Sewer cleanouts are an important part of your property’s plumbing system especially if your kitchen or bathroom smells like sewage. Without these cleanouts, you would have to constantly deal with problems that crop up in the sewer pipes such as clogs and cracks. The good news is that sewer cleanouts are easy to find.
In this article, we’re going to show you what your sewer clean-out is and how to find it. We’ll also speak about how to check if it’s blocked and in such cases, how to clear the blockages. Let's dive deep into this topic.
What is a sewer clean-out?
A sewer clean-out is a pipe that goes from your house to the city sewer system. It’s usually located in the basement, but it could be anywhere on your property. You can find a clean-out by looking for a water meter or inspection cover near the street.
Image Credit: http://mrrooter.com
If you don’t know where to find one, call a plumber and they'll help you locate it.
Once you've found it, use a garden hose with an attachment to clear any blockages inside. This will fix most of the problems caused by tree roots growing into pipes or cracks in joints or seals.
If the blockage is too severe, you might need to call in a professional plumber to clear it for you. If it’s not too serious, you can also do a cleanup yourself. Let's discuss how to do this.
How do I clear a blockage?
To deal with tree roots growing into pipes or cracks in joints or seals, use a garden hose with an attachment to clear any blockages inside the sewer clean-out. Here are some tips for clearing the blockage:
1) Connect the hose to your septic or city mainline at least 2 – 3 feet from the street
2) Place one end of the hose as far as possible inside your clean-out
3) Slowly turn on the water supply until you see that all debris has been cleared away
4) For stubborn blockages, turn the hose end to end as you try to clear it out
5) Once your clean-out is free of any debris, disconnect the hose and cap the end. Do not use harsh chemicals because they can damage your house's plumbing system.
Let's now move on and look at what causes these sewer cleanout problems in the first place.
What causes a blockage?
Tree roots: When tree roots grow into pipes or cracks in joints or seals, they cause blockages that lead to trouble such as clogged sewers and water seepage. To avoid this type of problem, take care of your trees and keep them trimmed.
Clogs: Hair, grease and other debris can clog up your sewer pipes over time, which will cause a blockage. To avoid this, install a mesh drain cover to catch any large pieces of debris before they enter the sewer pipes.
Sumps: If your house is located on a sloping property, there is a danger that rainwater might accumulate in your septic tank or sewer line and cause a blockage. You can prevent this by installing proper drainage around your house.
Dented or broken pipes: When a pipe is damaged, it can cause a blockage as well. If you suspect that a pipe is damaged, call a plumber to have it repaired.
Remember to take care of your trees, keep your drains clear and install proper drainage around your house to avoid any current and future problems.
Other factors to consider
Remember that your sewer clean-out is just one part of your plumbing system. If you have any other problems such as clogged drains, call a plumber for help. They will be able to clear the blockage and fix the problem.
Also, remember to keep an eye on your water bills. If they start to increase unexpectedly, it might mean that you have a plumbing leak somewhere in your house. Get a plumber to check it out and fix the problem before it gets worse.
Municipal sewer lines are sometimes the cause of a blockage. If you find out that your problem is caused by the city sewer, contact your city council and they will send someone to fix it.
Also, don't automatically assume that your house's plumbing system is at fault if you have problems such as an overflowing toilet or low water pressure. Sometimes the problem may be due to another section of the city's sewage lines instead. Here, it’s also best to get in touch with your local authority for further information about your specific case.
Next, ensure that your waste disposal system is working properly. If it grinds poorly, your drains may get clogged up more easily because there will be a build-up of food waste in them.
Keep an eye on your water meter when you have plumbing problems such as a blocked sewer cleanout. This helps find leaks and pin down any problems to specific times or areas of the house.
Finally, consider having a pipe wrench on hand to loosen any tight fittings that you may come across while clearing a blockage. Being handy will save you the time and money that you would have spent on finding a plumber.
Sewer Clean Out Where To Find It – FAQ
Where is the sewer clean-out located on my property?
The sewer clean-out is typically located in the yard near the house, close to where the sewer line leaves your property. It is a vertical pipe that sticks up out of the ground and has a cover or cap on top. You may also see a small metal box (called a manhole) near the clean-out.
How do I know if my sewer clean-out is clogged?
If water starts backing up into your drains or toilet when you are flushing or running water, then there is likely a blockage somewhere in the sewer line. The easiest way to tell if the blockage is at the clean-out is to pour a bucket of water into it. If it backs up into your sewer drain or toilet, then you have a problem.
The line may be clogged because there is too much water pressure coming into the house or perhaps someone mistakenly dropped something down into the drain that shouldn't have been there. Dogs are also known to dig holes by the clean-out and cause blockages.
Unclogging your toilet can be done at home with the right tools, but you should really get a professional to look at your sewer cleanout if it is not working properly.
What do I do if my sewer line is blocked?
If you know there is something stuck in your line, use a plunger to try and dislodge it. The best tool for this job, however, is a plumbing snake, which can rid your lines of most clogs with relative ease.
You will need to insert the cable into the clean-out, then feed it down through your line until you feel it drop into the main drain. Then crank the handle to send the cable further down. When it gets near where you know there's a clog, turn the handle clockwise again to back up any debris that is loose in your line. You should be able to pull out some nasty stuff this way.
Image Credit: http://augerpros.com
Why does my kitchen sink smell like sewage?
If your kitchen sink smells like sewage, you may have some sewage stuck in there. In those cases, find your clean-out and remove the plug. Then you can try using an air compressor to push air into it while someone flushes the toilet to rid the sink of its terrible smell.
Final thoughts on sewer cleanout where to find it
While the inconvenience of having a blocked sewer clean-out is an ordeal, it's better than getting your entire plumbing system damaged by water leaking through clogged pipes.
Remember to keep trees at bay, keep your drain clear and install proper drainage around your house to avoid problems in the future. If there are any other problems with your plumbing system (such as pipe breaks) never attempt to fix them on your own.
By doing so, you may end up causing more damage to your home and spending much more than you would have if you called the professionals in the first place.