A recent edition of Plumber Magazine reminds us to promote the benefits of outdoor sewer clean-out access to customers. Since we have had a few of these installations recently I thought it would be good to get this information out to you in our blog and newsletter.
Why do we suggest installing an outdoor sewer clean-out if you do not have one?
Hopefully we can help you understand the benefits by passing on the following information.
We are often called to clean out a blocked main sewer line. Depending on the age of a home the clean-out may be somewhere inside or might be missing altogether. This means we possibly need to pull the toilet to clear the line.
Sewer clean-outs can be in a crawlspace under the home, and sometimes in floors, walls, and ceilings. No matter the circumstances, it’s a dirty job and we have to do it. But sometimes it can be particularly difficult — if not impossible — to clean the main sewer line if you don’t have an outside clean-out we can access.
You may be concerned about where exactly an outside clean-out will have to be installed. After locating the exact area where the home’s sewer line exits the building, we’ll dig a hole to expose the line. Most residential sewer lines extend a couple feet beyond the structure, where they then expand to a larger-size pipe. This change in size allows the liquid sewage to more easily flow to the city’s main line. The excavation is usually made at the point where the house line transitions to the larger pipe. Connecting a sewer clean-out at the junction of the larger section of pipe allows for easier access in the case larger rodding or root removal equipment is ever needed.
There are several benefits to installing an outside clean-out:
- You can avoid possible water damage, pipe damage, and potential repair expenses that may occur when the only clean-out is located inside your home.
- Any necessary rodding work is accomplished faster and easier when performed outside. Plumbing equipment does not have to be brought into your home and lugged upstairs, downstairs or into a crawlspace.
- The entire process is cleaner if performed outdoors. Tarps don’t have to be laid out inside the house to protect the work areas from potential water or sewage damage during the rodding process.
- If the home has an interior clean-out, it must be opened slowly to allow all the water and sewage inside the line to slowly drain out before the clean-out cap can be completely removed. This is a time consuming, messy and more expensive process that’s necessary before any rodding work can start.
Blocked sewer lines aren’t fun for us or the homeowner, but outside sewer clean-out access makes testing interior lines easier. This can ultimately save the homeowner money in costly video inspections and difficult rodding or jetting work.