Sewer Line Replacement: 8 Points To Consider

Do you suspect your home is suffering from a sewer line issue? When it comes to sewer lines and determining whether or not they need service or replacement, not everyone has enough experience to make the call, so it is best to bring in an experienced plumber to assess your situation.

The good news is that only some sewer lines that leak or backup require a replacement. Most of the time, your local plumber can swoop in to save the day by isolating the issue with their equipment and performing any necessary repairs. However, there are instances where a simple repair won’t cut it.

In the unfortunate case that a repair won’t suffice, we have eight points to consider regarding whether or not you will need a complete sewer line replacement. We will explore these points in detail so you can walk away with a better understanding of the process of replacing a sewer line, and you will be able to determine if a sewer line replacement is in the cards for your home.

1. Tell-tale signs that your sewer line may need to be replaced

When a sewer line issue is present, there will be signs. Some are more obvious than others, but if any of the following symptoms arise, you should take action and reach out to a professional who can assess whether or not a repair or a replacement is in order.

  • Water coming out of a sink or shower drain when you flush the toilet
  • Bubbling sounds in your drains, including in the toilet when you run the sink
  • Water running out of showers or floor drain when you run the washing machine
  • Water and sewage pooling in your basement
  • Septic waste spills in your yard
  • Rank sewage odors
  • Consistent slow drains or backups—especially if multiple locations are experiencing a backup, such as two toilets and a sinkWhen these problems appear, it’s not a great sign for your sewer line. If your drains continuously back up or tend to drain slowly, it’s best to address the problem sooner rather than later to avoid a total sewer line replacement.

When you’re faced with a sewer or drain backup at home, resist the urge to grab those harsh chemical drain cleaners that can harm your pipes. Instead, opt for a gentler approach by starting with a trusty plunger. A simple plunge might just do the trick and clear that pesky clog.

If the blockage persists, professional plumbers often use effective methods like running a drain auger or snake through the pipes to remove the obstruction. Sometimes, they might even employ a specialized camera to inspect the pipes thoroughly, helping them pinpoint the exact location of the problem.

2. Determine the cause of the sewer line damage

The first step to overcoming any obstacle in life is always awareness. That includes sewer line problems. Figuring out the source of the issue will help you address it and nip it in the bud before it escalates to a full-blown disaster.

If you can find out what is causing your sewer line issues, it will help you and the technicians fix the problem. Here are a few common culprits to be aware of:

  • Intense temperature fluctuations, including hard freeze situations that can cause pipes to settle or shift over time
  • Miscellaneous objects that cause a blockage
  • Homes built before the 1960s that have corrosive iron pipes
  • Tree roots
  • Grease buildup or foreign objects that have been flushed

Once the source of the issue is determined, your plumber will be able to address it and repair or replace the necessary parts to help get things running smoothly again and prevent any further damage.

3. A proper inspection is key

If you experience signs that your sewer line is not functioning at its peak, don’t hit the panic button. It is highly recommended to have your sewer line inspected before taking any other steps.

A professional plumber can detect with their equipment any leaks caused by cracks, holes or offsets in the line. Their specialized cameras can access the pipe to inspect your sewer line and pinpoint any blockages, damaged pipes, roots, or cracks from above ground. Tools like this are excellent at helping professionals determine if a replacement is necessary or if a repair will fix the issue.

4. Be sure to confirm if a sewer line repair is a possibility

With a proper inspection under your belt, you can make a confident call on whether or not a simple repair can do the trick instead of a hefty replacement.

Tearing apart years of laborious landscaping work to replace a sewer line is never ideal. Luckily, technology has come a long way, and there are less invasive ways to fix common sewer line problems. Methods such as trenchless sewer repair can save your lawn through a pipe-lining approach that doesn’t require any heavy-duty equipment or the need for intrusive excavation.

5. Consider the different types of sewer line replacement

There are times when a quick fix or simple repair will not work, and a total sewer line replacement will be necessary. There are two main ways to get this job done.

Traditional sewer line replacement

Traditional sewer line replacement is a very intrusive process. It involves digging a trench to access the damaged line to be able to replace the entire length of the pipe. This means your landscaping, patio, driveway, lawn, and even sidewalks are susceptible to damage due to the nature of excavating the site to access the broken line.

The entire process can take a long time and it requires pesky cleanup work to repair the havoc caused by the replacement.

Trenchless sewer line replacement

As the name suggests, no trench or very little trenching is needed to perform this type of sewer line replacement. This method can be done within the span of one day and saves your lawn and surrounding area from dreaded excavations, thereby saving a lot of time, effort, and money.

Trenchless sewer line replacement is now the preferred method for most plumbing professionals since the technology results in less damage than the traditional method. However, not every property will be a good candidate for it. Some sewer problems can only be addressed via the traditional route, but many can be fixed through the trenchless approach.

Trenchless sewer line repair consists of relining the entire length of your existing sewer pipe with a new seamless liner that will be stronger and hold up much longer than the original pipe. The new liner is made of a flexible material that’s saturated with epoxy and will last for at least 50 years.

Main benefits of trenchless sewer line replacement:
  • Your home’s landscaping remains intact
  • The project can be completed within a day vs. weeks of construction
  • Less costly than traditional sewer line replacement
  • The new pipe will last 50 years

6. Sewer line replacement is not typically covered by insurance

If a third party was at fault for damaging your sewer line, then your insurance might cover the repair or replacement costs. But in most instances, it is not likely that your insurance policy will cover sewer line replacement.

If you live in an older home, you may be able to find some home warranty groups that provide at least partial coverage under their septic system policy.

There are independent insurance policies that cover septic systems, although the premiums for those services are typically on the pricier side.

7. There is no set cost for sewer line replacement

The expense of a sewer line replacement varies based on several factors:

  • The chosen method
  • The length of the pipe
  • The particulars associated with access and excavation

If your pipes are not located under any hardscapes like your driveway and are shallow enough to access without having to dig too deep, it may be worth your while to stick with the traditional method of replacing your sewer line.

For pipes that are deeper and require intense excavation, you will save yourself a lot of time and headaches by utilizing the trenchless method. Be sure to consult with your plumbing technician on which method would work best for your circumstances. And make sure that they are qualified to execute this type of project. This leads us to the next and final point.

8. Search for an expert sewer line replacement professional

Many homeowners fail to think about their sewer line unless a massive problem arises. It’s a good idea to have your line inspected every three to five years by a professional plumber to avoid any lingering issues creeping down below. However, if you’re currently experiencing problems with your sewer line, it’s best to schedule an inspection as soon as possible.

Replacing a sewer line is no easy feat. It’s a dirty job that is full of complexities, can be pretty invasive, and can hurt the wallet—especially if it isn’t executed correctly. That’s why it is imperative to find a reputable plumber to perform the work, to be sure the work is done correctly the first time.

Dealing with sewer lines also includes other factors to consider, like permits and local codes. Shop around to find a trustworthy company with all the qualifications and licenses to execute the job, and don’t be shy when asking about references. This is a significant job and should be treated as such.

The Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Difference

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing is a family-owned business in its 10th year of operation, dedicated to providing our customers with straightforward pricing, on-time service, and highly skilled technicians.

We only hire qualified and professional technicians who can be trusted and work hard to deliver industry-leading plumbing solutions targeted to your specific needs and budget. We guarantee on-time and courteous service to ensure your complete satisfaction. We also guarantee that if a sewer replacement fails anytime while you own the home, we will repair it at no additional cost.

We’d be delighted to discuss your sewer line replacement needs. Contact Benjamin Franklin Plumbing here or call us at 816-574-8931 today if you have any questions about our plumbing services and how we can best serve you.