Burst Sewer Lines The Basics

When old sewer pipelines demand repairs, they pose some distinct challenges for their modern homeowners -- and sometimes even for the plumbing contractors that get called in for the big jobs.

Iron was once the gold standard in plumbing lines, including the lateral line, which is the drain from your home into the city sewer main. When this pipe bursts, often the best action is to replace the existing pipe with new polyethylene pipe that will not rupture so easily in the future.

Another modern sewer pipe replacement technique is called trenchless plumbing. This technique makes it possible to repair the sewer pipe without tearing up your lawn. One variety of trenchless sewer pipe repair is called the "bursting method": Contracters will thread a new pipeline through the existing, damaged line. This further bursts the old pipeline to make way for the new one.

A second trenchless sewer pipe repair technique is the "lining method." Using this strategy, plumbers will place a flexible tube through the broken sewer pipe and inflate it. This lining will then cover up any leaks in the existing pipe. Better yet, the lining can easily be taken out and fixed (or switched out) if needed.

Even with trenchless sewer pipe repair, it is possible for invasive roots to repeat their damage. In addition to fixing the damage in the pipe, property owners may consider impeding root growth toward the sewer line for any nearby heavy foliage.

The price of sewer pipe repair substantially varies depending on the business doing the work and how much work there is to do. Some sewer pipelines run beneath garages, driveways, or landscaping. Especially under such conditions, trenchless replacement can be a worthwhile alternative. When deciding on a plumbing contracter, get quotes from at least three different contracters. Check that all of the quotes include exactly the same labor. Plumbers often charge significantly different prices for similar parts. Also be sure to get in writing the agreed-upon condition of your property after the work is finished. Put another way, if a contracter does have to dig a trench in your yard or make a mess, it should be agreed upon whose job it is -- theirs or yours -- to get everything looking good again.

Whenever you get an estimate for a sewer repair, get an idea of whether similar fixes will have to be made in the foreseeable future. Especially when it comes to older houses (or newer houses connecting to an older sewer pipeline), it may be worth performing a whole replacement project instead of little-by-little fixes, so that you won't have to stomach a similar crisis 2 years down the road. Many plumbing companies such as sewer repair near bellevue wa provide a warranty on sewer pipe replacement, some of them for as long as you own the home.