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Cleanouts – Where and Why to Use Them

Cleanouts In A Drainage System

ABS inline cleanoutEvery drainage system must incorporate cleanout fittings at various points to allow for rodding and or snaking the entire system. Cleanouts are simply pipe fittings that can be opened and closed, allowing an entrance point into the drainage system for drain cleaning, clearing blockages or camera inspections.

Some examples of cleanouts

Expandable plug cleanout with wall plate Flush mount floor cleanout PVC cleanout - female adapter with plug ABS P-Trap with cleanout

Where Are Cleanouts Required?

Traps that serve certain fixtures, such as: kitchen sink, lavatory (bathroom sink) and laundry tray are prone to blockages. These fixtures are required to have cleanouts installed at the lowest part of the trap; these are usually threaded plugs or caps. Exception to this rule is if the trap is removable it does not require a cleanout.

Cleanout at the base of a stackA cleanout fitting is required at the base of every soil or waste stack and rain water leader, but may be up to 3 meters upstream of the base.

Running trap with cleanoutA clean-out is required on a building trap (or any other running trap) if it is installed. The cleanout fitting should be located on, and extending directly up from the inlet side.

Main cleanout on building drainA cleanout must be located as close as possible to the wall, where a building drain leaves the building. In the past, a building drain clean-out had to be inside the building, but is now permitted to be outside, as long as it is accessible.

Rules For Clean-outs

The size of cleanout fittings are the same as the pipes they serve, up to the maximum of 4". Example:

  • 1.5" drain pipe = 1.5" cleanout
  • 6" drain pipe = 4" cleanout
  • Pipes over 8" require a manhole

Cleanouts must be installed in accessible areas. For example - not sealed inside a wall or under a concrete slab.

Cleanouts are not to be used as drains and must be re-sealed/closed when maintenance is not being performed.

The piping served by a cleanout cannot change direction by more than 45 degrees in a single fitting, or an additional cleanout will be required.

The parts of a cleanout that are removable must be non-corrosive (such as brass) and be capable of repeatedly creating a gas tight seal.