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Old 12-12-2016, 08:13 PM   #1
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Default 3 Ways to Encourage Customers to Add an Outdoor Cleanout

Every plumbing contractor who’s worked on occupied residences knows the joys of cleaning out a blocked main sewer line. Depending on the age of any given home, most do have cleanouts somewhere within the building. Most interior cleanouts are in the basement, but they might also be in the crawlspace under the home and sometimes in floors, walls, and ceilings. Some homes don’t have a cleanout, which entails pulling the toilet to clear the line.

In all the above cases, it’s a dirty job and you’ve got to do it. Cleaning a main sewer line can be much more difficult, and in some cases, impossible if your customer doesn’t have an outside cleanout. But how do you encourage customers to add one to their homes? Most homeowners will hit you with a barrage of questions about your reasoning, but going in prepared is half the battle. Here are several ways to answer those questions and encourage your customers to install an outdoor cleanout.

There’s Already a Cleanout in My Basement

While basement cleanouts are usually easily accessible, everything stuck in that pipe must go somewhere once it’s opened. If the blockage is inside the home, all the fluids and debris that entered every pipe in the house will pour out.

On the other hand, if the blockage in the sewer line is outside the home, all the water trapped in the plumbing system, along with everything trapped in the exterior line, will propel itself back into the building with great force.

This means removing an upstairs toilet to access the full-size pipe and rod the blockage from there. With a cleanout on the exterior of the home, the basement plug won’t have to be pulled. Any resulting sewage overflow and the rodding work will occur outside.

Where Will You Put It?

After locating the exact area where the home’s sewer line exits the building, a hole will need to be dug to expose the line. Most residential sewer lines extend several feet beyond the structure, where they expand to a larger size pipe.

This change in size allows the liquid sewage to more easily flow to the city’s main line. The excavation is usually made at the point where the house line transitions to the larger pipe. Connecting a cleanout at the junction of the larger section of pipe allows for easier access in the case larger rodding or root removal equipment is ever needed.

Explain the Benefits

There are several benefits in installing an outside cleanout. Clearing or cleaning a main sewer line can be more difficult – and in some cases, nearly impossible – without an outside cleanout.
• The homeowner can avoid possible water damage, pipe damage, basement cleanup expenses and potential repair expenses that may occur when a cleanout is located inside the home.

• Any necessary rodding work is accomplished faster and easier when performed outside. Plumbing equipment does not have to be brought into the home, lugged upstairs, downstairs or into a crawl space.

• The entire process is cleaner if performed outdoors. Tarps won’t be laid out inside the house to protect the one or more work areas from potential water or sewage damage during the rodding process.

• If the home has an interior cleanout, it must be opened slowly to allow all the water and sewerage inside the line to slowly drain out before the cleanout cap can be completely removed. This is a time consuming, messy and more expensive process that’s necessary before any rodding work can start.
Blocked sewer lines aren’t fun for either you or the homeowner, but an outside cleanout provides better access, makes testing interior lines easier and can ultimately save the homeowner money in costly video inspections and difficult rodding or jetting work.

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