Sewer line replacement: Questions and answers

checking waste pipe outside of the building

The value of your house depends upon how much heed you pay to its maintenance. The exteriors are easier to take care of; the tap is leaking, the paint is coming off, the light bulb is not working. When you can see them, you can fix them, but what about things that are underneath, beyond the line of sight.

Most people don’t pay attention to the pipes and sewers until they cause a problem. If you are one of those people, looking for last-minute solutions, then here are the answers of some commonly asked questions that you may find helpful:

1. What are some common sewer problems?

A sewer system takes water away from your home to primary wastewater management system. Since it takes a lot of effort to replace sewers, they are built to last for a long period. However, some issues are quite common such as installation errors and soil that can hurt the sewer system.

Sewers are like any other pipes and hence prone to clogging. When you hear gurgling sounds in the flush, it indicates that there is a blockage. Putting grease or other hard products down the drain causes a backup.

Sewer problems are also standard on properties with lots of trees since busting of roots leads to clogs and breakages.

A broken pipe is yet another common cause of sewer problems. Soil shifts increased pressure, or changes in temperature can cause pipes to disintegrate. If you start noticing frequent puddles of water in your home, a broken pipe is the culprit.

2. When do you need a sewer replacement?

On average, it takes around $2000 to $4000 to repair a sewer, while full replacement can cost around $25,000 to $30,000. It is a huge cost, and you shouldn’t jump into it unless you are sure that there is no way out. So if one drain or sink is not working properly, it does not indicate that the entire sewer system needs to be replaced. If all of the drains stopped working, then you likely need a repair.

A repair can also last for a few years.  You don’t need to go for the full repair unless you have exhausted all of the options.

3. Can you do it yourself?

If you think you can experiment, save up the costs, and do the clean up yourself, think twice. It is better to be penny-wise than pound foolish. We know there are a lot of drain cleaners available in the market that you can pick up right from the shelf. However, if your pipes are already damaged and you pour down the drain cleaner, the chances are that chemicals will sit in the pipe and dissolve it. It is also possible that when you flush, the water will come back along with the chemicals, causing injury. Hence, consult a professional first before you touch anything. Professional consultants have the experience and also the equipment to determine which pipe needs repair. Also, they are usually covered with insurance for accidental damage, and they offer warranties as well.

4. What to expect in a replacement?

Different methods can be used to replace a sewer. Conventionally, trenching, and replacing is used for repairs and replacement. It is the most intrusive and an expensive way because of the cost of labor, restoration, and landscaping. However, sometimes, it is the only viable solution to maintain the condition of the pipe.

The second option is the trenchless sewer repair. One of the trenchless methods is pipe bursting method. In this method, two holes are dug on both ends. A wire is then inserted through the length of the pipe. On one end, there is a bursting head and on the other a pulling mechanism. When the head is burst, the old pipe comes out, making way for the new pipe. It is an effective way. However, it doesn’t guarantee what it will damage. Hence, sometimes, municipalities don’t allow its usage because it damages other facilities.

Before you opt for it, you should gauge if trenchless repair is right for your property.  Your contractor will do thorough tests such as hydrostatic pressure or video camera inspection to determine your need.

5. How to find the right professional?

The success of your sewer replacement or repair will depend a lot on your contractor.  Hence, you must choose the right one. Imagine losing all that money for nothing. Look for a local contractor in your area. Once you have the options, vet them by checking their license with the local authorities. Demand a clear explanation of the process. Put all the terms and conditions in the contract. Also, check for references from other clients that the company has dealt with. Make sure that the company has not sublet your contract to any other company.

Make it easy

Sewer replacement can be a very frustrating task and a one with a lot of risks involved. However, if you start it right, it doesn’t have to be. Don’t try to resolve the issues on your own.  Consult a professional in the beginning only.