Your home’s plumbing and sewer system have been an intricate part of your home from the time it was built. For homes that are older than 50 years there is a good chance you may be starting to notice failures in your piping systems. One of those may be the main sewer and drainage lines coming into your home.
When it comes to sewer lines, is it is important to understand what your sewer lines are made of. There are two basic materials used to create sewer lines, these include:
Clay pipes were used by builders and sewer workers to create a main sewer line prior to 1980 and can typically last for 50 to 60 years. Clay pipes, sometimes called terra cotta pipes, are very susceptible to root intrusion cracks and breakage. They are no longer used in the industry.
PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic piping were designed to last for longer periods of time. After 1980 this pipe replaced the old version of clay pipes.
However, both types of piping will eventually wear out. While they are estimated to last a long period amount of time, there are problems that can arise that limit the livelihood of your piping system.
Your home’s main sewer line is buried beneath the yard, making it difficult to identify the location of problems.
There are a few indications that your sewer line could be broken:
1) Sewage Backups and Blockages: Regular backups may be a symptom of broken or deteriorating sewer lines. It is normal to experience the occasional minor clogs in your toilet, kitchen sinks or showers, however, when a clog starts occurring with unusual frequency, especially in multiple drains, or if you start to notice that water is draining slowly throughout your home, this could be a sign of an obstructed or damaged sewer line.
2) Foundation Cracks, Settlement, and Sinkholes: If the main sewer line running under the slab in your home develops a leak that goes unnoticed for a extended period of time, this may lead to foundation problems such as cracks in your foundation, settlement of your home or building, and potentially even a sinkhole.
3) Sewer Gas Odor: You might not always be able to see a sewer line problem, but there’s a good chance you will smell it. A sanitary sewer should be air tight everywhere with the exception of vent stacks on your roof. This means that you should never smell sewer odor in your home. If you start to notice unpleasant odors in your home there is a good chance there are problems with your sewer lines.
3) Soggy spots in the yard: Leaks in your sewer line are often hard to detect, especially in areas where the sewer line is buried very deep underground. An obvious sign that you may have a broken sewer pipe would be septic wastewater pooling in your yard. The issue may be a broken septic tank, clogged drain fields, or a cracked main line.
4) Extra Green and Lush Patches in Grass: Spotting an unusually green and lush patch of grass in your yard may be due to a sewage leak underground. Since sewage acts as a fertilizer for vegetation, leakage from your main line into the surrounding soil will give the surrounding grass extra nutrients that will result in a lush and extra green appearance.
5) Mold Problems: Mold growth may also be a sign of a break in your sewer lines behind your walls. If you notice mold growth in your home accompanied by sewer odor then you likely have a break in your sewage drain pipes.
6) Slow Drain: A slow drain may be a symptom that a blockage is forming which will eventually lead to a sewage backup. If your toilet, bathtub, or sink is draining slowly even after attempts to clear the line, you may have issues such as tree root intrusion, or cracks.
There are a few different reasons that can cause cracked or broken sewer lines. Some of these factors are:
Where is the break or leak? If the break or leak in your drain line is outside your home, it is most likely far below the ground and will require excavation of the surrounding property to fix. This adds considerable cost to your repair. How expensive it will be ill depend on a few things such as how deep you will need to dig to get to the line, if you will need to break through pavement or concrete to do so, and how much rebuilding or planting of your surrounding property will have to be done when the repair is complete
How much damage is there to your home and property? If the break in your drain line has caused leaking and water damage to your home or foundation, or pooling of water or sewage on your property, these repairs will add to the overall cost of the repair. The best preventative measure you can take is to keep your eyes open for leaks, water damage, or pooling water in your yard. The sooner you catch any kind of line break, the less damage there is to repair.
Will the city pay? If your damage is to your water or sewer main you are only responsible for any breakage up to a certain point where the line joins the city’s main lines. Once you determine where the break in the line occurs you may find that the city is actually responsible for the repair. However, if the break has caused any damage to your personal property, it is very difficult to get the city to pay for that…so once again, the sooner you spot the damage and look into getting it fixed, the better!
Red tape: Anything sewer-related requires you to obtain a city permit. These types of permits will add additional cost to the installation. The professional you work with will need to ensure that the proper permits are pulled prior to work beginning.
Distance to connector line: The distance between your home and the connector line will impact the cost to install a main sewer line. The further away it is, the more pipe that will need to be installed, which will raise both materials and labor costs.
Obstacles: Anything that might get in the way of digging will increase installation cost. This means any landscaping or trees will need to be removed before construction can start. Any concrete will also need to be removed. The costs involved in repairing these areas after installation will be an added cost you may want to consider.
Your sewer lines and drain system are some of the most complicated and important systems in your home. When it has problems it affects the quality of life for your whole family. With more than 20 years of experience in the plumbing industry, you can count on DJ Plumbing & Heating to offer you expert advise to tackle even the most challenging of jobs. We have seen it all!
At the first Signs of problems give DJ Plumbing & Heating a call at 778-227-1119 or send a note and picture to email@example.com and we will be happy to answer all of your questions.