout on your property:

  • Low Maintenance Costs: This is especially true if your home plumbing system is made of PVC instead of cast iron. But more importantly, a sewer cleanout ensures that your waste drainage is correct and there are no extra costs involved in regular check-ups of your plumbing system.
  • Easier and Effective Cleaning: A sewer cleanout ensures perfect visibility when a video camera is inserted through the pipeline. The high visibility means effective cleaning of the blockage is possible.
  • Protects Landscaping: The sewer cleanout ensures that the lateral sewer line need not be dug up from your front or backyard in case of a major blockage. Because the sewer cleanout provides easy access to the lateral sewer line, it ensures that the blockage is visible and cleared without landscaping.
  • Backflow Prevention: If the main municipal sewer ever experiences a major blockage issue, opening up your sewer cleanouts will ensure that the municipal waste does not end up in your house. 
  • Do all houses have sewer cleanouts

Do all houses have sewer cleanouts?

No, not all houses have sewer cleanouts. However, they are very important in the plumbing system of a house.

Can sewer cleanouts be moved?

Yes, sewer cleanouts can be moved. However, in most cases, they are not meant to be moved after they have been installed.

Are sewer cleanouts necessary?

In many cases, a cleanout is not necessary. However, in some places such as between two homes or between a home and a business establishment, a cleanout is essential to ensure proper and safe drainage of water and waste.

How to find sewer cleanout?

Sewer cleanouts can be easily located by a professional plumber. However, a homeowner can also locate them by looking for the lateral water pipe coming out of the house and running to an area with grass.

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