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Understanding Sewer Capping and Its Purposes

March 9, 2022

One of the most important elements of your home and often hidden and you may not even know about its existence is the sewer cleanout and its cap cover.

A sewage cleanout is a generic term for any vertical access points to your sewer system. Many homes have more than one, and some houses have both inside and outdoor sewer cleanouts.

The major function of these cleanouts is to give the home access points to clean the sewer line of collected dirt or any other blockage that it could have.

The cleanout pipe usually has a cover cap to keep the drain clean. The cap also protects the drains from corrosion, dirt and other damage that could cause an eventual backup of dirt and drainage water. The cover is critical because it prevents harmful gases and debris from getting out of the cleanout and entering your home or yard.

Locating the Cleanouts

As we mentioned before, homeowners rarely know what or where these cleanouts are, but there are a few ways to find the location of these areas. If there is a building code, there could be a specific location outside the home. Check areas close to the house or next to the main drain line.

If done by code, there are few locations specified for installing cleanout in your home. While most of the spots are outside your house, there are also some inside your home that you should check first, such as next to your main drain.
The outside cleanout drains and caps are often located near exterior walls or in an outer metal box somewhere in the yard. It will look like a large pipe with a plug on top.

Note: If the pipe is open and the plug is missing, you will want to get it replaced as soon as possible.

If you cannot find your sewer cleanout cap, request the plans from the city sewer line in your house. Look for the bends in the sewer lines on the property. The cleanouts are usually just above the bend. If you are still unsure, contact a local plumber to help you find and cap the open sewer line pipes.

Cover Types

Today sewer caps are made of different types of materials. The type you have depends on the construction, the area of the property and the weather. The most common are plastic or metal cleanout cap covers.

The only drawback with the plastic caps is that they can be weaker and may experience damage over time. On the other hand, though, metal caps can experience corrosion. You will want to call a qualified plumber to replace faulty caps.

How to Remove a Cleanout Cap Cover

If you have never removed the sewer cap on your property, chances are you may have difficulty removing it. Dirt, rust and stuck screws can cause the cap to fuse to the pipe and be hard to remove. You can heat the cap to remove it. You can try a sledgehammer or a wrench if that doesn’t work. However, it is better to call a plumber to do a pipe inspection and check the sewer drainpipes and caps.

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