5 Tips on Sewer Cleanout in Residential Homes

Imagine arriving home to find your house smelling of the sewer. In addition to that, if you're unlucky, you might find yourself battling with clouds of sewer flies—They're the worst.
Plumbing has evolved over the years to the point where we now have modern preventive measures to stop sewer back-ups from happening.
One such measure is the application of a device known as the Sewer Cleanout. It’s not popular. However, it can save you a lot of money and headaches.

What are sewage back-ups?

A sewage back-up refers to a situation where the sewage waste materials from your household find their way into your living space through your drains.
Most of the time, sewage back-ups are caused by clogs and blockages in your household's sewage lines.
The best, easy, and most effective way of preventing sewage back-ups is to avoid disposing of waste materials through your household's drainage system.
If it ain’t liquid, then it's better off in the garbage bin.
Face and baby wipes, pasta, rice, and oils are some of the most common items that trigger sewage back-ups. Here is the list of all things you should never put down the drain.

What are sewer cleanout pipes?

As mentioned earlier, sewer cleanouts are small little inconspicuous devices that prevent sewage back-ups from rampaging your home.
It’s more of a pipe that connects your property’s sewage line to the lateral sewer line.
The lateral sewer line is the line that connects your household’s sewer line to your municipality’s sewer line.
Most sewage back-ups are triggered because the lateral line has been blocked or clogged. When this happens, the Sewer Cleanout is responsible for keeping the lines clear and draining the water.

Where is the Sewer Cleanout located?

The sewer clean out pipe isn't the easiest thing to find. This might be the first time you've heard of it.
What's even worse is the fact that most houses have more than one sewer cleanout pipe. Some of them are located inside the house.
Below are some popular places to check when trying to locate your sewer cleanout pipe(s):

1. The foundation

You might have to check your house's foundation. The chances of one being installed down there are even higher if your household is served by a septic tank.
Most of the time, clean out pipes are found within a 3-feet radius of the home's foundation. Its exact location is usually in between the septic tank and where your sewer line passes.

2. The sidewalk

The sidewalks are easily the most popular places for cleanout pipes. Why?
Because often, a household's sewer line meets the municipality's sewer line under the sidewalk. Thus, you're most likely to find a mark on the exact spot.
The mark might resemble an ‘S’.

3. Inside the house

The indoor setting is very popular with older houses that have several cleanout pipes.
You might even have some protruding from inside the walls. Some of the most popular places to check are the attics and basements.
Look for ‘Y’ and ‘T’ shaped intersections with capped pipes.

My property doesn’t have a sewer cleanout. What do I do?

Don’t be surprised. The lack of sewer cleanout pipes isn’t a rare occurrence.
The phenomenon is quite popular with older houses, or houses that are built in locations where sewer clean out pipes aren't a requirement by the local authorities.
All in all, you should make preparations to have one (or several) installed into your household’s plumbing system.

5 Tips on sewer cleanout and drainage line cleaning in residential homes

You can't solely depend on sewer cleanout pipes to protect you from every possible sewage back-up. However, you can get yourself a sewer back-up insurance to give you some security should unfortunate the day come. Check here for more information.
Below are some tips to consider when maintaining and cleaning your home's sewer lines and drainage system.

1. Apply baking powder and vinegar cleaning

Fortunately, you can learn from the mistakes of others.
We talked about proper waste disposal just a few moments ago. That’s one way.
The other thing you can do is pumping baking soda into your plumbing system at least once every two months.
How does that help?
The baking powder will react with water and get pushed into the lines.
Baking powder also has cleaning properties that will help remove sticky substances from your pipe’s walls.

2. Regularly flush your sewer lines

By flushing, we mean forcing a lot of water through your pipe and sewer lines. It’s even better if you coupled this with a drain cleaner. The toilet is the best place to undertake this operation.
However, be careful with one thing.
Most people make the mistake of attempting to flush their drainage and piping system after they’ve noticed some back-up and clogging. That is a bad idea.
Flushing is a preventive measure and shouldn't be attempted if backing has already happened. It will only lead to severe sewage back-up.

3. Use snakes

Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be.
Snakes are handy when it comes to relieving your drainage system of minor clogs and blockages.
By snakes, we're referring to small plumbing devices inserted into drainage lines and forced through clogs. They drill or cut into clogs, thus clearing the lines. Nonetheless, be careful not to damage your household's line system.

4. Schedule for regular professional drain cleaning

Be specific when looking for sewer cleaning services. Not all plumbing service personnel have the necessary equipment needed for drain and sewer cleaning.
This might be the easiest tip on this list. Nonetheless, most people prefer to wait for “the sewer crisis” to hit.
It's after they've been living in a "sewer home" for a couple of days that they consider hiring sewer cleaning services.

5. Drain or treat stagnant water

This is more of a bonus tip.
We’ve noticed that many people complain of sewer smelling homes that eventually become infested with sewer flies.
Sometimes the key to a clean and fine-smelling house is to make sure you drain all the stagnant water in your home.
Sure, we are aware that there are some “stagnant” points like toilets that have to exist.
But why don’t you treat the water there to avoid the creation of breeding grounds for sewer flies and other harmful microscopic organisms?

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