Sewer Cleanout For Your House 101: Everything You Should Know!

Are you experiencing issues with your home's plumbing system? If so, you may need a sewer cleanout to fix the problem.

A sewer cleanout is a crucial component of your home's plumbing system, allowing easy access to the main sewer line.

A white sewer cleanout in the garden

Knowing what a sewer cleanout is and how to use it properly is important to avoid costly repairs and potential health hazards.

In this article, we'll cover everything you have to know about sewer cleanouts. We'll explain how it works, where to find it in your home, and its main benefits.

Let's start!

What Is A Sewer or Drain Cleanout - How Does It Work?

A sewer cleanout is an access point that allows plumbers to address problems in your home's main plumbing line to the sewer system.

It typically consists of a capped pipe that connects to the lateral sewer line. This connects your home's sewer lines to the municipal sewers or septic tank.

When a clog occurs, a plumber can thread a camera through the access point to determine where and what's causing the blockage. This allows them to address the issue quickly and accurately without digging your yard.

Not all plumbing systems have cleanouts. But most newer ones have at least one, and many older systems can be retrofitted with a sewer cleanout.

Types of Sewer Cleanout

There are three main types that you should be aware of. Each type has a specific purpose and knowing can help you determine the best course of action.

  • Test tee cleanout: The test tee is a sewer cleanout typical in newer homes. It is a T-shaped fitting installed in the sewer line during construction to allow easy access to the system.
  • Single cleanout: This is the most common type, typically located in the basement or crawlspace. A single pipe extends from the sewer line to the ground's surface with an easily removable cap.
  • Double cleanout: Works similar to the single cleanout but has two pipes instead of one. One goes into the house, while the other extends to the public sewer system, offering more accessibility points.

Where Can I Find My Main Cleanout?

As mentioned, the main cleanout is a pipe that connects your home's plumbing system to the main sewer line. It's usually a four-inch-diameter pipe with a cap located on your property.

Here are the most common places to find your main cleanout.


If your home has a basement, the main cleanout is likely located there.

Look for a pipe that goes straight down into the ground. It should have a cap on it that can be unscrewed. If you are having trouble finding it, try looking for a larger pipe than the others.

Related article: Basement Drain Backing Up After Shower – What To Do?


If your home does not have a basement, the main cleanout is likely outside.

It is usually close to the home's foundation, often covered by a round plastic or metal lid. Look for a pipe sticking out of the ground with a cap on it.

Utility Areas or Bathrooms

In some homes, the main cleanout is in a bathroom or utility area. You'll usually find a pipe out of the wall or floor with a cap on it. If you have a utility room, it might be located there.

Benefits of A Sewer Cleanout

Here are some benefits of having a sewer cleanout.

  • Cheaper and easier repairs: A cleanout makes it easier for plumbers to access the sewer line and perform necessary repairs. This can save time and money in the long run.
  • Maintenance cost savings: With a cleanout, it is easier to maintain and service the sewer line, preventing major issues from occurring and preventing excavation costs.
  • Prevents backflow: Backflow occurs when wastewater flows back into your home due to a clog. This can lead to serious health hazards. By installing a cleanout, you can prevent backflow and protect your family.
  • Landscape protection: Plumbers may need to dig up your yard to access the sewer line for maintenance without a cleanout. Having one allows for easy clearance of blockages while protecting your landscaping.

What If I Don’t Have A Sewer Clean Out?

If your house doesn't have a sewer cleanout, it can be challenging to access the main sewer line.

However, there are still a few ways to clean out the line.

Access the Sewer Line from the Roof

Accessing the main sewer line by going up on the roof is one way to clear out a clog, but it can be difficult and dangerous.

The many turns in the pipes make it difficult to get a camera through, and in most cases, the equipment cannot reach the main sewer line. This can make it challenging to remove the blockage.

Additionally, going up on the roof can be hazardous, especially in bad weather or during the winter months.

Due to these challenges, it's best to contact a plumber to clear out the clog and access the main sewer line safely.

A professional plumber has the right equipment and expertise to safely and efficiently clear out the clog, preventing further damage to your home and ensuring your sewer line is functioning properly.

Remove the Toilet

Another way to access the main sewer line is by removing the toilet. This method is also invasive and requires some plumbing knowledge.

The plumber will remove the toilet and use a drain snake or motorized auger to clear out the clog. Once the clog is cleared, the plumber will reinstall the toilet.

Continue reading: Small Bubbles In Toilet After Flushing—What’s Wrong?

What Happens If I Don’t Have A Sewer Cleanout?

Without a sewer cleanout, it can be difficult to diagnose and repair sewer line issues, which can lead to costly and time-consuming repairs.

Additionally, you run the risk of backflow, which can cause damage to your home and create an unsanitary living environment.

It can result in a range of issues, including flooding sewage into your home, slow water removal through pipes, flooding in your yard, and other annoying, costly headaches.

If you don't have a sewer cleanout, it's essential to have one installed as soon as possible. This will help prevent future problems and make it easier to access and fix any issues.

How To Install A Sewer Cleanout?

It's important to note that installing a sewer cleanout is not recommended for homeowners as it requires specialized skills and knowledge. Therefore, it's best to contact a reputable plumber for assistance.

A professional plumber can help you choose the right type of sewer cleanout for your needs and install it properly.

They have the experience and expertise to ensure the installation is done correctly and the sewer cleanout is functioning properly.

When you contact the plumber, provide them with all the necessary details about your home, including the location of the sewer line, the type of sewer cleanout you want, and any other relevant information.

They will then give you an estimate of the cost of the installation.

You might also like: How To Seal Overflow Drain

Cost To Install A Sewer Cleanout Professionally

The cost to professionally install a sewer cleanout can vary widely depending on a number of factors, including the location of your sewer line, the depth of the line, and the type of materials used.

The average cost of a sewer cleanout installation is $2,600, which includes both materials and labor.

However, the cost can range from as low as $1,000 for a simple installation to as high as $3,000 for a more complicated installation that requires extensive excavation.

It's important to note that in addition to the cost of the installation itself, there may be additional considerations with the project.

For example, you may need to rent excavation tools, which can cost roughly $200 per day, or purchase additional equipment, which can cost up to $500.

Additionally, you may need to clean the sewer line before installation, which can add another $350 to your total cost.

When considering the cost of a sewer cleanout installation, it's important to remember that this is an investment in your home's infrastructure.

A properly installed sewer cleanout can help prevent costly repairs and damage, saving you money in the long run.

Final Thoughts

Congratulations! You're now equipped with everything you need to know about sewer cleanouts.

With this knowledge, you can be confident in maintaining your home's plumbing system and avoiding expensive repairs.

Remember to locate your sewer cleanout and keep it easily accessible. Regularly inspect it for any signs of damage or blockage. If you notice any issues, don't hesitate to call a professional plumber.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your home's plumbing system runs smoothly for years.

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