What Causes Sewer Line Failure?
If you’ve got a sewer line failure, the list of likely causes isn’t very long. Sewer line failures aren’t all that common, and when they do occur, there usually is a pretty specific reason.
If you have trees on your property, your sewer line may be at risk of being infiltrated by the roots. Tree roots can grow out several feet in all directions in search of a source of water, and your sewer line can provide it. If tree roots grow into your sewer line they can block it and cause leaks; either one of those things can cause a failure.
Anything you put down your drains can eventually cause an obstruction in your sewer line. Excessive food, grease and paper products not meant to be flushed can all get lodged in your line and create and obstruction over time that will cause your sewer line to fail.
Sewer lines can fail simply because of advanced age. After decades of being exposed to harsh conditions both inside the pipe and out, the line can simply crack or break and cause you a world of hurt. An inspection can tell you what shape your sewer line is in.
Do I Really Need to Replace My Sewer Line?
Replacing a sewer line is expensive, so you don’t want to do it until you absolutely have to. There are some signs that can tell you when it is time to replace your sewer line.
Signs of failure
If you have gurgling noises in your toilet, have water that drains very slowly, have a sewer smell in or around your house or see patches of your lawn that seem to be moving or sinking, it could be a sign that your sewer line is failing. If you see those signs, you should have the line inspected.
If you have an older home, especially one built in the 1970s or earlier, you probably will face this prospect sooner or later. Most sewer lines in older homes were built with clay pipe that cracks and breaks.
More than likely, you will have to shoulder the cost of the sewer line replacement, which can cost several thousand dollars. Homeowners insurance usually doesn’t cover it, and your local government usually will not pay for any infrastructure that is on your property.
How Often Should I Have My Sewer Line Inspected?
Most experts will recommend having sewer lines inspected prior to purchasing or renting a new home to be sure that there are no issues the buyer might be unaware of. Periodic cleaning of sewer lines can also help prevent clogs and backups in the sewer drains – a headache no one wants to deal with.
If the home has a history of lines draining slowly, it’s a good idea to have them inspected and cleaned before a major clog happens. In addition, homes that are more than forty years old are probably due for a cleaning even if the drains appear to be functioning normally. Other environmental factors can affect the sewer lines as well, such as penetration by tree roots underneath the property. Grease, hair, food, and other blockages can also gradually build up over time and cause a major sewer clog. Signs of trouble include slow drains, foul smells, gurgling pipes, or water pooling around toilets and bathtub drains. Because these things happen beneath the ground, it’s difficult to monitor or even know that there could be an issue without having the line inspected periodically.
How Long Can My Sewer Line Last?
The time that a sewer line will last depends on some factors such as the closeness of trees and the material used in making the pipe. However, the pipe material is the primary determinant. Two materials are mostly used to make sewer pipes; Clay and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes. The use of clay pipes in sewers dates back before the 1980s. They were economical, and thus builders preferred them to PVC. At the time, PVC was not used at all. Clay pipes can last between 50 to 60 years. PVC pipes have been designed to last for longer. They can last for more than 100 years. PVC pipes have been in use since 1980.
Despite the durability, sewer pipes are bound to wear out with time. Even though they have been designed to be used for a particular period, it does not necessarily mean that they will. Thus, it is vital to look out for warning signs of a broken down sewer. Such signs include foul smell and strange gurgling sounds. When you notice such, contact an expert immediately.
Do Most Insurance Policies Cover Sewer Line Repair or Replacement?
When your sewer line backs up and causes damage to your home, you want to be sure your insurance will cover the damage, as well as the repair or replacement of the sewer line. Homeowner’s Insurance alone does not usually cover this type of damage, even if the sewer line was properly maintained. A separate policy or add-on is needed to specifically cover the sewer line on your property. Unfortunately, normal wear and tear would still be excluded.
Sewer line replacement can include the costs associated with cleanup after the sewer line is repaired or replaced. This is important because a backed up system can create a huge expense in repairing damage to flooring, walls, furniture, carpeting, and could affect your health. If your sewer line connects to the city’s line, only the portion that is proven to be on your property will be covered. Don’t wait until you have a sewer problem to check your coverage, be sure you are protected.
Isn’t The City Responsible For My Sewer Lines?
Homeowners are fully responsible for the maintenance and repair of all home plumbing, including the lateral lines that travel from residential structures out to the sewer main. This includes all blockages that occur in any public utility easements and public right of way that are defined in the property title.
Public utility easements generally refer to the portion of the lateral line that exists in areas between the street and the official property line. Problems originating in the sewer main, however, are the responsibility of the city and should be reported right away.
Any issues that are determined to be city responsibility will be repaired or paid for in full by the related municipality, as will any resulting property damages. Local municipalities are not legally allowed to be in direct competition with local plumbers.
Thus, not only are they not responsible for repairing any portion of the plumbing that leads up to the sewer main, including the lateral line, but they are not legally allowed to accept repair requests concerning these areas.
If My Sewer Line Breaks Can I Reach My Local Plumber?
Broken sewer lines require immediate attention. You need to be able to reach your local plumber in the event that something goes wrong, as sewage is both unsightly and hazardous to your health. That’s why ensuring that your plumber is one that offers speedy service is something you should always do. Some plumbers carry warranties that can cover the cost of failed work, but they seldom do so in a way that facilitates your needs.
When your sewer breaks, you may simply be out of luck if you’re unable to reach your local plumber. You may have to wait hours, days or, depending upon the season and how busy your local plumber is, weeks before your problem can be fixed. Given our expertise in solving plumbing problems utilizing trenchless and traditional plumbing techniques, we can provide expedited solutions to your plumbing problems. This makes our schedule clearer, which in turn means that we can service more customers.
Contact Accurate Leak and Line to help with any plumbing work that needs to be completed at your home. It will allow you to seek advice from our expert team, prevent your immediate problems from causing more damage, and help you get back on your way to enjoying the functions that your sewer should provide you with.