How to Install a Sewer Pipe Clean Out


A clean-out fitting allows easy access to sewer pipes when snaking. The T-shaped fitting has a threaded cap that simply unscrews allowing access. The two most common types of sewer drains are cast iron soil pipe and PVC pipe. The method for installing a clean out on existing pipes is the same for each type. The fitting installs to the applicable pipe by using rubber boots and metal hose clamps designed for the project.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • 1-foot piece of applicable sized PVC pipe
  • Reciprocating saw with metal cutting blade
  • PVC glue
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Two rubber couplings with attached hose clamps
  • Clean-out fitting
  • Slotted or Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Dig around the sewer line using a shovel to expose the pipe in the area where you want to install the clean-out fitting. The hole should be deeper than the pipe depth and big enough to expose about 2 to 3 feet of the pipe.

  • Cut two 4-inch pieces of the PVC pipe using the reciprocating saw and blade. Apply PVC glue and insert them into the hub ends of the clean-out fitting. This provides a nipple for the rubber boot to attach.

  • Measure the length of the clean-out fitting plus the nipples using a tape measure and add 1 inch to the measurement. Transfer this measurement to the sewer pipe using the tape and a pencil. This is the section of pipe you will cut out to accommodate the clean-out fitting. The extra inch allows room to insert the fitting easily between the sewer pipes.

  • Cut the section of sewer pipe on the marks and remove the section. Use a reciprocating saw with a metal cutting blade attached to cut the pipe. Cast iron or PVC sewer pipe cuts easily with a metal cutting blade.

  • Slide a rubber coupling onto one end of the sewer pipe until the end of the pipe is flush with the coupling. Repeat this step for the other coupling.

  • Position the clean-out fitting between the two pipe ends. Slide one of the rubber couplings onto the fittings nipple. Split the difference of the rubber couplings width between the sewer pipe and the fitting. Repeat this step for the other coupling.

  • Adjust the fitting so that it is straight up and down and tighten the clamping screws on the rubber couplings to secure them to the sewer pipe and fittings using a slotted or Phillips-head screwdriver.

  • Pack some loose dirt under the pipe and fill in the rest of the hole.

Tips & Warnings

  • Add an extension to the clean-out fitting to raise the cap for easier access.
  • Wear safety glasses when cutting the pipe.
  • Use caution when working with power tools.

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