Need Help Visualizing Weird Cleanouts

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Dan, Oct 10, 2004.

  1. Dan

    Dan New Member

    Messages:
    1
    I'm trying to snake my sewer line to clear a blockage and am not having any luck. Part of the problem seems to be that the cleanouts are not behaving the way they should based on everything I've read. Outside the house, closest to the wall, there is a vent pipe that extends about a foot above ground and has a vented cap. Next in line are two cleanout plugs. All three are within about an 18 inch span. If I'm visualizing this correctly, the plug furthest from the house should lead into the house and the one closest to the house (between the vent and the other plug) should lead away. The problem is that when I put the snake in the cleanout closest to the house, it comes up out the vent pipe! Why would this happen? Since the vent is closer to the house, this leads me to believe the cleanouts are reversed or something. Can someone explain or diagram what I'm seeing? By the way, the house is about 60 years old, east coast, cast iron pipes (I believe) and they are very deep (below the basement). Any help is appreciated!
  2. LonnythePlumber

    LonnythePlumber Plumber, Contractor, Attorney

    Messages:
    319
    Location:
    Wichita, Kansas
    Too Many Pipes

    I don't know why you have a vent pipe in there. Perhaps someone else has seen this. I agree with your understanding of the direction of the cleanout fittings that the one furtherest from the house goes back towards the house and the closer pipe to the house should go to the sewer. This doesn't answer your question but it gives you something to read until someone does.
  3. e-plumber

    e-plumber DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    New York
    Clean Outs

    It sounds like there is a main line house trap, common on the E.C.
    The vent for this trap is what you see stubbing up. The other two "clean outs" are probably plugs or caps for the trap, it might be buried, (the trap) right outside the house.
    If you need to snake the line towards the street, you may be able to negotiate the cable through the opening closer to the street.
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,641
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    cleanouts

    I have seen cleanouts installed "backwards" by less experienced plumbers. Doing it that way creates a "dead zone" between the two that cannot be accessed. Shove a piece of stick or pipe down the cleanouts and see which way they angle at the bottom. You will be able to tell because the stick will tend to roll in the direction of the cleanout's flow.
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