Cracked pipes can be more than just a costly repair, they can result in extensive and pricey property damage and lead to serious health risks.
Sewer line backups and replacements are plumbing nightmares that can be both tedious and expensive.
Most backups are the result of clogged pipes. Some sewer backups can be treated with a plunger or bottle of drain cleaner, while others are more serious and require professional help. Problems with the main sewer line are serious and need more than a DIY project.
Sewer Line Repairs
The main cause of sewage backups is a damaged sewer pipe. While it’s preventable, you may not always know you have a problem on your hands.
Repairing or replacing a line is usually a huge hassle and expense for a homeowner, and a big part of the reason why is because these sewer lines are buried underground. As a result, you need heavy equipment and lots of manual labor just to reach these sewer lines.
Fortunately, new technology allows us to skip digging a trench and repairing clogged or broken sewers without destroying your property, yards, porches, or driveways.
Trenchless Sewer Line Repairs
Instead of creating a long trench to access a pipe line, special equipment is now available that can repair or even replace entire lengths of pipe with only one or two small access holes.
How Is Trenchless Sewer Repair Done?
Trenchless sewer repair is becoming a preferred method of repair that can save both time and money. There are several techniques of trenchless sewer repair. Before deciding on what trenchless sewer repair method to use, a plumber should always complete a video inspection of the line first to determine what the problem is.
One trenchless sewer repair solution for pipe repair and sewer line replacement is pipe bursting. Simply put, a set of holes is made into the ground, a cable is inserted into the old pipe and as it runs through the old pipe line, it breaks it apart. A new pipe is put in place of the old pipe line and then it is connected to the old functioning pipe line, the holes are filled, and the process is complete in a few hours.
Unlike pipe bursting, the pipe is not being replaced, but rather repairing it from the inside. In this method, a device is inserted into the pipe which creates a durable resin liner where the damage is. The resin undergoes a fast curing process and is then ready to resume services.
If your pipes are subjected to extensive damage beyond repair, you may have to resort to traditional sewer line replacement methods.
Sometimes the most cost-effective way to repair a sewer is excavation. In cases of complete collapses or severe breaks in the line, repairs will typically require digging up the old system and installing a complete system replacement.
Situations usually requiring full excavation are:
- Completely damaged pipes due to tree roots
- Raw sewage leaking into yards
- Collapsed lines
- Off-grade pipe line material
- Bellied pipes
- Advanced corrosion
How to Know If Sewer Pipe Repair is Needed
There are a few tell-tale signs that it’s time to schedule a line repair appointment to keep your home safe from damage.
Strange Smells Around Your Home
Sewage has a very distinct smell. But when it’s coming up through your house, it’s not always easy to pinpoint. Sometimes, it can smell musty or like mildew. Other times, it’s unmistakable.
Pay attention to the smells around your house, especially around the drains. If you smell something off-putting, this is a sign to contact your plumber immediately.
Toilets Making Odd Noises
If you hear the water running or notice sounds like bubbles coming up into the bowl, this is a sign you may have a damaged sewer line. That noise happens when water from the toilet encounters a clog in the sewer line. Since it can’t go into the sewer, it is forced back into your toilet, and causes air bubbles to flow up.
Drains Aren’t Draining
Slow drains are one of the most common plumbing issues, but just because they are common does not mean they shouldn’t be taken seriously. The only way to know how bad of a clog you have is to call a plumber.
If the clog is minor, a plumber can remove it quickly and easily. If the drains are moving slowly because a sewer line problem, no amount of DIY repair efforts will repair the damage. You will need an experienced professional to fix the damage.
Mold on Your Walls
Damaged sewage lines and pipes all increase the humidity inside your home. This often results in mold and mildew growth on your walls, even in parts of the house without plumbing fixtures. If you notice discoloration on the walls or see strange colors spreading from the base of your toilet, schedule an appointment with a plumber.
Significantly Greener Grass
Take a look around your lawn. Are there patches where the grass is greener than anywhere else? Sewage does wonders for plant life around your home. It makes a patchy lawn look incredibly lush.
Common Causes of Sewer Line Damage
Regardless of the materials the pipe lines are made of, it can break due to extreme inner and outer pressure as well as:
- Poor maintenance
- Blockages and buildup of hair, debris, grease, and other foreign objects
- Tree roots infiltrating sewer pipe and joints
- Ground freezes and thaws
- Soil movement, heavy construction nearby, earthquakes, etc.
- Improper sewer pipe layout, design, or installation
- Backup from a city sewer line
What to Do If You Suspect a Leak
To help prevent sewer line damage or mitigate an issue when it arises, it’s important to remember how to spot the main causes of sewer line damage and how you can repair or replace your sewer system.
Having an expert sewer line evaluation performed is key to finding and fixing problems before they become a local disaster and mess in terms of sewer function. Don’t wait for a sewer failure to occur to figure out what needs to be repaired.
A failure often causes far more damage. With proactively identified risk, the damage can be contained, keeping costs lower as the efforts are focused better and there is less cleanup that has to be initiated in the surrounding area of the weak sewer line.
How to Protect Your Sewer Lines
Although not all sewer line damage is preventable, there are steps you can take to care for your sewage system. Homeowners should be proactive and hire a professional plumber to conduct an inspection at least once a year.
Although a root invasion in your sewer line is often caused by an already-existing crack or leak in the pipe, removing the tree from the area after repairing or replacing a pipe to ensure the problem doesn’t arise again in the future.
Only dispose of human waste and toilet paper in the sewer lines; any other materials such as paper towels that enter the system can cause blockages.
Don’t Prolong Sewer Line Repair
If your toilet starts to back up with either clear water or raw sewage, turn off the water supply at the back of the toilet and call your plumber immediately. Scheduling sewer line repair services as soon as you notice a problem is the best way to keep your home safe from water damage and your plumbing in good condition.
Get a Professional Opinion
When it comes to sewer repair, every case is different. Trenchless sewer repair is a great possibility, but it’s not necessarily the right for your situation. The only person who can tell you the correct way forward is a sewer repair professional.
We repair cracked, broken, deformed, and collapsed sewer pipes in a fast and efficient manner. While it may be easy to tell a serious sewer pipe problem has happened in some cases, other cases may not be so obvious.
Our experienced, trained technicians will inspect your sewer system and review your best solutions. Our dedicated team will keep your plumbing working properly whether you’re worried about a dripping faucet or are battling a backed-up toilet. Contact us today!