A clog or stoppage in your main sewer line is one of those plumbing problems that just can't wait. This is the main sewer line that carries waste water from every sink, toilet and shower in you home, so clearing it when it clogs is very important. When you call a plumber to clear the stoppage, they will typically ask if you have a clean-out. The cost of the service call will be determined in part by your answer.
Augering a main sewer line is fairly easy if there is an accessible clean-out; it's much harder (and more expensive) if the plumber has trouble getting at the sewer line.
Do you know if you have a clean-out? You're in good company if you have no idea, but this article will help you know where to look, and how to recognize the clean-out fitting.
What A Clean-Out Looks Like
A clean out is typically a 3" or 4" pipe with a visible cap. The following are examples of what it can look like.
Where To Find It
Finding a clean-out is not always easy. In colder climates,they are almost always located inside the house, often in a basement. You may see a 3" or 4" diameter pipe stub extending out from the slab floor. The stub out will have a screw-in plug, which is your main drain access. When a clog or stoppage in the main drain line occurs, this will be where you access the line to auger it clear of obstructions.
In slab homes in cold climates, the main clean-out may be in a utility room or attached garage. One way to find it is to imagine a line from a floor drain out toward the municipal sewer lines, which often lie beneath the street. In most cases, the main clean-out will be along this line from floor drain to street.
In warmer regions, the main clean-out is more often on the exterior of the house. You will need to carefully look at all sides to the house to find the sewer clean out because there could be more than one, and they can be obscured by landscaping.
Knowing the location of your sewer clean-out before you have to use it can save you time better spent clearing the stoppage.