Importance of Outside Sewer Cleanouts and Maintenance Explained

Knowing your sewer system on your home is extremely important. What kind of pipe you have running to the street (underground), other potential problems your sewer line has had in the past, different access points (where we will be able to clean your sewer from). If you have outside cleanouts (outside access to your sewer) this will make cleaning your sewer much less of a hassle for many reasons.

Without these outside cleanouts technicians are having go inside your home with the sewer machine, which is not only big and bulky but can be very dirty. In order for us to clean the sewer we may have to pull a toilet and reset it. There may also be an inside cleanout to access the sewer. Either way when we are running our machine from inside your home, we are only able to use 3″ blades the majority of the time. This is problematic because your sewer running to the street is 4″ in size, with 3″ blades it is not cleaning the sewer to its best potential.

This means that you will have more frequent clogs and end up spending more money to maintain your line. Cost of labor is constantly increasing therefore putting off big repairs may cost more money in the future.

Having outside Two Way Cleanouts can be a very worthy investment in your home. If you are already spending money to maintain your sewer annually, this could extend your time between maintenance’s and pay for itself in a matter of time.


With newer plumbing code, cleanouts are required every 100 feet on your sewer line.

Benefits of Outside Cleanouts

  • All the nasty sewer machines and equipment stay outside – no mess inside your home!
  • No risk of damage done to your toilet upon removal and re-install
  • No risk of damage done to your walls, floor, etc. – Machines are Big, Smelly, Heavy and Awkward
  • Your sewer will no longer back up on your floor, the mess stays outside!
  • Properly Clean your sewer with the correct size blades. (most indoor access points are 3″ when your sewer outside is 4″)
  • Easier access for Camera Inspections
  • Easier to Locate potential problems and come up with solutions
  • Cheaper to Maintain – Do not have to remove toilet and drag machine in and out of house.
  • The ability to high pressure water jet your line. Being able to water jet can be crucial if you have a long line with roots and flat spots. This will clean out all the residue and roots much quicker and more efficiently than your normal snake. Being able to clear out flat spots in your sewer line can make the difference between being able to maintain your line and having to replace it.


“Flushable Wipes or Feminine Products”

When the manufacturer of these products label them as “Flushable” in reality that means they will make it down the toilet. But they will cause problems in your sewer line. If you have already have problems with your sewer they will cause even more serious issues. What they don’t tell you is that this wipes are clogging the city sewer systems aswell, costing millions of tax dollars a year to get rid of them. The problem with these wipes is they do not break down, toilet paper will disintegrate when it sits in water. Wipes, paper towels, and feminine products do not break down. Most of these products are made up of plastic fibers therefore they are do not disintegrate. Wipes have the same effect as plastic waste when they make their way to the ocean. These get ingested by sea creatures, such as sea turtles who mistake them as jelly fish and then eventually die. The same thing that happens with plastic bags. One sewer clog can cost you upward of $100 per hour! Occasionally this end result will mean you need to repair your sewer line, which is extremely expensive. So be sure to put your wipes in the trash to eliminate this possibility!


One Way Cleanouts vs Two way Cleanouts

Cleanouts are great thing to have at your home, they cut down the cost of labor and take the mess outside of your house! One way cleanouts only allow you to clean out toward the street. Therefore if your clog is under your home your still going to have to have a technician come inside your house with the messy machine. Now this is going to take much more time and cost more money.


Two way cleanouts run both directions, into your house and away from it. Therefore in that same scenario if your clog is underneath your home, the technician may be able to reach it from outside. There are still scenarios that you may not be able to reach the clog from outside. But most commonly these cleanouts will simplify the drain cleaning process.


Line Settling ” Bellies”

Sewer line settling can happen because of ground shifting or because a line was not “bedded” correctly. This means they did not compact the dirt around the pipe as adequate as they should have and the pipe settled in place creating a low spot or “belly”. Depending on the length of pipe that has settled this can create a vast amount of issues. Toilet tissue,waste, wipes, grease and food from your disposal will catch in this belly and begin to “sludge” up and cause a clog. These clogs can be extremely difficult to clean with a normal sewer machine and even more so without outside cleanouts. Unclogging a “belly” can be very difficult depending on the length of the low spot. The sludge in these low spots continues to thicken up more and more to the consistency of mud. Picture a normal sewer snake cleaning these sludge spots being comparable to stirring a bucket of mud with a stick. It will take a long time to thin it out and move it down the line. If you have outside cleanouts you are able to use a high pressure water jetter. This will clean out the sewer line much better and more efficiently therefore costing less money to maintain the line. Without these cleanouts some people would recommend sewer line replacement. If you do have cleanouts it may be cheaper for you to maintenance this line. The more your pipe has settled the more chance you have of your sewer breaking, this is always something to be aware of when taking consideration of replacing your line.



If wipes or feminine products are put down the toilet upstairs and it clogs on its way down, the technician will have no choice but to remove the toilet and clean from there to reach the plug. Being conscience of how you dispose of these flushable wipes can save you lots of money in the end!

If you are having to maintain your sewer frequently and are wanting to explore the option of outside cleanouts in the Northern Colorado area or any drain cleaning needs,  give us a call at Ace Hi Plumbing Heating and Air 970-667-0300. We also do high pressure water jetting!


One thought on “Importance of Outside Sewer Cleanouts and Maintenance Explained”

  1. I found it interesting how you mentioned how sewer line settling can happen over time because of ground shifting. My wife and I are in the process of remodeling our old home and have realized that the plumbing is backed up and not working efficiently. We will be sure to keep this in mind as we search for a sewer cleaning specialist who can also check for pipe bellies!

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