Septic Clean Out: Costs and How to Clean Out a Septic Tank

Septic Clean-Out
Septic Clean Out

Modern plumbing has many fail-safes to help prevent sewer problems. Your home is well-protected against sewage backups thanks to draining traps, sump pumps, and vent pipes. The septic clean-out is a critical component of this system that you should be aware of. Despite its innocuous appearance, having one or more clean-outs can have a significant impact on both the health of your home’s sewer line and your bank account. In this post, we’ll discuss the cost of a septic clean-out pipe as well as how to find septic clean-out companies.

What is Septic Clean Out?

A septic tank clean-out is performed to ensure that the tank continues to function properly. If the tank is not cleaned frequently enough, a sludge layer will form on the bottom and decompose, eventually causing failure. There will also be a layer of floating scum that contains grease and any floating objects. A clean-out can be done in one of two ways.

Pumping the issue

You can contact a septic professional or a home sewer clean-out service to have it properly pumped out. The septic service will remove the cover and suction all of the solid waste, floating scum layer, and liquid effluent from the two compartments. When your septic clean-out is finished, you will have nothing left in your tank. When you use your washing machine, toilet, and other drain lines that go into the septic, they will begin to fill up with water.


However, this may not be enough to stop slow drains, a clogged outlet pipe, drain field, or leach lines. Solid waste or scum, including grease, could have clogged your septic lines if your septic was full or overflowing. You will have a septic problem in this case and will need to contact septic clean-out companies.

Using a natural septic treatment to solve the problem

A septic tank treatment that removes the solid waste layer and prevents it from reforming is also available. The septic treatment is simple. Depending on the size of your tank, you simply flush a tablet down your toilet once a month, which ends up in your septic system.

Septic Clean-Out Pipe

The septic tank clean-out pipe is a capped pipe that connects to the household sewer line. A sewer line is a pipe that connects your home’s plumbing to the septic tank’s inlet pipe.

If the sewer line becomes clogged, sewage from the home can back up into the drains, toilet, shower, or kitchen sink. This will result in shambles and a health hazard. Having the plumbing in place to allow for a clean-out means that you can keep the lines clear and drain water if a backup occurs.

The significance of a septic tank clean-out pipe

The majority of people are unaware of the significance of septic clean-out pipe. These pipes are critical to the proper operation of your septic system. Here’s how to find your septic tank cleanout. Here are a few of the critical functions of the septic tank clean-out pipe in your septic system:

  • Septic clean-out pipes aid in the removal of solids that accumulate in septic tanks. These solids will eventually clog the system and cause it to malfunction if they are not removed.
  • Aeration of the septic tank is also aided by the septic clean-out pipe. This is significant because it inhibits the growth of anaerobic bacteria, which can cause odors and other issues.
  • These pipes also aid in the maintenance of the septic tank’s level. Solids can settle in one area and clog the system if the septic tank is not level.
  • These pipes also prevent scum buildup. Scum is a layer of grease and oil that can float on top of the effluent from a septic tank. If this scum is not removed, it has the potential to clog the system.
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As you can see, septic tank clean-out pipes are critical to the proper operation of your septic system. If you have a septic system, you must ensure that the pipes are cleaned regularly. Failure to do so can lead to serious consequences.

How Does a Septic Tank Cleanout Pipe Work?

A septic tank clean-out pipe allows for the regular removal of sludge and scum from a septic tank. Without this pipe, solid waste would eventually overflow and cause the septic tank to fail.

Typically, the clean-out pipe is located at the end of the lateral field line. The clean-out pipe must be easily accessible for maintenance. A typical house’s lateral waste line, which is the pipe that connects the house plumbing to the municipal sewer or septic tank, has more than one clean-out.

Septic Clean-Out Cost

Even though cleaning your lateral lines may appear to be a low-cost option, there is always the risk of damaging the pipes. If a professional plumber has access through a sewer clean-out, the work will be more effective and less expensive.

This is because they have more direct access, which necessitates fewer tools and less labor than if they had to dig up your yard or snake the lateral from inside the house. The following is the cost of septic clean-out:

The basic estimate range provided by HomeAdvisor is $99 to $900, with an overall average of $288. This does not include any additional charges for the use of a camera or a water jetter.


CostHelper offers more detailed cost breakdowns, estimating that snaking your lateral will cost between $148 and $900, with an average cost of $410. They point out that the distance snaked affects your overall cost, so snake the lateral from an external septic clean-out rather than an access point inside the home.

A camera inspection of the septic clean-out line will cost an additional $100 to $800.

When hiring a professional, ensure that they are certified and have a good reputation. Some septic cleaning companies will offer a flat rate but then pressure you to add on extra services to increase the price. Make sure to shop around for the best combination of quality and cost.

How To Find Septic Clean-Out

The septic clean-out is a small capped pipe that protrudes above ground. Unfortunately, finding it is not always easy. To complicate matters further, many homes have multiple clean-outs and, in some rare cases, the clean-out is located inside. The steps below should make it easier to find the septic clean-out.

Examine the sidewalk

Many municipalities mark the point where your lateral meets the municipal sewer line. Along the curb and sidewalk, look for a stamped or painted letter “S.” If you find this mark, you can easily imagine a straight line from the mark to your house, where the lateral may be found. In some cases, you may be fortunate enough to find a septic clean-out in the vicinity of your search.

Look near your foundation.

In many cases, placing the sewer clean-out near the road is inconvenient, or the previous owners decided to install more than one sewer clean-out. When you have a septic system, sewer clean-outs are usually located near your home. The cap is rarely found more than three feet from the foundation and is located between the road or septic tank and the point where your home’s sewer line enters the ground through the foundation.

Look for extra clean-outs inside 

Cleanouts may be located inside or protruding from the outer walls of some homes, particularly older ones. Look for possible locations along the vent pipe in basements, crawl spaces, or attics. Indoor sewer clean-outs frequently appear as a ‘Y’ or ‘T’ shaped intersection with one side capped. Although not required, these are useful for keeping your indoor pipelines in good condition.

What if the property does not have a sewer clean-out?

Some older homes may lack a sewer clean-out. This is especially true if local or state plumbing codes do not require it. In such cases, it is usually preferable to have one installed.

In some cases, your home may have a clean-out that has simply become covered by dirt. If you think the house has one but can’t find the cap, you could do some light digging along the ground where you think the clean-out should be.

Alternatively, you could hire a plumber to use a camera to locate the clean-out from inside the pipe and pinpoint where to dig.

Septic Clean Out Companies

Septic systems are commonly used in rural areas across the country where there is no access to a town or public sewer system. They are appropriate for both residential and commercial properties.

We have compiled the best companies offering septic clean-out services across the country, whether you live in the country or the city, and your septic tank is due for a thorough cleaning.

#1. United site services

United Site Services, with highly trained, certified, and insured professionals on staff, offers septic tank cleaning services for commercial and residential properties in over 100 locations across the country.

#2. Roto-rooter

Roto-Rooter is our top pick for the best residential septic tank cleaning services because they provide complete septic system services such as cleaning, installations, and repairs.

#3. Carylon corporation

Carylon Corporation distinguishes itself as the best commercial septic tank cleaning company by providing specialized sewer solutions to companies in over 20 states.

#4. Mr. Rooter

Mr. Rooter, our top customer service pick, provides septic tank cleaning services to businesses and homeowners, offers live chat support, and responds to plumbing emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

#5. Wind river environmental

Wind River Environmental provides complete septic system services while adhering to eco-friendly practices such as composting any organic waste, adhering to a paperless policy throughout the company, and recycling whenever possible.


It’s critical to choose septic clean-out companies that are dependable, consistent, and insured, as well as have the experience and equipment to perform a thorough septic clean-out. Except for Carylon Corporation, which specializes in large commercial and industrial facilities, all of the septic clean-out companies listed here provide residential and commercial cleaning.

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If your home’s septic tank requires cleaning, we recommend contacting United Site Services (if you live in its service area), Roto-Rooter, and the remaining septic clean-out companies that provide residential services. Smaller commercial or industrial septic systems can be serviced by any of the options listed here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a clean out pipe?

The sewer clean-out is a pipe or pipe(s) with a cap that allows access to the sewer line to remove blockages. Furthermore, the sewer line that connects your home to the main public sewer system is known as the lateral sewer line. The sewer cleanout is usually located somewhere along the lateral sewer line.

Should there be water in the cleanout?

It has a circular or rectangular cap with the words “sewage” or “cleanout” written on it. It occasionally has a small hole in the cap. If there is any sewage or water around the outside of that cap, you have a clogged sewage drain.

How do you clear a septic line?

After sprinkling baking soda down the drain, pour vinegar into the pipe. Allow the mixture to sit in the pipe for at least an hour. Finally, run hot water through the drain. If the clog is minor, this may be sufficient to clear the pipe.

Where should Cleanouts be located?

Regardless of where the urinal is located in the building, a cleanout must be installed above the fixture connection fitting. Exceptions: (1) Cleanouts may be omitted on horizontal drain lines less than 5 feet (1524 mm) in length unless they serve sinks or urinals.

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