Clean up on plumbing cleanouts

Home Inspector with NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Clean up on plumbing cleanouts- Wenatchee and Chelan Home Inspection Services

Poor plumbers there made fun of and jokes abound about them. But they are one of the trades like an electrician that has a very extensive set of rules (codes).  This is for good reason, we want the poo to go away efficiently, we do not want any leaks and we do not want to contaminate the drinking supply of water.


                                           Computers and plumbing

There is a joke that claims the plumbers' rule book has just two entries: The first rule is that crap flows downhill and the second rule is do not bite your nails.

I tell plumbers all the time their job is safe with me. I always squirt something on a plumbing project.

So this brings us to another matter.  It does not matter how well thought out or how carefully installed the waste system has been performed drains can still become clogged. So an access for cleaning them out must be provided in specific locations.

                               Missing cleanout at sewer connection

Here we have a missing cleanout at the foundation wall. There was no cleanout on the exterior of the home.

In older homes often the cleanout will get used for additional connections to the DWV (drain, waste, vent) system or replaced with a plumbing waste line. This cannot be done without a proper cleanout installed.

The IRC states this-
P3005.2.7 Building drain and building sewer junction.
There shall be a cleanout near the junction of the building drain and building sewer . This cleanout shall be either inside or outside the building wall, provided that it is brought up to finish grade or to the lowest floor level. An approved two-way cleanout shall be permitted to serve as the required cleanout for both the building drain and the building sewer . The cleanout at the junction of the building drain and building sewer shall not be required where a cleanout on a 3-inch (76 mm) or larger diameter soil stack is located within a developed length of 10 feet (3048 mm) of the building drain and building sewer junction.

                               Plumbing Cleanout placement

P3005.2.4 Change of direction.
Cleanouts shall be installed at each fitting with a change of direction more than 45 degrees (0.79 rad) in the building sewer, building drain and horizontal waste or soil lines. Where more than one change of direction occurs in a run of piping, only one cleanout shall be required in each 40 feet (12 192 mm) of developed length of the drainage piping.
Remember cleanouts need always be accessible.

“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”

Will Durant

NCW Home Inspections, LLC  is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service 509-670-9572


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Clint Mckie
Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections - Carlsbad, NM
Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586

Hi Donald,

I can see where this would become a really big issue in the case there was need for the lines to be cleaned out in the future.

I really like the "back up system" in the digram. LOL

Have a really good weekend in the Great Northwest.

Best, Clint McKie

Oct 05, 2012 11:15 PM #1
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Clint, I found that little cartoon funny. Yeah drains never get clogged do they ;)

Oct 05, 2012 11:19 PM #2
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

Yeah Don, it's all in the name; cleanout. If you don't know what a plumbing cleanout is, just think on it. The words. A plumbing clean out. And where would you want/need one. And then look at your plumbing. Think 'clean out'. Work out where you would put them and you'll pretty much match the 'code' conditions. it's that logical.

I do like the cartoon. A larger size might suit the blog presentation better.

Oct 06, 2012 01:43 AM #3
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Robert, Now you are bringing logic to the conversation ; ) That will hurt.

Oct 06, 2012 01:16 PM #4
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Specifics, specifics.  IRC, IRC, blah, blah, blah.  I'm still enjoying the first visual!  I guess all that goes to a central file storage facility?  Carbonite?  Crapponite?

Oct 06, 2012 08:34 PM #5
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Missing cleanouts are a sure sign of a non plumber install. Had this very issue the other day. 

Oct 06, 2012 10:18 PM #6
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jay, I am sorry. I should not think this way ; )


Jim, I see those signs all too often.

Oct 06, 2012 11:36 PM #7
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Donald Hester

NCW Home Inspections, LLC
Home Inspection Services and Inspection Questions
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