Sewer Cleanout to Prevent Future Problems

sewer pipes
  • 1-8 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-200

A sewer cleanout is necessary maintenance for a sewer line. The cleanout is a capped pipe or tube to a sewer line that will allow property owners and city sewer personnel the ability to clean blockages in the sewer. In many areas, cleanouts are located along the lateral sewer line that connects the house plumbing to the city's plumbing system. Consider the below tips for sewer cleanout as preventative maintenance.

1. Know the Location of Sewer Cleanouts

Sewer cleanouts are located at different points on a property. In order to keep sewer systems functioning properly, you have to know where the cleanout pipes are located. If you should have difficulty locating the cleanouts, consult your municipality to help you determine where the sewer cleanouts are.

Once you've determined where the cleanouts are, ensure they are unobstructed for easy access to prevent blockage. While most cleanouts can be located outside the home, in areas that have consistent snowfall in winter months, the cleanout can be located in a basement, so they are easily found.

2. Cleanout Maintenance

Use a wrench to access a cleanout pipe. Once opened, you can use a plumbing snake to push down into the pipe and clear any blockage to enable the continuous flow of waste. It may be necessary at times to use a camera to determine where the blockage is. The plumbing camera is also inserted down into the pipe and transmits an image of the environment inside the pipe. Once the blockage is identified, the plumbing snake should be employed to remove the blockage to prevent backup.

3. Rental Properties

Owners of rental properties should inform tenants of where each sewer cleanout is located and instruct them on the use of the tools to unblock a clogged line. The occupants of a home or rental property are responsible for lateral clogs and sewer cleanout. Larger cleanouts along the city lines are the responsibility of the city employees.

4. Turn Off Water Supply

Whenever a home's sewer system is backing up, it is good practice to turn off the water supply and investigate the cause of the sewer backup. Most backup is discovered at the lateral line. Checking all sewer cleanouts and performing the required maintenance often resolves the issue. However, in instances where the backup is persistent, it will be necessary to report it to city officials that there is a blockage in their side of the sewer system.

5. City Sewer Cleanouts

Your city's sewer cleanouts are larger than the ones in or around your home because of the larger city pipes. When a blockage occurs in the city's area of responsibility, city employees will use plumbing snakes and well as plumbing cameras to identify and clear the blockage. If blockages continue to happen in a particular area over a period of time, city officials will ask residents to be more aware of items that should not be sent into the sewer system. Such items can cause a more severe risk to a sewer system other than blockage.