add outdoor cleanout or just plan on rodding through toilet

3 Replies

About to close on a single family home with single bathroom, the plan for it is to be a rental for years.

Would you add an outdoor cleanout, or just plan to rod sewer lines by removing the toilet every time? I've confirmed with a plumber who was at the house that that is how it would be done with no cleanout added.  

There is one arbor vitae close to where I believe the sewer lines run.

Other houses we've rodded already had cleanouts added at some point by previous owners. I've learned that current code is to have an outdoor cleanout, but it's not something that ever comes up with city rental inspections or inspections by home inspectors.

Coincidentally, I just encountered this exact same scenario/choice in one of my rentals a few weeks ago.  It's an older, one bathroom house with no exterior cleanout.  The tenant called because the toilet wouldn't flush/drain due to tree roots clogging the sewer line.

The plumber tried to clear the clog without removing the toilet, but couldn't reach the clog.  So he said he could remove the toilet to clear it, or add an exterior cleanout (for around $350-$400).  I opted to add the exterior cleanout because this wasn't the first time that tree roots had clogged the sewer line in this particular house, and I'm guessing it won't be the last.  But next time it will be a lot cheaper to fix, and possibly the tenant can even clear it himself now without the need to even call a plumber.

Here's a picture of the new cleanout now easily accessible via a crawlspace vent:

@Kyle J. I can't say I've ever seen one in a crawlspace vent but that's a lot easier than digging up the yard. This house is on a crawl; wonder if that would work in our climate but definitely worth looking into, thanks!

Yes, I would add the clean out for any property that you were going to rent. I have had to use the clean out a lot of times and it is such a time saver. It pays for itself the first time it is used. I promise that if you have to remove the toilet to snake the drain you will be kicking yourself for not getting the cleanout. Good luck!

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