One of the most serious plumbing problems is damage to your sewer line, and when there is a problem, it’s often a big one. A damaged sewer line can cause all sorts of problems in your home, from backups and flooding to bad smells and health risks.
This article will discuss everything you need to know about sewer line repair and replacement. The article also talks about some of the most common causes of sewer line damage and how to prevent them.
What Is A Sewer Line?
A sewer line is a network of drains and pipes that handle human waste and carry wastewater away from your home. It connects to the main sewage line and transports water and waste out of your house into a septic tank or municipal sewer system. A sewer line is also defined as a lateral, trunk line, or another conduit, including, but not limited to, grates and trenches, that conveys wastewater streams or residuals to a downstream waste management unit.
The main sewer line often contains multiple smaller pipes, called branch lines. These branch lines are connected to various fixtures in your home, such as the kitchen sink, bathroom sinks, and toilets. With the connection of each branch line to the main sewer line, wastewater from fixtures is transported from the home.
The underground sewer line is usually made of materials such as PVC pipes, cast iron pipes, clay sewer pipes, or concrete. Sewer pipes are built to withstand a certain amount of pressure and wear from the wastewater that flows through them, but they can still be damaged over time due to age and other factors.
Types Of Sewer Lines
The sewer system is composed of three main types of lines:
These sewer lines are responsible for carrying wastewater away from homes and businesses to wastewater treatment plants. They are made of durable materials that can handle the pressure of water and waste without breaking down.
Most times, the water from toilets and sinks is carried through lateral pipes into the main sewer and moved to the treatment plant for treating the waste and removing all pollutants before releasing it into the environment.
These lines are used to transfer wastewater overflows away from the house. Storm sewers are often deep enough to go beneath the foundation of a house, so they can efficiently divert large amounts of water away from the house.
Storm sewers are particularly useful during heavy rain or flooding when water levels rise too quickly and need a quick escape route.
These sewer lines can carry both wastewater and stormwater runoff simultaneously. They have less capacity than sanitary sewers since they must handle both liquids at once, and they can be more prone to clogs.
What Causes Main Sewer Line Damage?
With so many elements in play, various factors can cause sewer line damage. Common causes of damage include:
One of the most common causes of a broken sewer pipe is tree roots. Tree roots can grow into pipes, leading to clogs and blockages that prevent water from flowing freely through the pipe.
Tree roots have an uncanny ability to seek out moisture, so they will grow into the pipe when they find a water source from broken pipes or leaky joints.
Another common cause of sewer line damage is ground movement. The ground moves and shifts over time, leading to pipes becoming cracked or broken due to the pressure of the shifting soil. This shifting can easily damage poorly installed pipes.
Pipes made of materials such as iron or copper can be prone to corrosion due to the chemical makeup of wastewater. Chemicals like chlorine, bleach, and other household cleaning agents can cause pipes’ corrosion over time.
Clogged Pipes due to debris or foreign objects and waste buildup can also cause damage to sewer lines. When pipes are clogged, it prevents wastewater from flowing freely through them and causes strain on the pipes.
Natural Environmental Factors
Also, environmental factors such as soil, weather conditions, and humidity can cause sewer lines to corrode, rust, and break down. For instance, if you live in colder climates, water in the pipes can freeze and expand, leading to cracks and breaks.
Signs Of Sewer Line Damage
Having mentioned the causes of sewer line damage, it’s important to know what signs to look for when diagnosing a problem. Common signs of damage to sewer lines are:
The foul smell from the sewer line is one of the most tell-tale signs that something is wrong. If you notice an unpleasant odor coming from your drains, it could signify a buildup in the pipes causing a blockage, or you have a broken pipe.
It is advisable not to let this smell linger because your compound will become inhabitable. Also, it poses a high risk of water contamination and health hazards.
Another sign of sewer line damage is a gurgling sound from the drains. This can be caused by air bubbles trapped in the pipes or debris and waste buildup that prevents wastewater from flowing freely through the pipes.
Soggy Spots In The Yard
A soggy spot in the yard is another sign of sewer line damage. This could indicate that you have a broken pipe, allowing wastewater to escape into the soil and cause it to become overly saturated.
Slow Draining Water
If your sink, bathtub, and toilets are all draining slowly, it could be a sign of a blockage in the sewer line. This can happen if something is stuck in the pipe or an obstruction along the line.
These are some of the signs of sewer line damage that you should be aware of. Knowing what to look for can help you identify a problem early and fix it quickly before it causes more serious damage.
How To Repair And Replace Sewer Line Damage
Once you’ve identified the problem, there are several ways to repair and replace damaged sewer lines. Depending on the cause of the damage and your budget, you can choose sewer line repairs or sewer line replacement options.
Sewer pipes can be relined without having to replace them. This is a cost-effective way to repair damaged sewer lines and requires minimal digging and disruption. The process involves inserting an epoxy resin tube into the pipe, which hardens in place and seals off any cracks or breaks in the line.
For more serious damage, pipe bursting may be necessary. This involves breaking up the old pipe and replacing it with a new one of the same size or larger. It is more disruptive than pipe lining, but it can be done in one day and offers lasting results.
How To Maintain Sewer Lines In Good Condition
The best way to avoid having to repair or replace your sewer lines is to take preventative measures to keep them in good condition. Here are some tips for maintaining your sewer lines:
Avoid Flushing Items
One of the best ways to prevent sewer line damage is to avoid flushing anything that isn’t biodegradable. This includes wipes, diaper liners, sanitary pads, and other items that can clog up the pipes.
Do Not Drain Grease
A grease buildup can cause clogs and blockages in the sewer line, so it’s important to avoid pouring grease down the drain. Instead, scrape any solid debris from pots and pans before washing them.
Install A Backflow Preventer
If you live in an area prone to flooding or heavy rainfalls, installing a backflow preventer can help protect your sewer lines from becoming overwhelmed. The backflow preventer prevents wastewater from flowing back into the pipes and causing damage.
Run Hot Water Through The Sink And Bathtub
Running hot water through the sink and bathtub once a week can help keep your drains clear of debris and buildup. This helps prevent blockages that can lead to sewer line damage.
Regularly Inspect Your Sewer Lines
Getting a service technician to inspect your sewer lines every few years can help identify potential problems before they become more serious. This will save you time and money in the long run as it allows any issues to be dealt with quickly.
The Best Plumbing Service For Any Sewer Issue
Your sewer line is an integral part of your home, so it’s important to use a reputable plumbing service for any sewer repair issue you might have. Getting an experienced plumbing service like MD Sewer Services can ensure that any repairs are done properly and quickly.
We are plumbing professionals who have provided reliable sewer and plumbing services in Pasadena, Glen Burnie, Linthicum, Annapolis, Baltimore, and surrounding areas since 1985.
We have the latest tools and equipment to handle any repair or maintenance job. Our team of highly skilled and licensed professional plumbers is always available to offer 24/7 emergency service for our wonderful clients.
Kindly contact us today for all your plumbing needs and access amazing discounts on our already affordable services.