How to Find Your Sewer Access Point (Cleanout)
March 29, 2018
There are some things that every homeowner should know the location of: electrical panel(s), gas and water shut-off valves, and… the sewer access point(s). Here, we’ll be focusing on locating your sewer access point (aka “clean-out”).
What is a sewer access point and where is it?
Also referred to as a “clean-out,” the sewer access point allows plumbers to access the sewer line for emergencies, camera inspections, drain cleanings and more. Every home should have one, but if your home was built before 1950, you may not have an exterior clean-out. Ask your plumber.
The main sewer line (which connects to the city) can usually be found around the exterior of the home. Look around the front curb. You may see an “S” near the front or side of your home. Follow a straight line from the S to your house and you should find the sewer access. Sometimes, your clean-out will be in your side or backyard.
A local plumber or the city’s sewer department can help you locate the exterior main sewer line if you are having difficulty locating it. If it hasn’t been accessed in a while, it may be covered with grass, mulch or something else.
In addition to the exterior clean-out, you may also have other clean-outs inside. It will often be found in an out-of-the-way area, such as crawl spaces, bathrooms, utility closets, but most likely, the basement.
What does a “clean-out” look like?
A clean-out is located in the ground. It will most likely be a 3 or 4-inch pipe that is capped. The cap can be unscrewed with a wrench. A larger home may have more than one sewer clean-out. The clean-out is located on the exterior of the home, on ground level, somewhere close to the foundation of the home.
Where do I look for the sewer access points?
Often the location of the sewer access point or points depends on the climate. Whether the sewer access is inside or outside the home is directly linked to the type of weather experienced in the area.
In colder climates, the main clean-out will be inside the home due to freezing. If you have a basement, look there first.
In milder climates the clean-out will be on the exterior of the home somewhere near the foundation and at ground level. It may even have been marked with an “S” for Sewer by the city at some point.
It might be obscured by landscaping if it’s outside. By walking around the exterior and searching for a hinged round cover over a pipe access, you will likely find it. When located, keep the access point clear and easily accessible by you or a plumber.
If the main sewer line itself gets clogged, you will need the help of a professional plumber. They will need to access the “clean-out” in order to return the pipes to working order. If the plumber has significant trouble locating the main sewer line, and you are unable to assist in locating it, this could potentially drive up the cost of your repair service.
If you are in need of pipe repair or drain cleaning services at your home and are unable to locate the main clean-out or sewer access points, do not hesitate to contact Fix-It 24/7. We will assist you in any of your plumbing needs and help you to locate the important sewer access point (or points) in or around your home.
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