Homeowner's Guide To Sewer Line Cleanouts

Homeowner's Guide To Sewer Line Cleanouts

3 June 2020
 Categories: , Blog


A sewer line clog can be a major issue. Fortunately, your sewer line is equipped with cleanout ports that make clearing out the problem much easier.

When Does a Sewer Line Require a Cleanout?

Sewer line clogs tend to affect every drain in your home. Sinks may drain slowly or backup, toilets may back up each time you flush, or sewage may actually come up tub or floor drains. If more than one drain, particularly in different areas of the home, are backing up, then the issue is likely in the sewer line and not in the individual drain.

Is the Cleanout the Homeowner's or the City's Responsibility?

Whether you or the city is responsible for cleaning the sewer line depends on where the clog is located. The sewer line that serves your home consists of two main sections — the main sewer line that typically runs under the street and serves all the homes on your blog, eventually emptying into the municipal treatment system, and the lateral line that connects your home to the mainline. If the clog is in the mainline, it is typically the city's responsibility to repair. Any issues in your lateral line are your responsibility.

Where Are Cleanout Ports Located?

The lateral line will be equipped with one or more cleanout ports. One port is often located in the basement, typically near a main floor drain or the sewer line stack. Another port may be located outside the home, near the foundation. There may be another port in the yard or near the property line where the lateral line hooks up to the mainline. Check for green utility box covers on your property, as these may contain the cleanout ports. A plumber or cleanout service can help you locate your ports, if necessary.

How Is the Cleanout Opened and Used?

There are two main types of cleanout port mechanisms. The simplest is a twist-off cap that you can open by hand. These are most commonly found indoors, but they may also be used outside. The second type requires a wrench to open. Make sure you have the right size of wrench to open the ports in the event you need to. If you have a clog, simply open the port and use an auger to clear it.

What If the Blockage Can't Be Removed?

Although minor clogs can be cleared with a drain auger, more major clogs can be too much for the average homeowner to fix. In this case, you will need to bring in a sewer line cleanout service. They can use cameras to locate the clog. If their powered augers can't breakthrough, then the service will likely use hydro jetting to clean out the line.

Contact a sewer line cleanout service for more help.

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