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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Mesa AZ
    Posts
    1,181

    Default Sewer clean outs in interior wall.

    I'll try to keep this short.
    I inspected a 1 yr old semi custom home a few weeks ago, during the inspection customer stated that a sewer cleanout was installed in the hall way, by entry for an interior bath, he asked the builder if it could be installed in the bath instead of in the hall.
    Per the customer, the plumber just removed the clean out, and drywallers patched the hole instead of moving it to inside bath.

    At time of inspection not knowing exactly what the customer was refering to I recommended correction by a plumber to origional specs.

    Customer called today and stated the plumber stated the clean out was not really needed, if the toilet plugged up, the toilet could be removed to clean it out, then stated if he, the customer, really wanted the cleanout installed they could install one, but it would make a mess, require removing drywall etc.

    The response from the plumber that if he could do it, but it would make a mess raises a big red flag to me.
    I suggested the customer should contact the local building dept inspector and get their opinion.

    As a home inspector, on a finished home, did I miss something by not noticing there was not a interior clean out for this bath?
    There was a cleanout under the sink.
    OR
    If this was not disclosed would another HI check for this, catch this on a resale inspection?

    Similar Threads:
    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: Sewer clean outs in interior wall.

    I'd never note or notice the lack of a cleanout in an interior surface. Maybe some others with more of a plumbing background would. I always observe them in crawl spaces but can't honestly say that I'd call one out as missing if I didn't see it.

    The irony with plumbing is the new systems put cleanouts everywhere that are rarely needed since they're.... new. The old systems that clog up all the time rarely have cleanouts where you need them. That's why god invented reciprocating saws and Fernco fittings.

    I don't see a huge liabilty here.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,246

    Default Re: Sewer clean outs in interior wall.

    Many are installed only to serve as test tees where the plumber can insert his test device (some use the inflatable balls, there are other types), then, after testing is complete, with no need to an actual "clean out" there, the cleanout is hidden in the wall and gone forever.

    Typically when this is done, the test tee is turned sideway in the wall so as not to interfere with the installation of the drywall.

    The critical aspect would be ... is there a plug installed?

    When the plumber removed it and the drywallers covered it, had the plumber installed a recessed plug instead of the normal protruding type plug?

    If there is not plug, that could leak at any time, and may be leaking at this time, and may have been leaking in the past.

    If it is a "vent" only, then the only water going down it is from rain entering the vent terminal, in which case it may not show a leak, yet there may not be a plug installed.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
    Jeff Remas Guest

    Default Re: Sewer clean outs in interior wall.

    A toilet can be considered a clean out. I had this confirmed through the ICC after I disagreed just like you did.

    Read the definition of Cleanout.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    1,258

    Default Re: Sewer clean outs in interior wall.

    I'm not sure I've ever seen a cleanout on the interior of a home for a bathroom. Laundry and kitchen sink, and maybe a few times under the bathroom sink, but not for the toilet. Is this common on the houses in AZ?

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Mesa AZ
    Posts
    1,181

    Default Re: Sewer clean outs in interior wall.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Robinson View Post
    I'm not sure I've ever seen a cleanout on the interior of a home for a bathroom. Laundry and kitchen sink, and maybe a few times under the bathroom sink, but not for the toilet. Is this common on the houses in AZ?

    I see interior cleanouts quite a few times on larger homes, I honestly never determined what fixture they were for. Most of the time cleanouts for sinks are installed in cabinet under the sink.
    The ones with the dome cover plate, opposed to a flat cover, do stand out like a sore thumb in the living areas.

    If they are in the dining or kitchen areas I have thought , sure hope the plumber doesn't show up at dinner time.


  7. #7
    Joshua Hardesty's Avatar
    Joshua Hardesty Guest

    Default Re: Sewer clean outs in interior wall.

    I install cleanouts inside houses if:

    It's coming from the second floor (who wants to pull a clogged toilet off above living spaces?), and

    The crawlspace is so tight in this spot it's impractical to carry a snake to that location, OR

    I would need to turn the pipe in the crawlspace as soon as it dropped below the floor, to clear some obstruction, thus were I to put a cleanout in the crawlspace I'd have to put it between joists, making cleaning difficult.

    I put cleanouts on every toilet if I can, simply because it's much better for the customer if the brown water doesn't have to get inside their house. Though I'm not really sure if it'll ever be of any use to me -- I've rarely seen a house I've done with PVC get clogged. When it does happen, it's something like the helper dropped the toilet flange knockout down the pipe, or the painters threw rags in there, or the tile guy wasn't very neat with his grout and filled the shower trap. Those are the fun ones.


  8. #8
    R. A. Wilkins's Avatar
    R. A. Wilkins Guest

    Default Re: Sewer clean outs in interior wall.

    Dan,
    The plumbing code allows for any removable trap to used as a cleanout. Since the toilet has an internal trap, simply removing it would suffice as a suitable cleanout. This isn't the best design but is an approved method.


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