I most cases, this means that your main line is clogged. Luckily, most homes have a main-line cleanout located in the ground. If you know where yours is, you can remove the cap to release the water from your home. This will relieve the immediate threat of a sewage spill on the interior of your home.
Your sewer system needs to be cleaned to remove any obstructions that prevent normal flow of sewage from your home to the sewer.
After the clog is cleared, your toilet flush may need to be adjusted to ensure it is flushing at the proper levels to ensure flow of sewage. Poorly adjusted toilets may not carry sewage all the way to the city sewer. If this is the case paper and waste settling in the pipe will build over time until it seals the pipe and restricts proper flow.
Maintence requirements will depend on the reason for the clog.
Tree roots are typically a once-per-year cleaning. Cleaning the drain prunes the roots from the pipe, but like the branches above ground, they will continue to re-grow.
If the clog was caused by foreign objects such as paper towels, tampons, and “flushable” wipes, maintence is as simple as ensuring that these items are not flushed down the toilet.
While each home is unique, the two most common locations to find your cleanout are within three feet of your house, or at the front/rear edge of your property line. If you do not immediately spot your cleanout, there are several clues you can use to help you find it.
Where are the manholes in your neighborhood?
Look down your street and try to find the nearest manhole. If the manholes run down the street in front of your house, your cleanout will most likely be in the front. If you don’t see a manhole, or if you ONLY see them in the intersection, take a look down your nearest side street. If there is a manhole in line with your rear fence, then your cleanout is most likely in the rear.
What about for my septic tank?
If you have an older house that had a tank, but has since been connected to the city sewer, the above instructions should still be useful. If your house still is on a septic tank, the most common place to find a cleanout is between the house and the tank, generally within three feet of the wall.
What if I can’t find a cleanout?
Unfortunately, not every home was built with a main-line cleanout installed. Even when you do have one, it could possibly be buried
What about the mess?
Will there be a mess left to clean up if you remove the cleanout cap outside? Unfortunately, yes. But it is easier to clean your flowerbed than your carpets, and you avoid the potential water damage to wood floors and sheetrock.