Category Archives: Sewer Line Repair

Causes of Sewer Line Damage

As we use water in our homes, it flows into a drain in and passes through a trap, a U-shaped pipe that holds water and prevents sewer gases from entering the home. After passing through the trap, the wastewater continues to flow downward through large drain pipes that eventually exit the home underground at one location—through a pipe called a house lateral. The house lateral usually runs out to the street from either the front or rear of your property where it connects to the public sewer system.

Tree Roots

One of the most common causes of sewer line damage is tree roots. A tree’s roots follow sources of water as they grow. Since sewer lines carry liquid waste, roots are naturally attracted to the source.

Once in contact with a sewer pipe, tree roots begin to wrap around and break into pipes, clogging, weakening, and even breaking the structure. Clay sewer pipes, typically found in older homes, are the most susceptible to damage from tree roots.

Corroded Pipes

Although pipes made of steel and cast iron are galvanized to prevent rusting, these pipes are at a high risk of corroding due to calcium and magnesium build-up from regular wear and tear. If corrosion is left untreated, it can leave the pipe susceptible to leaks and cracks.

Clogged Pipes Due to Debris and Foreign Objects

Your home’s sewage lines are only equipped to handle human waste and toilet paper. Avoid flushing trash like wrappers and paper towels, as they’re unable to properly disintegrate and can cause blockages that drain cleaning agents can’t fix. In the kitchen, cooking oil and grease can also clog pipes if they’re poured into the sink. Pour these liquids into a container, let them cool, and then dispose of them in a trash can.

Extreme Temperatures

During extreme temperature and cold weather, frozen pipes can bust as a result of the expanding ice. However, it’s not just cold weather that can cause pipes to rupture—though unlikely, extreme heat can burst pipes, too.

Do you have slow drains? Read more about our HYDRO JETTING SERVICES

sewer line damage and repair

Signs of Sewer Line Damage

It is important to recognize the signs of a damaged sewer system so that you can take immediate action and contact an experienced service technician.

Hidden leaks not only have the potential to run up your water bill and cause significant property damage; they can also lead to dangerous health problems. For all these reasons, it’s good to identify and repair leaks as quickly as possible, especially when it comes to sewer pipes.

Flooded or Foul-Smelling Yard

A yard that’s flooded can be a sign of a broken sewer pipe. Sewer lines can be buried anywhere between a couple of feet to six feet below the ground, with colder climates calling for deeper pipes. For sewer lines close to the surface, a broken pipe can quickly begin to pool water which seeps through the grass and becomes visible on the surface. You may be able to smell the sewage before it surfaces, as sewage gas can seep through your yard’s soil.

Slow Drains

While some blockages are caused by a pipe leading directly from a faucet or shower, you can detect a blockage in the main sewage line if multiple draining areas in the home are clogging. Toilets can warn of severe blockages if strange gurgling sounds occur when air gets pushed back up the line.

Water Damage in the Home

Water damage can occur if a drain line leaks or breaks in the home. One of the first signs is mold spreading on the floors or walls. This could point to a broken sewer line within the home, in which case you should get professional help immediately.

Insect and Rodent Infestation

On that note, an unusual increase in insect and rodent activity can be a sign that you have a broken sewer line. Rodents make their homes in sewers and can squeeze through the smallest cracks to find their way into your home. The same can be said for insects that can wriggle through a cracked drain pipe and breed in the stagnant water, allowing them to multiply rapidly. Both rodents and insects can cause health issues and need to be dealt with along with the sewer line breakage itself.

Broken Slabs and Wall Cracks

Buildings will often develop cracks in the concrete slab and supporting walls as they settle and the ground shifts beneath them. However, if your home is developing new cracks it may be because you have a broken sewer line that is washing away the soil supporting the foundation. If the crack is caused by a leak, the situation is unlikely to improve over time. More water will continue to wash away the surrounding soil until the foundation can no longer support the weight of the structure above. In a worst-case scenario, the house itself may collapse. A thorough inspection can determine if you have a sewer line breakage or another issue that is causing your home or business to develop cracks.

What do I do if I see any of these signs?

Call Behm Enterprises!  815-344-0197

 

Does homeowners insurance cover sewer line damage?

Sewer Line Damage and Home Owners Insurance

Sewer line replacement is typically not included in a standard home insurance policy. However, most homeowners insurance companies offer an endorsement that you can add to your standard policy that will cover damages associated with sewage back up (but not physical damage). The endorsement usually costs an extra $40 to $50 per year according to the Insurance Information Institute, and gets you an extra $10,000 of coverage should your sewer back up.

A sewage back up can destroy your entire home. The best thing we recommend is to prevent a sewage line back up in the first place.

Steps to Prevent Sewer Line Damage

  1. Don’t pour kitchen grease or cooking oil down drains.
  2. Don’t flush diapers, facial wipes, feminine hygiene products or paper towels down toilets.
  3. Elevate appliances and valuables in basements to prevent undue damage in the event of water or sewage backup.
  4. Ensure that basement sump pumps are in good working order by cleaning them annually and running them several times per year.
  5. Fit your sump pump with a battery backup to ensure it can continue to work during power outages.
  6. Prevent water backups by installing a backwater prevention valve in your sewer line. The valve will ensure sewage flows out and prevents it from flowing into your home.
  7. Remove trees or shrubs whose roots might interfere with the waterline.
  8. If you own an older home, you may also consider replacing your sewer line with a plastic pipe to prevent root damage.

Preventative Maintenance with Hydro Jetting