How to know if you need a sewer line repair

There is a lot of confusion about the need for a sewer line repair. A sewer line replacement is likely one of the more expensive repairs you may face as a homeowner, so it is important to know when one is actually needed. If a sewer line repair or sewer line replacement is needed, it is critical to get it done quickly and professionally. Without a sewer line functioning properly, you likely will not be able to use your home as you can’t flush toilets, run a washing machine or take a shower- yuck!

Let’s start with a common scenario:

  1. Your sewer line has backed up.

This is never a fun or pleasant experience. And sadly, there is no 100% sewer line back up prevention guarantee.

  1. You have a technician come out to clear the sewer line.

The technician can usually tell you what the cause of the problem is. Here is the first indication about whether or not you need a sewer line repair: the CAUSE and the DAMAGE.

The Cause of the Sewer Line Blockage

The cause of the sewer line blockage is usually something rather minor: toilet paper, paper towel, feminine products, or roots. The first three items can be prevented through education. Using less toilet paper or a brand that isn’t as plush, is one way. Another is to request (or require) that paper towel, feminine products and even ‘flushable’ wipes, aren’t flushed. Roots, are another thing entirely.

Roots in the Sewer Line

Roots in the sewer line are common in over two-thirds of the homes in Colorado. Sewer lines are made of a porous material and roots from trees and bushes grow through the tiny pores in order to reach the water and nutrients in the sewer line. This is especially true in Colorado’s dry climate.

These roots are typically pretty small, but there can be a ton of them in the line if they are allowed to build up. These roots can catch debris, like how a strainer will catch boiled spaghetti while letting the water pass. This alone can cause clogs, however, roots can jumble together as well and form their own ball of roots and clog the line.

The good news: Roots can be cleared from the line, and homeowners who know this is a problem, usually will have their sewer line cleaned every 6-18 months depending on the severity.

The bad news: If roots go untreated for a long time, they can crack the line, or even dislocate it. These cracks can cause BIG problems and can result in the need for a sewer line repair.

Mud in the Sewer Line

Mud in the sewer line is a clear sign of a crack or dislocation of the line. This may have been caused by roots, the ground settling or even direct damage, such as a landscaping backhoe ramming it. (This is why you should get your sewer line located before a major landscaping project).

Determining what is causing the mud in the sewer line is important so you know what part of the sewer line requires the repair. A full sewer line replacement isn’t that common, and with an expense in the tens of thousands of dollars, a sewer line repair is a better option. Luckily, sewer lines are built in sections, so a replacement of a damaged sewer line section making a full replacement unneeded in most cases.

If you are considering a sewer line repair, we would like to come take a look and offer some suggestions for a quality repair by an experienced plumber. Hopefully, it is an easy fix, such as a regular cleaning, but if it is more, Sunshine Home Services will give you several options to help you make the best choice for your situation.

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