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locating main clean-out

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  • locating main clean-out there a way to find the main sewer clean-out in a home? i looked outside and every square inch in the basement and can't find any. is it possible and common to have a house without a clean-out? the home was built in 1957. is there a way to find the clean-out with a camera in the lines? please share your thoughts. and if a home doesn't have a main clean-out and you suspect the main is clogged, which drain is best to snake in hope of going to the street. thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Re: locating main clean-out

    look in the basement at the end of the line. typically it's a 3'' or 4'' main and suppose to have an end of line cleanout or a 2 way c/o in the front yard.

    a camera is a great way to find a buried tee/ c/o. but when it stopped up, all you can locate is the pipe. seeing a c/o in merky waste water is pretty rare.

    you should be able to trace the line out the basement towards the exit of the house. how deep could it be under the dirt?

    phoebe it is


    • #3
      Re: locating main clean-out

      Assuming you still have Cast Iron mains, you're not going to take the clean out plug off with a wrench anyways, unless you break it out and replace the plug.

      On the Eastern side of Pennsylvania, most cast iron mains have building traps, with a lawn vent sticking up. I'm going to have to say it's quite doubtful for a cast iron clean-out to be underground in the suburbs of any major city in our state, except for the big cities. I could be wrong though, but I've been to many places in our state, and just about all the places have building traps outside. Not sure if you're the original owner of the home, but it's quite possible that if you had a lawn vent outside, it was cut down so it's below grade so it's not an eye sore, and so the tractor can mow over it.

      If you don't have a clean-out anywhere, your best bet is to pull the closest toilet where the sewer leaves the house, and snake it/ camera it from there. Then could Peter Pan to the roof and go that way down the stack.


      • #4
        Re: locating main clean-out

        Don't waste a bunch of time looking for a cleanout .More than likely it is buried in a finished wall where the stack comes down. Pull a toilet or snake down the stack vent on the roof. The Peter Pan thing works just be careful and have enough cable to hit the main sewer..Good luck
        ''Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" Benjamin Franklin


        • #5
          Re: locating main clean-out

          First thing I do on a job is try to locate a proper clean out. Most home owners have no idea what a clean out is. I start with the stack. We have some split level homes where the clean out on the stack comes down a common wall with the garage, and it has been drywalled over. I ask to open the wall there and 9 times out of 10 there is the clean out. Some have the clean outs in the floor in the basement near the foundation wall, and a few of these have been cemented over when they poured the floors, I use a metal detector to try and pinpoint the plug. If all else fails I pull the water closet and rod from there.
          Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
          A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
          Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
          Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing


          • #6
            Re: locating main clean-out

            I would suggest pulling the toilet and running a sewer cable then you can use a section valve locator used for sprinkler lines to locate the pipe and install new double cleanouts! Just my thoughts!