Sewer Cleanout Cap Popped Off? (Possible Causes & Fixes)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

Homeowners are rightfully worried about keeping their sewer systems in pristine shape, and that includes keeping an eye out for strange happenings. One of the more alarming occurrences that can happen to your sewage line is to see your cleanout cap pop off on its own accord.

More often than not, seeing this also means you’ll have to clean up a mess. But, what causes this issue, anyway?

A popped-off sewer cleanout cap can be caused by a loose cap, or due to clogs in your sanitary line system. This can result in spills outside of your home as well as serious damage to your plumbing system. The sooner you fix the pipe system, the better off you’ll be.

It may seem like a minor issue, but a sewer cleanout cap that’s popped off is often indicative of major problems that will only grow if not addressed. This article will give you a better idea of what could happen if you don’t get this problem fixed.

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Why Did My Sewer Cleanout Cap Pop Off?

There are two main reasons why a sewer cleanout cap could pop off. The most common reason is that most people tend to leave their cleanout caps loose. When they’re loose, they may end up popping off as a result of built-up pressure, gasses, or even high winds. This can be fixed by tightening up the cap.

However, there is another reason that a cleanout cap can pop off. If your sewer lateral has clogged, you will experience repeated pop-offs as well as sewer backups. In many cases, you might even see sewage overflows happen outside of your home. This can also occur if an errant root from a tree grows through your sewer lateral, blocking access to the line.

Why Do People Leave Their Sewer Cleanout Cap Loose?

Though you really shouldn’t do this, there are some people who leave their cleanout cap loose. This is usually done as a way to prevent sewer overflows and backups reaching the inside of their home. By keeping the cap loose, they can direct the overflow to happen in their yard rather than inside their house.

In some areas, leaving the sewer cleanout cap loose is actually part of the building’s code. However, this is relatively rare and is more of an exception than the rule. If you aren’t sure whether your sewer cleanup cap is supposed to be let loose, check your local building codes to make sure you’re in the right.

How To Fix A Sewer Cap That Popped Off

The first thing that you should do is realize that you might be able to fix the issue by tightening your sewer cleanout cap. If you continue to notice the cap refusing to stay in place, you need to clean out any clogs or excess debris that could be slowing down your sewage flow.

In many cases, homeowners can fix this on their own if they have their own snake tool. Not all clogs will be an easy fix. If you have already snaked your sewer cleanout with no improvements on the situation, you may need to call a professional to help figure out what went wrong.

Regardless of whether you end up fixing the issue through a DIY approach or through a pro, there is one thing that should be abundantly clear. Before you try to do anything else, shut off the water to your home, and stop using the water appliances you have. Adding more water will only worsen the problem.

Who Should I Go To For This Kind Of Fix?

This all depends on your building codes. In most jurisdictions, you will be responsible for the maintenance of the entire sewer lateral. If this is your case, then the best thing you can do is call up a professional plumbing crew and explain the situation. They’ll be able to take it from there.

However, some areas only hold homeowners liable for the upper part of the sewer lateral. If this is the case in your neighborhood, you might be able to save some money by calling the sewer company. Since the sewer company will be held liable for the repairs, you won’t have to pay a dime!

How Much Does It Cost To Fix Your Plumbing?

The price of a fix on a clog that would cause a sewer cleaning lid to pop out can vary depending on the severity of the issue, as well as where you live. Cleaning a sewer cleanout line will cost between $175 to $550 for a typical job. If your sewer cleanout needs to be replaced due to excess damage, you should expect to pay between $600 and $2000.

The price of fixing your sewer cleanout will vary depending on how much excavation will be required. Since your sewer line has a lot of connections underground, jobs that require underground access will require excavation. This can lead to a much higher price, not to mention a lot more time on the job.

What Happens If I Don’t Fix This Issue?

At first glance, this may seem like it’s just a minor problem you can ignore. However, this isn’t the case. A clog can cause your sink, tub, and toilet to drain slowly. If left unmitigated, the clog can grow to the point that sewage won’t actually be able to make it to your outdoor area. This will lead to flooding and backups inside your home.

Of course, the biggest issue here is the fact that you also run the risk of doing permanent damage to your sewer line. This obviously leads to bigger repair issues down the road.

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Related Questions

What does a cleanout plug look like?

If you are having trouble finding your sewer cleanout plug, look for a 4-inch diameter pipe with a metal lid on top. Some have square knobs on the top to help make tightening easier. Sewer cleanout plugs are typically found outside of your home.

How often should a sewer line be cleaned?

Most people don’t realize this, but sewer lines need to be maintained, just like any other part of their home. Ideally, you will clean your sewer lines at least once every 18 to 22 months. Some plumbing experts suggest doing it even more frequently, suggesting an annual cleanout schedule instead.

How can you get rid of roots in a sewer line?

The best way to do it is to kill the roots so they don’t come back. This can be done by pouring salt down your toilet. Table salt (sodium chloride) and rock salt can both be used without much interference to your plumbing.

Can Drano get rid of a clog in a sewer line?

Though the name might suggest that it’s great for getting rid of clogs, the truth is that drain cleaner is not meant to be used to get rid of sewer line clogs. These kinds of cleaners include chemicals that are known for generating heat, which could actually cause further damage to your line.

Can I use a pressure washer to get rid of a sewer clog?

A pressure washer can get rid of a sewer clog if you use a sewer jetter hose to do it.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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