Understanding Plumbing Cleanout Requirements: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you familiar with the term “plumbing cleanout requirements”? If not, you’re in the right place. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about plumbing cleanout requirements, their importance, code requirements, and best practices.

Whether you’re a homeowner, a plumber, or simply curious about the inner workings of your drainage system, this article will provide valuable insights. Did you know that a clogged drain can cause extensive damage to your property if not addressed promptly? It’s true!

By understanding the purpose and proper maintenance of plumbing cleanout requirements, you can prevent drain blockages and maintain a healthy drainage system. So, let’s dive in and discover the world of plumbing cleanout requirements together.

The most important findings at a glance

  • Plumbing cleanouts are important for preventing drain blockages and maintaining a healthy drainage system.
  • Code requirements for plumbing cleanouts vary depending on the International Plumbing Code, residential plumbing code, and commercial plumbing code.
  • Cleanouts are necessary for proper placement and access, and their installation should be done correctly. Best practices include regular maintenance and avoiding common mistakes.

plumbing cleanout requirements

1/2 What is a Plumbing Cleanout?

Ensuring the proper functioning of plumbing systems is vital for any home or commercial building. In this regard, cleanouts play a crucial role. By preventing clogs and backups, these access points in the drainage system are essential for maintenance and repair.

Whether it’s a floor cleanout, a yard cleanout, or a roof cleanout, each type serves a specific purpose in facilitating easy access to the sewer line. With cleanouts strategically placed throughout the property, both homeowners and maintenance workers can carry out regular maintenance, averting potential disasters. Understanding the different types and their functions is key to keeping plumbing systems in optimal condition.

Preventing Drain Blockages

Ensuring the smooth operation of your plumbing system requires regular maintenance and a proactive approach. By inspecting and cleaning the cleanout pipes , potential issues are addressed before they escalate into major blockages . This keeps the drainage system flowing smoothly and prevents clogs from disrupting your daily life.

Properly disposing of grease and oil is another crucial step in preventing drain blockages . These substances can solidify and accumulate in the pipes over time, leading to stubborn blockages. By disposing of grease and oil in designated containers or recycling centers, you can prevent this buildup and maintain clear drains.

To further safeguard against blockages, using drain screens is highly effective. These screens act as filters, capturing hair, food particles, and other debris that could enter the pipes and cause clogs. Regular cleaning and emptying of the drain screens ensure that your drains remain free from obstructions.

By incorporating these preventive measures into your routine, such as regular maintenance, proper disposal of grease and oil, and the use of drain screens, you significantly reduce the risk of drain blockages. This not only keeps your drains flowing smoothly but also saves you from the inconvenience and expenses associated with dealing with major clogs and backups.

plumbing cleanout requirements

Everything You Need to Know About Plumbing Cleanout Requirements

  • A plumbing cleanout is a pipe or access point that allows for easy access to the plumbing system for maintenance and repairs.
  • Plumbing cleanouts are important for preventing drain blockages by providing a way to remove clogs and debris from the pipes.
  • Maintaining a healthy drainage system is crucial for preventing backups and water damage in your home or business.
  • The International Plumbing Code and residential and commercial plumbing codes have specific requirements for the installation and placement of plumbing cleanouts.
  • Plumbing cleanouts are necessary in areas where there may be a high risk of clogs or where access to the plumbing system is difficult.
  • Proper installation of cleanouts is essential to ensure easy access and prevent leaks or damage to the pipes.
  • Regular maintenance of plumbing cleanouts, such as flushing them with water or using enzyme-based drain cleaners, can help prevent clogs and keep your drainage system running smoothly.

Maintaining a Healthy Drainage System

Ensuring a Well-Functioning Drainage System Keeping your drainage system in optimal condition is vital. Over time, debris and sediment can accumulate, leading to blockages . By regularly inspecting and cleaning your pipes, you can address potential issues before they escalate.

Proper disposal of chemicals is also crucial. Substances like bleach, paint, and motor oil can harm pipes and disrupt wastewater flow. Make sure to dispose of them correctly, avoiding pouring them down drains.

To maintain a smooth flow, consider using enzymatic drain cleaners on a regular basis. These cleaners break down organic matter that could cause blockages. By consistently using them, you can prevent debris buildup and preserve the health of your drainage system.

By following these practices, you can save yourself from costly repairs and ensure that your drainage system remains in excellent condition. Regular inspections and cleaning, proper chemical disposal, and the use of enzymatic drain cleaners are all essential for maintenance.

International Plumbing Code Requirements

The International Plumbing Code sets forth specific requirements for plumbing cleanouts . These requirements include the distance between cleanouts, their size and accessibility, and installation guidelines for various plumbing systems. To facilitate maintenance and repairs, the code mandates a minimum distance between cleanouts.

This ensures that any issues can be quickly identified and resolved . Cleanouts must also meet size and accessibility specifications. They should be large enough for easy access and inspection, and they should be located in easily reachable areas.

Additionally, the code provides installation guidelines for cleanouts. These guidelines ensure proper alignment, slope, and the use of durable materials, promoting optimal drainage and longevity. By adhering to the International Plumbing Code, professionals can ensure the correct installation and functionality of cleanouts.

These regulations play a crucial role in maintaining and repairing plumbing systems, contributing to the safety and efficiency of both residential and commercial buildings.

If you’re dealing with an offset bathroom sink drain, check out our article on how to fix an offset bathroom sink drain to learn how to address this common plumbing issue.

plumbing cleanout requirements

Plumbing cleanout requirements are essential for homeowners. In this video, you’ll learn all about how to use cleanouts effectively. Get ready for some Plumbing 101!

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Residential Plumbing Code Requirements

Maintaining a well-functioning residential plumbing system requires adherence to specific code requirements. These requirements outline the necessary number and placement of cleanouts, as well as the importance of ensuring accessibility. To begin with, maintenance and repair work necessitates a minimum number of cleanouts.

The precise quantity varies based on the system’s size and layout, but they are typically required at key points, such as changes in direction or intersections. Furthermore, guidelines dictate the appropriate locations for cleanouts . They should be easily accessible in areas like basements, crawl spaces, or utility rooms.

This ensures that plumbers can reach them effortlessly with their tools. Lastly, regulations emphasize the need for unobstructed and visible cleanouts . This simplifies the process for plumbers to locate and access them when necessary.

By adhering to these rules, homeowners can proactively prevent potential issues and maintain the optimal condition of their plumbing system. By adhering to these code requirements, homeowners can enjoy a more efficient and reliable residential plumbing system, effectively mitigating future problems.

Commercial Plumbing Code Requirements

In the realm of commercial plumbing, adherence to code requirements is vital for seamless operations. Inspections and certifications serve as the linchpin in identifying any potential issues and ensuring that plumbing systems meet the necessary standards. The task of conducting regular inspections falls upon certified plumbing inspectors who meticulously examine every facet of commercial plumbing systems.

From cleanouts to pipes, fixtures to drainage, these inspections serve as the litmus test for compliance with plumbing codes and guidelines. Certifications, on the other hand, act as the official seal of approval, verifying that the plumbing systems have undergone rigorous inspection and meet the required standards. These certifications are issued by authorized plumbing bodies.

Maintenance and repair regulations pertaining to cleanouts are another crucial aspect of commercial plumbing code requirements. Proper upkeep, regular cleaning, and thorough inspection of cleanout covers and pipes are imperative for optimal functionality and the prevention of potential issues. Guidelines dictating cleanout spacing and accessibility are of utmost importance in ensuring efficient operation and minimizing blockages.

Cleanouts should be strategically placed throughout the building, providing easy access for maintenance and repairs, all within the specific guidelines outlined in the plumbing codes. By adhering to these commercial plumbing code requirements, businesses can guarantee smooth functioning and avoid expensive repairs and disruptions. Regular inspections, certifications, and strict adherence to maintenance and repair regulations are the pillars upon which a healthy and efficient plumbing system in commercial buildings stands.

plumbing cleanout requirements

Plumbing cleanouts are often referred to as “sewer snakes” due to their long, flexible design that allows them to navigate through the twists and turns of a drainage system.


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Placement and Access to Cleanouts

Ensuring easy maintenance of your plumbing system is essential, and one way to achieve this is by properly positioning cleanouts. Accessibility holds the key, regardless of whether you’re in a residential or commercial building. In residential settings, cleanouts are typically situated outside near the main sewer line.

On the other hand, commercial buildings tend to have them in utility rooms or mechanical spaces. To swiftly address issues and prevent major blockages, it’s crucial to consider placing cleanouts in areas prone to clogs, such as kitchens and bathrooms. Local building codes recommend having cleanouts every 50 to 100 feet along the plumbing system, facilitating easy access and maintenance.

By strategically locating cleanouts, you can ensure smooth operation and prevent clogs and backups. Take the time to plan the placement of cleanouts in your building and relish the benefits of effortless accessibility.

Table: Comprehensive Guide to Cleanout Requirements and Maintenance

Required Cleanout Types
Mainline Cleanouts: Required at the point of connection to the public sewer or septic system, typically located outside the building.
Branch Line Cleanouts: Required for each branch line of the plumbing system, allowing access for maintenance and clearing blockages.
Fixture Cleanouts: Required for specific fixtures such as sinks, toilets, and showers, providing direct access to the drainage system.
Cleanout Specifications
Size: Specify the required size of cleanouts based on the plumbing code, typically ranging from 3 inches to 6 inches in diameter.
Material: Specify the approved materials for cleanout construction, such as PVC, ABS, or cast iron.
Depth: Indicate the necessary depth of cleanouts based on local code requirements, ensuring proper accessibility for maintenance.
Distance Requirements
Mainline Cleanout Distance: Specify the maximum allowable distance between mainline cleanouts, ensuring ease of access for maintenance and inspection.
Branch Line Cleanout Distance: Specify the maximum allowable distance between branch line cleanouts, promoting efficient maintenance and blockage clearance.
Fixture Cleanout Distance: Indicate the required proximity of fixture cleanouts to the specific fixtures they serve, facilitating easy maintenance and clearing of blockages.
Accessibility Standards
Height: Specify the recommended height for cleanout access, ensuring ease of use for maintenance personnel.
Clearances: State the required clearances around cleanout access points, allowing adequate space for tools and equipment during maintenance.
Installation Guidelines
Proper Placement: Provide guidance on the appropriate location for cleanout installation based on the plumbing system layout, ensuring accessibility and functionality.
Sealing Requirements: Specify the necessary sealing techniques and materials to prevent leaks and maintain system integrity at cleanout connections.
Maintenance Requirements
Cleaning Frequency: Recommend regular cleaning schedules for cleanouts to prevent blockages and maintain optimal system performance.
Inspection Intervals: Specify the frequency of inspections to identify any potential issues or blockages in the drainage system.
Common Mistakes and Troubleshooting
Highlight common installation mistakes and how to avoid them, ensuring proper functionality and longevity of cleanouts.
Provide troubleshooting tips for addressing common cleanout-related issues, such as blockages or leaks.

Proper Installation of Cleanouts

Properly installing cleanouts involves crucial considerations. Begin by sealing the fittings to prevent leaks and water damage. Moreover, ensure that the pipes are aligned and sloped correctly for efficient drainage.

Lastly, prioritize durability by using long-lasting materials. Adhering to these guidelines will ensure that your cleanouts effectively uphold a robust plumbing system.

If you’re dealing with a gurgling toilet, you’ll definitely want to check out our article on how to fix a gurgling toilet . It’s packed with helpful tips and solutions to solve this annoying plumbing issue.

Maintenance Tips

Maintaining the cleanliness of your plumbing cleanouts is vital. Regularly check for any damage or wear on the cleanout covers. Damaged covers can lead to debris entering the cleanout, causing blockages.

Early detection allows for timely repairs or replacements. To prevent buildup, flush the cleanout pipes with hot water. Over time, accumulated debris like grease, hair, and soap scum can clog the pipes.

Flushing with hot water dissolves and eliminates this buildup, ensuring a smooth flow in your plumbing system. In cases of blockage, a plumbing snake is a great solution. It’s a flexible tool that can be inserted into the cleanout to break up and remove stubborn clogs.

Using a plumbing snake avoids the need for harsh chemical drain cleaners that can damage your plumbing system. By following these maintenance tips, you can keep your plumbing cleanouts in excellent condition and prevent major blockages. Regular inspections, hot water flushing, and using a plumbing snake when necessary are simple yet effective ways to maintain a healthy plumbing system.

plumbing cleanout requirements

Understanding the Importance and Requirements of Plumbing Cleanouts

  1. Understand the purpose of a plumbing cleanout.
  2. Learn about the importance of plumbing cleanouts for preventing drain blockages.
  3. Discover how plumbing cleanouts help maintain a healthy drainage system.
  4. Familiarize yourself with the code requirements for plumbing cleanouts, such as the International Plumbing Code requirements.
  5. Find out about the specific residential plumbing code requirements.
  6. Explore the commercial plumbing code requirements.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

Taking care of your plumbing system is essential, and there are a few mistakes you should steer clear of. First and foremost, make sure to dispose of non-biodegradable waste correctly to avoid blockages. Avoid flushing items such as baby wipes and paper towels down the toilet.

Secondly, try to limit the use of chemical drain cleaners as they can harm your pipes. Explore natural alternatives or seek assistance from a professional plumber. Lastly, don’t forget to regularly maintain your cleanouts to prevent major blockages.

Keep a close eye on them and address any issues promptly. By avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll ensure the longevity of your plumbing system and avoid costly repairs.


In conclusion, understanding the importance of plumbing cleanouts and the code requirements associated with them is crucial for maintaining a healthy drainage system and preventing drain blockages. By following best practices, such as proper installation and regular maintenance , homeowners and businesses can ensure the effectiveness and longevity of their plumbing systems. This article has provided valuable information on the necessity and placement of cleanouts, as well as tips for avoiding common mistakes.

We hope this article has been helpful in addressing the search intent of those seeking information on plumbing cleanout requirements. For more articles on plumbing maintenance and related topics, we recommend exploring our other informative resources.

If you’re dealing with a toilet that randomly runs for a few seconds, check out our article on “How to Fix a Toilet That Randomly Runs” to find out what might be causing the issue and how to resolve it.


Where are clean outs required?

In order to maintain proper functionality, it is necessary to have cleanouts installed for horizontal drainage piping. These cleanouts are crucial for easy access and maintenance of the piping system. As per regulations, it is required to have a cleanout every 100 feet for long runs of piping. This measurement is taken from the highest point of the horizontal drainage piping to where it connects with the building sewer. By ensuring the presence of cleanouts at regular intervals, any blockages or issues can be easily addressed and resolved, preventing potential damage and ensuring the smooth operation of the drainage system.

What is cleanout in plumbing?

A plumbing cleanout is an important access point that is typically installed on a drainage line to allow easy access for drain cleaning equipment. It is a common feature in most houses’ drain systems. However, it is essential to note that these cleanouts may not always be as easily accessible as they may seem at first glance.

What is the recommended size of cleanout?

Cleanouts should be of the same size as the pipe they serve, as long as the pipe size is up to 4 inches (102 mm). However, for pipes larger than 4 inches (102 mm), the cleanout should be at least 4 inches (102 mm) in size. This ensures proper maintenance and accessibility for larger pipes.

How often should you have a cleanout?

In the average home, it is recommended to clean out the sewer lines every two years. Businesses, on the other hand, may need more frequent cleaning, typically every 18 to 22 months. Regular maintenance of cleaning the sewer lines helps to prevent any issues and ensures proper drainage of these pipes.

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