A sewer line, like every pipe, has a certain lifespan. Once it reaches a certain point of age and usage, it needs to be replaced. But when it the right time?
It is an expensive process that falls on the homeowner. As a rule, homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover sewer replacement costs. With the high cost hanging over your head, it makes no sense to replace your sewer line prematurely.
Here is a look at what can happen to your pipes and when you know it is time to replace your sewer lines.
Problems with Sewer Lines
Sewer lines are the most critical part of a home’s plumbing system. They take sewage and wastewater out of the house and transports it to the municipal sewer system. From there it is routed to a wastewater treatment plant, sanitized and eventually returned to the environment.
These lines are constantly in use, which can lead to problems. And with age comes deterioration. Here is a look at common problems with sewer lines.
Clogs from a range of sources, including build-up of debris from within the house. This includes toilet problems, grease, hair and other materials.
Cracks and breaks. This can be caused by age and deterioration, root intrusion or shifting soil.
Leaks from roots, cracks, problems with seals and joints
Corrosion and calcification due to aging
Tree roots intruding into the pipe through joints
General wear and tear due to use and age
Settling or collapsing of sections of pipe, another result of age and shifting soil
Do I Need to Replace It?
A professional plumber can do a thorough inspection of your pipe system and sewer lines. He has advanced equipment that lets him get a good look at the interior of your pipes without having to dig anything up.
You should call for an inspection if you notice any of these signs:
Water backing up in the toilet or drain
Bad or strange odors in your yard, due to a leaking sewer pipe
Sludge coming up the drain in your bathtub
Gurgling noises in your drain
Video Pipe Inspection
The plumber can do a video pipe inspection, which makes quick work of pinpointing problems. A tiny camera with a radio transmitter is sent through your pipe system and sewer pipe. What the camera sees is transmitted to a monitor that the plumber watches.
In real time, he sees the interior of the pipe. He can spot leaks, tree roots, breaks and clogs. Once the plumber knows what the problem is, he can make a decision about how serious it is. With his experience and training, he has the know-how to decide if the problem can be repaired or if it is time to replace your sewer lines.
When replacement is necessary, plumbers often recommend trenchless technology. This is the newest method of sewer replacement that is usually more cost effective than conventional methods.
Instead of digging trenches all over the yard, the plumbing contractor just needs to dig one or two holes. The two main methods, pipe lining and pipe bursting, use flexible tubing or pipes that are drawn through the old pipes. The new pipes are strong and durable, meeting or exceeding industry standards.