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Old 07-05-2010, 05:41 PM   #1
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drain cleanout accessibility options


i have a 2 story home on a slab foundation. Upstairs is main living space, downstairs is garage.

The main sewage stack from upstairs bathroom goes down through the garage into the slab. Right before going into the slab is a cleanout. The previous owner built a bathroom in that area (probably illegally and probably because it was convenient to tie into the drain). By doing so, they walled off the cleanout, and put a shower in that corner.

Is there an easy way to remedy this without having to completely destroy the bathroom? How accessible does it need to be? Is there clearance requirement like for in front of furnace or electrical panel?

I'm thinking about reducing the length of the shower a little bit to uncover the wall where the cleanout is, and then putting a small access panel there. But it'll be a bit awkward to work in since it'll be a small space sandwiched between a bathroom wall and the shower wall.

Another option might be to put an access panel right into the shower, but I don't know if its allowed or how to make it water tight.

Edit: I've attached a picture to clarify. Red is where the main stack w/ cleanout is. I might be able to provide access from under the adjacent stairs, but u'd have to crawl on hands and knees to get to it. Again, not sure if that's allowed.
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Last edited by acerunner; 07-05-2010 at 05:54 PM.
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Old 07-05-2010, 05:58 PM   #2
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drain cleanout accessibility options


Have you considered just installing an outside cleanout? (outside the house)

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Old 07-05-2010, 06:32 PM   #3
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drain cleanout accessibility options


unfortunately, that is not an option. houses here are side by side, like row houses.
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Old 07-05-2010, 08:45 PM   #4
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drain cleanout accessibility options


"All required cleanouts shall be accessible"

Is the cleanout fitting in the vertical position in the wall, or is it horizontal in the floor?
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Old 07-05-2010, 09:17 PM   #5
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drain cleanout accessibility options


the stack is vertical. the cleanout comes off the side like a Y low to the ground.
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acerunner View Post
unfortunately, that is not an option. houses here are side by side, like row houses.
So you know for a fact it come out the side of the house? How much room is between houses? Do you know how deep the line is outside the house?
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Old 07-05-2010, 11:49 PM   #7
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drain cleanout accessibility options


the drain goes straight down into the slab (i don't know how deep) then out towards the front of the house to the streets where it meets with city's sewage system.

When I say the houses are side-by-side, i mean they are literally side touching side. No gap whatsoever.
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Old 07-06-2010, 09:06 AM   #8
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the drain goes straight down into the slab (i don't know how deep) then out towards the front of the house to the streets where it meets with city's sewage system.

When I say the houses are side-by-side, i mean they are literally side touching side. No gap whatsoever.
So an outside cleanout would then be an option. Is there a cleanout on the second floor as well? Does the stack run up through the roof? Is it 3" or 4" stack? I would suggest having it located. It's probably only a couple feet deep or less. If it runs under the garage floor, then under the driveway, you'll have the option then to either jack hammer/saw cut the floor and install a traffic grade cleanout. But won't have to destroy your bathroom/shower
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Old 07-06-2010, 11:10 AM   #9
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drain cleanout accessibility options


If you can access the cleanout from under the stairs you might be able to use a couple of fittings (I.E. long sweep 90 or a couple of 45 to extend from the existing cleanout to a more accessible spot
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:22 PM   #10
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lateralconcepts, maybe i'm not understanding what you mean by outside cleanout. Do you mean accessing the existing cleanout from the exterior of the home? If so, when I can't due to neighbor's house.

I don't think there is a cleanout on the second floor, if there is, it is also blocked. But it is my understanding that a cleanout is required where the drain transitions from vertical to horizontal because the horizontal run is at higher risk to blockage. So a cleanout on the second floor would not be required since it is vertical.

I do believe that it runs up to the roof, I haven't been to the roof to confirm, but there is a chase in the second floor that runs all the way to the ceiling.

The stack is 4".


plumberinlaw, i thought the cleanout has to be near the horizontal portion of the drain. By branching it out as u say, there will no longer be a direct path. Correct me if I'm wrong.


Here are photos of the cleanout and under the stairs. In the stairs photo, the cleanout is just around the corner of that wall. Also, I was mistaken when I said earlier that the cleanout was a wye off the side of the stack, its actually the other way around.
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drain cleanout accessibility options-img00177-20100706-1042.jpg   drain cleanout accessibility options-img00176-20100706-1041.jpg  
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Old 07-06-2010, 07:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
lateralconcepts, maybe i'm not understanding what you mean by outside cleanout. Do you mean accessing the existing cleanout from the exterior of the home? If so, when I can't due to neighbor's house.
acerunner - No, by outside cleanout I mean install a new cleanout or 2-way cleanout outside the house. The second picture you posted shows that the existing cleanout is still somewhat accessible. Not for maintenance, but you could get a camera down it to locate the lateral "horizontal" building sewer just outside the house. Dig it up and install your new cleanout. Like you would see with new construction. I'll see if I can find a good picture to explain.
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Old 07-06-2010, 07:28 PM   #12
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Old 07-06-2010, 10:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LateralConcepts View Post
acerunner - No, by outside cleanout I mean install a new cleanout or 2-way cleanout outside the house. The second picture you posted shows that the existing cleanout is still somewhat accessible. Not for maintenance, but you could get a camera down it to locate the lateral "horizontal" building sewer just outside the house. Dig it up and install your new cleanout. Like you would see with new construction. I'll see if I can find a good picture to explain.
thanks for the drawing, that really clarified things.

I was only able to get the camera in because the ceiling over the shower had an opening in the drywall (i think for planned lighting or exhaust). So I went over the wall and zoomed in to take the picture. That area will be normally closed up.
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Old 07-06-2010, 11:06 PM   #14
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drain cleanout accessibility options


Oh I see. Well that helps me visualize more also. Since it's not accessible then, assuming the roof vent is 4" also you'll be able to have someone run a camera down the vent stack to locate where the line runs under the garage, down the drive, and to the street. The camera head sends off a signal to a locator above ground. They can trace it out and mark the depth if that's what you're wanting to do. I'd do it for you but I'm in Idaho. Because there are so many laws regarding sewer inspections, etc. in CA they are very competitive there. You can find some good information on this website http://sewersmart.org/. There's a link on the main page for contractor and nursery partners.
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Old 07-07-2010, 12:28 AM   #15
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right now, my concern is not so much to find out how deep and the underground path of the pipe, but to find out how i can pass inspection by correcting the hidden cleanout quickly. It sounds to me that an outside cleanout will be just as involved and costly as doing something within the bathroom.


Last edited by acerunner; 07-07-2010 at 02:17 AM.
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