Here is how to find the main sewer line and cleanouts in your house.

Sewer lines are vital components of a home’s waste treatment system.

These help convey waste to the main sewer line that transports such to the central wastewater treatment system. Now, the drain cleanout serves an equally vital role.

Without it, there’s no way to resolve clogging issues among others.

What’s a Sewer Cleanout?

We understand that this question may sound elementary to you. However, other readers may not have come across a sewer cleanout before.

For this category of people, some little explanation would be in order.

A sewer cleanout is simply a pipe or opening that has a cap and leads to the sewer line. When issues arise with your sewer lines such as clogs or blockages, such lines are accessed through the sewer cleanout.

Lateral sewer lines connect homes to public sewer systems.

So how do you find a septic tank cleanout?

Must There Be a Sewer Cleanout?

Over the years there have been lots of plumbing innovations leading to significant improvements. This includes a sewer cleanout which serves as a fail-safe for modern plumbing work.

So, Unless you want your sewer system to fail, a sewer cleanout will be very necessary.

How Does My Main Drain Cleanout Work

One of the keys to understanding the placement of the drain cleanout is by understanding the functions it performs. From its name, you’re able to get a sense of what function(s) it serves.

As expected, the main drain line connects to different points in the home including the shower, toilet, and sinks.

Clogs are likely to result from one of these points, especially the toilet. These clogs come by way of improper use of the toilet such as the disposal of certain items that have no business being there.

Examples include q-tips, baby wipes, diapers, menstrual products, and condoms.

Others include medication, dental floss, paper towels & tissues, hair, cigarette butts, cat litter, fish, gum, cooking grease, bleach, coffee grounds, and food.

When these accumulate, they could end up clogging your system.

  • The Cleanout Helps with Unclogging

To help resolve these clogging issues, there needs to be a point along the main drain line through which to get rid of such clogs. This is exactly what the drain cleanout does.

It provides a ready access point from where clearance of mainline is performed.

Finding A Sewer Line

The fact that lateral sewer lines connect to buildings to public sewer systems gives you an idea of where to start. To identify sewer cleanouts, you’ll need to look along lateral sewer lines.

These cleanouts are installed along such lines (lateral sewer lines) to help with ease of access.

Like residential sewer cleanouts, there are also public sewer cleanouts found along municipal sewer lines.

These are also built for the same purpose; the removal of blockages. The responsibility for the maintenance and cleaning of municipal sewer lines lies with the city.

Equally, the responsibility for the maintenance of a residential sewer cleanout rests with you the homeowner.

When it comes to locating a sewer line, there’s no definite position. Your easiest guide to finding one is by looking at the building code.

Unfortunately, not all homeowners have access to such codes. This may be misplaced among other things. So, where can you find a sewer cleanout? It depends on the size of your home.

Most importantly, your local climate will largely determine its location.

  • Climatic Influence on Sewer Cleanout Location

What’s the local climatic condition of your area?

If it’s cold, then it’s more likely that such will be located indoors. You’ll still need to find such cleanouts within your home. Possible locations include basement areas and garage or utility rooms.

To identify a sewer cleanout, you’re likely to find a removable covering or cap that’s threaded. Whether it’s located indoors or outdoors, the design is basically the same.

Having provided information on the likely locations to spot indoor sewer cleanouts, let’s proceed to discuss ways or tips of finding outdoor sewer cleanouts.

Why Is It Important to Find Your Sewer Cleanout?

Often when sewer cleanouts are being searched for, the aim isn’t to perform any sewer line maintenance yourself. Remember we earlier said sewer cleanouts provide easy access to sewer lines.

Such cleanouts are very useful when it comes to resolving issues relating to clogs.

You may not necessarily have to perform sewer line maintenance yourself (as in a DIY situation). Rather, you’re seeking to identify where the cleanout is to point or show a professional plumber.

Not identifying where the sewer cleanout is may end up delaying an inspection job. Under such circumstances, the opening needs to be identified by the technician before performing the maintenance work.

This is additional work and adds to the job complexity.

Some plumbers may add this service to their hourly charges. To prevent this from happening, all you have to do is locate your sewer cleanout yourself. It’s very unlikely that you’ll take the whole day to locate your sewer cleanout.

Is there a Possibility of Not finding a Sewer Cleanout?

There is! Older buildings may not have sewer cleanouts installed.

The reasons are simple! They may not have been required to abide by any such codes in the past. So, when you’ve searched around but can’t find your sewer cleanout, consider having one installed.

Installing a new sewer cleanout for an old building will require certain modifications to be carried out.

How To Find The Main Drain Line Location In Your House

The need to have the main drain clean out is crucial. Being one sewer system component that’s used occasionally, its location sometimes becomes difficult to figure out.

In other words, main drain cleanouts can sometimes be difficult to find. This is especially true for persons who just moved into a property newly.

  • Why Can’t I Find My Drain Cleanout Easily?

The answer is simple; it could be buried! As stated above, main drain cleanouts aren’t sewer system components that see frequent usage.

Due to this fact, such cleanouts could stay unused for a long period of time, thus accumulating debris in the form of bushes, grasses, and underbrush.

Main Drain Cleanout Location

Where is the main drain in my house? What does a sewer cleanout look like?

At this point, you may be clueless about its location.

Nevertheless, this sewer system component isn’t installed arbitrarily. In other words, there are ways to go about finding the drain cleanout because it’s installed in a certain way.

  • How To Find Sewer Line In Yard

You have three options; inspect likely locations, get a hold of the house plan or call for expert help.

The expert option tends to be the easiest as professional services know all about sewer systems and where certain components are located.

Let’s take a look at each of the options, shall we?

  • Inspect Likely Locations

As stated earlier, main drain cleanouts aren’t installed arbitrarily, rather a systematic approach is implemented.

  • How To Find A Buried Sewer Cleanout

First off, you’ll need to perform basic checks that include looking around your yard or compound. In order to do this, you need to know what the cleanout looks like.

Your main drain cleanout should be a 3 to 4-inch pipe that’s fitted with a screw cap. That’s all you need to know! With this said, all you have to do is move around your yard to see if anything matches this.

More attention needs to be paid to areas closest to your bathroom.

It’s possible to have the cleanout located in the basement too! This means it could be found indoors as well. If you’ve checked such with no success, you might want to take a look at the drywall (this type of check is quite tricky to perform).

Also, the drain cleanout may be found along the pathway closest to the house.

  • Get a Hold of the House Plan

If you’ve tried the above steps with little progress, it’s time to take a more organized approach. This is made much easier by grabbing your house plan.

You’ll be lucky to have your house plan as it lays everything bare in terms of your home’s design, and where everything is located including the drain cleanout.

With your house plan, all guesswork is eliminated. All you have to do is follow the plan to enable you exactly pinpoint the location of your main drain cleanout.

It’s important to apply extra caution not to confuse your drain cleanout with other sewer system components.

  • Call For Expert Help

Sometimes, a visual check around your yard won’t turn out results.

Also, you may not have access to your home’s plan. Such situations make it quite challenging to pinpoint the location of your main drain cleanout.

Under such circumstances, it’s best to have a professional perform the search.

Professional services provide both installation and maintenance services for sewer lines. So, finding a drain cleanout wouldn’t be a big deal to them.

Old buildings or those with poorly made plans are most ideal for professional assistance.

These are plumbing services that have all the tools necessary to trace the drain cleanout irrespective of whether it’s indoors or outdoors.

This method takes a bit longer to complete as the experts seek to probe and determine its particular location.

The benefit here is that you won’t have to sweat it out to find your drain cleanout. Everything is handled professionally and neatly.

House Has No Sewer Cleanout

This sounds crazy but it’s a fact.

There are homes with poorly done plumbing jobs. This is likely to be common with old houses. In this case, all the above options for locating the main drain cleanout fails.

The professional service you hired to get the job discovers this problem.

Under such circumstances, the plumbing service needs to perform a vital maintenance task by installing a cleanout to the main drain. Of course, this will shoot up your expenses.

Nevertheless, it’s an expense worth paying for as it helps with better maintenance of your drainage system.

You Only Need to Locate the Drain Cleanout Once

Because the main drain cleanout isn’t used frequently, it tends to be buried or covered by debris and bushes.

However, locating the cleanout once is all you need to know its location. You can clear out the area around it to make it increasingly visible for future use.


We understand how frustrating it can be to determine your sewer cleanout’s position. This article is written to serve as a guide to help you determine its precise location.

When moving to a new property, one of the many challenges you’ll face includes locating certain installations.

This includes your sewer system. This action is necessary as periodic installation work depends on finding access points.

With the information made available in this article, finding a sewer cleanout shouldn’t be an impossible task.

However, we’ve seen possible areas to look at. These include indoor and outdoor environments.

There’s also the possibility of not finding a cleanout at all. When this situation arises, you’ll need to have one installed.


Tips On Finding Outdoor Sewer Cleanouts

Outdoor sewer cleanouts are equally not as difficult to find as indoor cleanouts. You’ll only need to look at certain areas around your home to find it.

First, start your search by walking around your home’s perimeter. A close look at areas close to the foundation is necessary.

More often than not, you are likely to spot an outdoor sewer cleanout outside your bathroom. One of the ways to confirm this is by spotting a capped 3 to 4-inch pipe. Its appearance is mostly black or white.

Before you commence your search, consider the fact that sewer cleanouts don’t see lots of activity. In other words, these are rarely used frequently.

As such, they’re likely to be dusty or be covered with grass, brushes, or underbrush. In this case, some clearance work will be necessary to get access to such cleanouts.

Cleanouts aren’t always seen in the form of a capped pipe. Sometimes, such pipes may be concealed by a box. Such boxes are in place to keep sewer cleanout openings safe from dirt. These also have metal covers.

Consider spending a little time going around your home’s surroundings. You’ll need to include brushes or grass areas in your quest to find sewer cleanout openings.

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