A sewer line is a single central pipe where all discarded wastewater from your home is channeled to the underneath sewer main. It’s crucial to know the signs of a damaged sewer line early on for prompt action. Chances are you’ll first start having problems with drainage in the home. You may also encounter a flooded yard or detect a foul smell depending on the depth location of your sewer line, which can be anywhere between a few feet and up to five feet off the ground.
Colder regions have deeper sewer line systems. Before considering a sewer line repair and solution approach, your plumber will first want to assess the damage and determine the material it is made of. Sewer lines in various homes are often made of different sewer line materials, and the primary determinant is the age of the home in question. For instance, if your home is old and has never had an upgrade or replacement on its sewer line, the chances are that it will be made of material that used to be common in the past.
Sewer line pipe materials – (From old to new)
The material used for a particular sewer line has a significant impact on the nature of sewer problems your home is experiencing and the type of repair service required. They can be either one of the following:
- Clay pipes: Clay sewer pipes were used commonly in most homes built before the 1960s. Their high chemical degradation resistance still makes them a viable option to date. One disadvantage with them is that they are hard to cut.
- Orangeburg pipes: Orangeburg is a fiber conduit pipe also commonly used in sewer lines for old houses. It’s no longer a viable option due to its relatively low lifespan.
- Cast iron pipes: They are incredibly strong and can still be found in many homes today, although not very common.
- PVC and ABS pipes: These are the two most common plastic pipes popularly used in homes today for sewer lines. Their smooth interiors allow for an excellent flow of waste.
Three ways sewer lines are repaired
Plumbing technology has evolved to incorporate the latest and most efficient techniques employed to fix various plumbing problems. Some of the most common ones used by most plumbing companies to repair sewer lines include the three mentioned below.
#1: Pipe bursting
This efficient trenchless repair method involves replacing the entire sewer line pipe. A cone-shaped bit is inserted through your current sewer line system, which systematically destroys it as it concurrently replaces it with a new one. The process is fast and does away with the need for excavation. It also creates a minimal disturbance.
#2: Pipe lining
Pipe lining is an efficient way to repair minimal damages along sewer lines. The process involves the insertion of an inflatable felt liner covered with epoxy. It is then inflated to allow the epoxy liner to cure and adhere to the host pipe. Some of the damages that pipe lining can restore include leaks, corrosion, and holes caused by tree roots.
In cases where a sewer line has been extremely damaged with severe breaks, the only alternative repair method is the traditional excavation. This method employs extremely invasive traditional techniques involving digging up an entire old sewer line system and replacing it with a completely new system. Both manual and advanced equipment digging may be required at various project intervals.
Protecting your sewer lines
Some of the causes of sewer line damage can’t be prevented, although there are specific steps you can take to mitigate or stop some of the potential causes of damage to your sewer line:
- Regular inspections
Schedule regular sewer inspections with your plumber to ascertain the efficiency of the sewer pipe. This process is relatively easy with plumbers who use camera inspection technology. Some of the things they look out for include corrosion and blockages.
- Correct sewage system use
Clogged pipes are a reasonably common cause of most sewer problems and damage. Avoid flushing down the toilet materials that can easily break down, such as wrappers.
- Remove problem trees
Tree root invasion is one of the most prevalent causes of sewer line damage. Tree roots instinctively grow towards water locations. This is even more pronounced if there is a small leak already in the sewer pipe. The roots will wrap around the pipe, causing it to weaken and clog over time. Traditional clay pipes are affected the most by being easily broken by tree roots. If it is determined that tree roots were the cause of sewer line damage, it’s prudent to have the tree cut down to prevent future similar problems.