Cleanout Confusion

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Zane Bridgers, Jun 6, 2019.

  1. Zane Bridgers

    Zane Bridgers Member

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    Jun 21, 2018
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    Northern New Mexico - Climate Zone 5A
    Hi Everyone -

    Please excuse this amateur hour moment... I'm a bit confused about code, vs best practices, vs bare necessities as it concerns cleanouts. I've read the UPC section and get the basic requirements. What I'm confused on is:

    1. Can cleanouts be inside an interior wall - i.e. behind the drywall, and is this standard practice (w/ or w/o access panel)
    2. They are supposed to be opposite the flow, or min 90* to facilitate snaking. Real world obstacles like studs, walls, finished surfaces sometimes make this impossible. What's the next best option (see photo below).
    3. Beyond the 50', change in direction, main drain/stack requirements, are cleanouts frequently installed at: a) single lavs b) kitchen sinks c) washer standpipes

    Related to 2. above, the arrows show the drain flow direction (forward for ~1', then right to sewer). Can I use a 90 or 45 or something to not break the cleanout orientation rule? Kind of seems self defeating. The other three directions are blocked by 3" pipe, shower tile, and the stud. What about a wye? Seems if the snake was pointing down already, it would have less trouble making the bends. The access is the mech room, so aesthetics aren't much issue.
    IMG_8897.jpg
     
  2. OLD TIMER

    OLD TIMER Member

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    It's that simple.
     

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  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    I may not understand what you are saying in that sentence. I think a cleanout with the flow is right. A 45 would make a great cleanout if it fits your physical needs.

    Looking at your photo, you could have your cleanout open to the far side. I suspect the far side is the less dressy side. Cleanout could be above or below the santee.
     
  5. Zane Bridgers

    Zane Bridgers Member

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    Interesting. Do they make something like that in PVC? I looked for flush mount cleanouts and could only find the plugs with the flush faces.

    Thanks Reach - what I was getting at is the cleanout should form a natural C curve with the direction of flow in the drain. Code allows it to be offset 90* max. In that photo, the other side of the stud wall is the shower, which will be tiled and not a good cleanout access.

    Does the 90* rule apply if a wye is used instead of a santee for the cleanout?
     
  6. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    I am not a plumber. If there is a 90 degree offset max rule, I would suspect that a wye would be considered to be 45 degrees.
     
  7. OLD TIMER

    OLD TIMER Member

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    This?
     

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  8. Zane Bridgers

    Zane Bridgers Member

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    Yes! Now if I can just find one!

    Is the consensus then that cleanouts, if buried in the wall, usually have an access panel?
     
  9. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    I think that a cleanout buried in a wall with no access has no purpose.

    I suggest you search for "cleanout tee". You can use a flush plug to replace the included plug. That might be dressy enough without an added dress cover. Or add the cover.

    What is your situation? Pedestal lavatory, or what?
     
  10. OLD TIMER

    OLD TIMER Member

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    The picture I posted above is of a round access cover, you just use the screw to screw it into the plastic clean out plug. its common practice.
    if you cant find the fitting you can order it online.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    1. WHY would you not want access to a cleanout?
    2. I have absolutely NO IDEA what you mean by "opposite flow", or min 90 degrees, since EITHER would not make good cleanouts
    3. Cleanouts are installed EVERYWHERE they are needed, often in those three locations, but also MANY OTHERS. After you are in the drain cleaning business for a few years, you appreciate properly located, AND ACCESSIBLE, cleanouts. Plumbers who only INSTALL drain lines seldom have any conception of WHERE they should be or how they should be oriented and often install them inside walls where the sheetrockers cover them up.
     
  12. Zane Bridgers

    Zane Bridgers Member

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    1. Haha fair enough. It's a good point why would you not want access.
    2. From the 2009 UPC: "707.5 Each cleanout shall be installed so that it opens to allow cleaning in the direction of flow of the soil or waste or at right angles thereto and, except in the case of wye branch and end-of-line cleanouts, shall be installed vertically above the flow line of the pipe."
    - I think my language was confusing. This is what I am referring to - putting cleanouts on the downhill side so the snake will curve naturally into the drain line.
    3. I guess there is a disconnect between some plumbers and drain cleaners here. Is a cleanout blocked by a washer/dryer considered accessible?
     
  13. Zane Bridgers

    Zane Bridgers Member

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    53B7DB7C-BE36-4FEA-A6B4-1680F54BD9C8.jpeg

    Here is a specific situation where I would love some input. This is the kitchen sink drain/trap arm. Which of these red circles would be the optimal cleanout placement?
    1. Above the santee in the 1-1/2 vent pipe
    2. A wye directly off the santee
    3. Extending off the end of the trap arm
     
  14. OLD TIMER

    OLD TIMER Member

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    There.
     

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  15. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    How about a 2 inch cleanout at the top circle, and reduce to 1.5 above the cleanout?
     
  16. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    How about a 2 inch cleanout at the top circle, and reduce to 1.5 above the cleanout?
     
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  17. OLD TIMER

    OLD TIMER Member

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    Yes you can do that . I prefer one below, its messy either way but you have more room to work. The clean out cant be smaller than the drain it serves until you get larger than 4" pipe. then it can stay a 4" clean out. that's code. A large percentage of sinks don't have clean outs, their a luxury. code says if you have a removable trap then that's an acceptable clean out.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
  18. Zane Bridgers

    Zane Bridgers Member

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    Thanks guys! I realized after posting that it would have to be 2”, so no problem to reduce after the c/o.

    Under works too. I figured putting it above meant if the santee ever clogged you could snake that too. I take it that doesn’t happen much.

    Even if it’s a luxury I don’t mind adding plenty of clean outs now while it’s easy. If they are never used, at least I learned something
     
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  19. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    The cleanout needs to be accessible. Sometimes that means under the sink on the horizontal trap arm.
    If the vertical there is past the sink cabinet, then it's doubtful there will be access to it.
     
  20. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    In your specific case, since this is an outside wall, I would put it under the sink's tee and rotate it so it is through the outside wall. Snaking inside a room can get nasty, and outside, you can let the water drain out onto the ground, while you are snaking it.
     
  21. Zane Bridgers

    Zane Bridgers Member

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    Thanks guys! Sounds like a good plan.

    The UPC requires 12" of clearance for 2" and less cleanouts. Would a washing machine closer than 12" count as an obstruction even though it can be moved?
     
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