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When is a sewer line replacement necessary?

It can be very difficult to tell if it’s time for a sewer line replacement because the signs are not always obvious to the average person. That said, there are a couple of ways you can gauge whether your home needs a sewer line replacement, including:

  • Water levels that change in the toilet bowl. If your water level is normal one moment, then you go into the bathroom again later and the bowl is almost empty or very high, and it keeps doing this, the sewer line may be broken. The water level fluctuates because the line break acts similar to a partial clog. This affects the operation of the trap. Calling in a professional plumber will give you the answers you need.
  • Showers, tubs and toilets back up.
  • Wet spots in the yard without any other explanation. If the yard is soggy, but it hasn’t rained and you have not been running the garden hose, chances are that the sewer line needs to be replaced.

Most homeowners will wait until the sewer line breaks before they will replace it. However, if you know that the line in your home is old, you should consider having it replaced before it breaks so that you can maintain control of the situation — and perhaps save some money on potential damage if the line breaks and backs up into the house. The life-span of a sewer line depends on what it’s made of; cast-iron lines can last 75 to 100 years.

It’s not a DIY job

Replacing a sewer line is not something that the average homeowner should set out to do for a variety of reasons, chief among them being know-how.

When it comes to replacing a sewer line, it must be determined exactly where and how deep underground the sewer line is. The entire area around it must be dug out with a backhoe, and the sides of the trench created must be shored up to prevent it from caving in while the line is being fixed.

Many municipalities also require permits to be pulled for sewer line repair or replacement. Local building codes must be strictly adhered to, as well, to ensure that the installation is done correctly and legally.

With a complicated and potentially dangerous project like a sewer line replacement, it is always best to hire a professional. Otherwise, it may cost you more money in the long run.

Image source: Flickr