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What Is a ‘Cleanout’ and Why You Should Know Where It’s Located at Your Home

A pipe submerged in water Clogs are not something you think about every day until they happen in your home. While any clog in your pipes could be bad, a mainline clog can become a big problem for homeowners.

A mainline helps transport wastewater from the home to underground sewer mains. A clog in the mainline can lead to a raw sewage backup coming out of the drains, causing significant damage and resulting in an expensive sewer line repair or replacement. Understanding how to respond to the warning signs can save you time and money.

When you have a mainline clog, refrain from using any drain in your home’s plumbing fixtures until the problem is resolved. It’s best for a licensed plumber to clear a mainline clog from a fitting referred to as the main ‘cleanout.’ Every home should have at least one cleanout, and most homes have multiple – do you know where yours is located?

Finding this fitting or fittings is not always an easy task, as the location varies from home to home. The cleanout is normally a large-diameter pipe with a threaded plug or screw cap on top, and it may extend above ground on an outside wall or rest inside a ground box. In newer homes, cleanouts are usually located outside, between the foundation and the street or near a bathroom.

In older homes, the placement varies. The best places to look are in the main bathroom near the toilet, in the basement near the foundation wall, and in a garage or utility area. Larger homes usually consist of two or three cleanout fittings. If you have trouble locating your cleanout, consult your home’s plot plans or call in a professional.

Keep in mind that clogs tend to rear their ugly heads at off times, such as weekends or night times, which means you could end up having to pay your plumber for extra time (at his emergency rate), if finding your home’s cleanout becomes a problem. The last thing you want is to fumble around outside in the dark during the night, trying to help your plumber find the cleanout.

Cleanouts can all look different and be located in different places inside or outside the home. The best plan is to know where yours is located before a clog becomes an issue.

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