2 Questions: Placement of Cleanout

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by speede541, Jul 24, 2010.

  1. speede541

    speede541 Member

    Messages:
    124
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay area
    I've got two questions regarding placement of cleanouts, with respect to aesthetics.

    In the first case, I have back-to-back toilets. One drains/vents into the main stack, the other into a heel which is re-vented and eventually connects with the main stack after a few 90° jogs.

    (1) My question here is whether I can have the cleanout for Toilet 'A' be accessed through the wall for Toilet 'B', and vice-versa? I figure I'd label the inside of the cover to remind me or any future plumbers that I pulled a switch-a-roo. I may put them BOTH on the wall behind Toilet 'B'. The reason I'm asking is Toilet 'A' will be turned 90° in a couple of years when I remodel the bathroom, and that would place its 4" cleanout right next to the feet of the user, and would be a bit of an eyesore when walking into the bathroom.

    (2) This question involves access to cleanouts. I'm installing a second 4" cleanout that will either (a) be located on a wall facing a stairwell coming up from the floor below, or if I spin it 180°, will (b) be located within the dead space under a built-in oven in the kitchen. Option B may only allow me 11" of clearance under the oven to reach in, unscrew the cover, and feed a snake. The aforementioned 4" cleanout (in my first question) will be 1 floor above this one, 2 90° bends away, but there are two 90's and two 45's below this one, so I figure the cleanout under the oven will be a "second chance" cleanout that may never need to be accessed -- but there if I need it. Can I put it in this difficult-to-reach location to avoid the unsightly appearance of a cleanout cover when walking up the stairs?

    As always, thanks for your opinions!
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    I seldom worry about "aesthetics" when I install a cleanout. I put them where they are needed and HOW they can be easily accessed if needed. Obviously you have NEVER had to access a cleanout inside a "drawer cabinet", or else you would not even consider sticking it inside an oven cabinet. "Unscrew the cover" just slips off the tongue, now, but wait until it has been in place for a few years and THEN try to unscrew it. There WILL be many words coming out of your mouth, but "unscrew the cover" will NOT be any of them.
  3. speede541

    speede541 Member

    Messages:
    124
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay area
    What methods have you seen to hide a cleanout other than the round covers or metal access panels?

    The bathroom ones I can live with, but the one at the top of the stairs is just going to look plain funky with a salad plate sized cleanout cover hanging on the wall.
  4. jastori

    jastori New Member

    Messages:
    118
    Location:
    Illinois
    Are these cleanouts necessary? I don't know what code requirements are, but in practice, you can always pull the toilet if it is necessary to snake the toilet drain. The older homes I have lived in have never had any cleanouts other than maybe a main stack cleanout in the basement or crawlspace. If the cleanout is not required by code, you could still install it at the top of the stairs, and cover it with drywall.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2010
  5. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Current codes have much more rigoruous cleanout requirements than was common practice 30 or more years ago. Common practice was NO cleanouts!
    Today's specs may be overkill, but.............if you ever need it , you will be glad it it there. Hiding the cleanout behind finished drywall is not a good idea. A very neatly done chrome or stainless steel cover will not bust up the decor. The cover can also be painted or papered, just like switch and outlet covers.
  6. speede541

    speede541 Member

    Messages:
    124
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay area
    Grumble grumble grumble. Ok, I'll NOT bury the one under the oven. But I'm having trouble thinking this cover -- painted or not -- won't be noticeable to anyone and everyone climbing the stairs.

    But as for scenario #1 regarding the upstairs toilets, is it cool to put the cleanout next to the wrong toilet? "Code OK," that is? Like I say, I'll put nice labels inside the covers explaining my shenanigans to future me to avoid hair pulling or unnecessary snaking of the wrong line.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote' but in practice, you can always pull the toilet if it is necessary to snake the toilet drain.
    Spoken like someone who has NEVER had to do it. I have done it, but it is VERY time consuming and therefore expensive to the customer. As a practical matter, a cleanout is SELDOM necessary above the lower level, or basement, whichever is the lowest point in the system. IF the sewage backs up to the second floor, and it does happen OCCASSIONALLY, it is always because of a serious flaw in the original installation. Ihave NEVER seen anyone pay any attention to cleanout covers, regardless of where they are, once they have been in the house a week or so.
  8. speede541

    speede541 Member

    Messages:
    124
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay area
    ...and as I posted in a previous recent thread, I'm adding these cleanouts because I have a horizontal stack transition from the 2nd to 1st floor, then I have a pretzel transition going from the 1st floor into the basement.

    [​IMG]
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    The cleanout in the basement, if it is the proper one, would be used to snake down under the floor, and also UP to the upper levels. I do not take my sewer snake upstairs into a finished area, if I could do the job from the basement.
  10. speede541

    speede541 Member

    Messages:
    124
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay area
    Kinda too late, but that's OK. The downstairs CO is in a partially finished space, and there are lots of bendies above it. Plus I found a nice cover to hide the objectional cleanout at the top of the staircase.
  11. nhmaster3015

    nhmaster3015 Master Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    The granite state
    I was trying to think if I have ever installed a clean out for a 2nd floor toilet in a residential application and in better than 30 years, I don't believe I ever have.
  12. speede541

    speede541 Member

    Messages:
    124
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay area
    Dang it, gonna have to file this one under overly cautious / conservative / paranoid / etc. Oh well...
  13. DavidTu

    DavidTu Member

    Messages:
    239
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Are you referring to a two-way CO at the perimeter wall here?

    Also, is the premise that the building sewer gets backed up and then runs only as far as the basement? Why is this more likely than some other part of the system getting jammed w/ debris and backed up? (i.e. somewhere above the basement)
  14. speede541

    speede541 Member

    Messages:
    124
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay area
    David, that second question of yours is what drove this for me. In another post I was told that I can only have so many bends in my system before requiring an additional cleanout above (though I've yet to establish an exact or even a ballpark number). The fact that this is my main stack and runs flat at one point, then has the series of bends before heading downstairs, was enough to convince me to "just do it" and install the extra COs, except I didn't know I could snake UP (though, to me, it sounds pretty messy if there's a big back-up behind the clog).

    I don't believe there were any cleanouts in the original 1924 pipe until it exited the premises, and to my knowledge it never clogged in the 30+ years my in-laws were living there, but they were working with a stack that shot straight down -- uninterrupted -- and then out at maybe a 20 or 30° angle before going underground. I can only hope this mess we've replace it with is nearly as reliable.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2010
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