How Much Does It Cost to Install a Two-Way Cleanout for a Sewer Line?

Mariel Loveland
Written by Mariel Loveland
Updated January 21, 2022
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Highlights

  • The cost of installing a cleanout depends on the accessibility of your main line.

  • A simple cleanout installation can cost less than $1,000.

  • A complicated installation with extensive excavation can cost more than $3,500.

  • Installing a cleanout requires a permit.

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Things that shouldn’t be in drains have a knack for finding their way into them—from paper towels to that small toy your mischievous toddler flushed down the toilet. Clogs happen, but the best way to prevent a costly emergency plumbing job is to be proactive. Installing a two-way sewer cleanout makes it easier to find and clear clogs in your home’s main sewer line.

In other words, that consistently backed-up drain doesn’t have to be a hassle. Installing a cleanout can be pricey, but if your home has recurrent issues, it may save you money in the long run.

What Is a Two-Way Sewer Cleanout?

A sewer cleanout is an opening that plumbers can use to access your main sewer line in the event of a clog. You’ll often see these pipes sticking out of the ground in a home’s front or backyard. Most modern homes already have a sewer cleanout installed, but some older homes don’t. 

A two-way sewer cleanout differs from other cleanouts because it allows hydro jets and drain snakes access to both sides of the pipe—the side going into your home and the side going into your septic tank or the municipal sewers.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Sewer Cleanout?

Installing a two-way cleanout in your main sewer line will run the average homeowner about $2,000. It can cost less than $1,000 or more than $3,500, but it all depends on the job. The more excavation required, the higher the cost.

The price may seem like a lot to some homeowners, but it can actually save money if a home has frequent clogs in areas that aren’t accessible. For example, the average homeowner will pay $100 to $900 to clean out their main line, but it can easily cost upwards of $4,000 if the plumber has to dig or replace pipes. With a cleanout, problems are easier to diagnose before they become costly repairs.

What Factors Influence the Cost of a Sewer Cleanout?

The main factors that influence the cost of installing a cleanout are the accessibility of the main sewer line and the amount of pipe that needs to be installed. The job always involves some sort of excavation, but more extensive excavations significantly raise labor and equipment costs. Pipes can cost between $2 to $5 per linear foot.

Sometimes, a plumber can dig up a sewer line with a shovel. This job would fall on the less expensive end of the spectrum. Other times, they need to rent heavy-duty machinery like a backhoe to excavate, which falls on the more expensive end.

Cost Breakdown of Installing a Sewer Cleanout

A complete sewer line
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Most two-way sewer cleanouts are made from PVC, which is notoriously budget-friendly. Though you can opt for higher-end materials, the largest cost factor in this type of installation is usually the labor. Here’s how it breaks down.

Materials

Pipe and material costs for installing a sewer cleanout generally run between $70 and $150, but higher-end materials can cost more. If you have to replace some of the sewer line, you’re generally looking at a cost of $50 to $250 per foot.

Equipment

Equipment costs for installing a sewer cleanout run anywhere from $300 to $500. This includes things like tools and safety gear (e.g., hard hats, a trench box, and protective gloves).

Labor

Complicated jobs require multiple laborers and take longer to complete. A plumber charges from $45 to $200 per hour—the rate is highly dependent on experience, tools and materials, union fees, and vehicle expenses. 

Permit

Anytime you’re digging, you’ll need a local building permit. This helps authorities ensure that the project meets the safety and environmental codes set by the city and state—the average permit for plumbing costs between $50 and $500. Smaller towns generally fall on the low end of the spectrum, whereas larger cities tend to charge more.

Excavation

The average residential excavation costs $50 to $200 per cubic yard. If your main sewer line isn’t easily accessible, your plumber will need to use heavy-duty machinery. The rental costs amount to $120 to $150 per hour, which usually includes the labor of a licensed operator. Most of the time, there’s a rental minimum of one working day (or eight hours).

Clean Out

When you’re installing a cleanout, your plumber will also clean out your main line. This generally costs between $175 and $473. A simple snaking could cost as little as $100, but hydro jetting a complicated clog could run you as much as $1,000.

DIY vs. Hiring a Plumber

Since this job requires a permit, you’ll need to hire a professional plumber. This isn’t like patching up a pipe beneath your kitchen sink. You’re dealing with your main sewer line, and in many cases, that connects directly to your city’s sewer system. A botched job can lead to extensive repairs and clean-up costs, so it’s best to do it right the first time. 

To find a qualified plumber and prevent potential plumbing scams, look into online reviews. You could verify their license with your local licensing board and ask for a copy of their liability insurance. 

FAQ About Installing a Two-Way Cleanout

Why should I install a two-way cleanout in my sewer line?

Most homes already have a cleanout, but you may want to install a two-way cleanout if:

  • Your home has frequent plumbing problems

  • You have an older home that doesn’t have a cleanout

  • You have older pipes and want more frequent maintenance

How can I prevent clogs in my main sewer line?

A two-way cleanout can help if there’s already a clog, but the best strategy is to prevent one with the following tips:

  • Don’t rinse grease, oil, or fat down the drain

  • Don’t rinse coffee grounds or egg shells down the drain

  • Don’t flush items like diapers, sanitary products, cleaning wipes, or paper towels down your toilet

  • Put a guard on your drains to catch hair and other materials

How can I save money on my sewer lines?

The best way to save money is to prevent costly problems. Have a plumber look at tree roots that could potentially impact your main line. Always clear clogs correctly the first time to avoid the type of clean-ups that lead to large bills. You may also want to look into trenchless sewer replacement if your pipes are damaged.

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