A broken sewer line quickly becomes an unwanted guest in any home, and it’s vital to fix the damage fast before sewage leaks cause widespread issues. Owners often have a lot of questions about repair costs and sewer line replacements. Let’s dive into important answers!
How to Tell If a Sewer Line is Broken
If everything is operating correctly, home sewer lines stay out of sight and out of smell, transferring waste to the city sewer lines that will carry it to a waste treatment center. But when your sewer line cracks, clogs, or collapses, then problems will quickly make themselves known. Here’s what to be wary of when it comes to sewer health:
- Household drains are starting to smell like sewage: Constant sewage odors inside the house are usually a sign that a sewer line has broken somewhere and is leaking into the house or back into the system where it shouldn’t be. This is especially true if other drains start smelling sewage, such as your sink or bathtub drain. Since you don’t want any sewage making contact with potable water in your system, it’s time to get the odor investigated ASAP.
- All your sewage plumbing drains poorly or suddenly clog: A single clog in a toilet is a problem you can usually solve with a plunger. But if all your drains start clogging or struggling to drain at once, that’s a sign that something serious is wrong, and could be explained by a clogged sewer line. If the clogs progress to outright sewage-laden water flowing back up through the drain, that’s a sure sign the sewer line has been fully compromised and it can sometimes be caused by local flooding issues.
- Unexplained rot or mold damage in lower parts of the house: Many plumbing problems can cause leaks and associated rot or mold damage. But if there is no obvious leak, and if the leak seems to be rising from the ground and if it smells bad, then a leaking sewer line could be at fault. Either way, it’s time for an inspection and serious mold remediation.
- Foundation cracks or significant ground upheaval: Sewer lines don’t do well when the ground around them suddenly changes. Upheaval can create serious structural damage in your home and break nearby sewer lines – that’s why it’s important to watch for sewer damage after an earthquake or similar event. However, this can also happen more slowly from changes over time, especially tree root damage from nearby growing trees. The leaking sewer line can then damage nearby foundations even further, making it easier for them to crack or decay.
- Patches of your lawn are soggy, stinky – and green: Sewer lines run through your property to larger mains. If they crack under your yard, the sewage will seep up to your plants and lawn. This can create soggy patches of grass that usually have a lingering odor around them. Over time, they’ll also feed off the sewage just like fertilizer and grow faster and greener than the surrounding lawn. Ultimately, you may even see pools or puddles in leak spots, signs of a serious break, or a damaged septic tank.
How Much Does a Sewer Line Repair Cost?
If the signs we listed started ringing bells, you may be wondering about sewer line repair costs. Is a sewer line repair going to be expensive? Well, that depends on what has broken and how it needs to be fixed. Removing a sewer line clog is much different from digging up the entire sewer line.
Current estimates have the average sewer line repair costs around $2,556. Small repair projects may only cost up to $1,000, while serious sewer repairs can cost up to $4,000. Keep in mind these numbers can vary greatly based on locations. In San Antonio, for example, the average sewer line repair cost is much more affordable than many parts of the country, at around $1,200. But the final quote, as always, will depend on your specific situation.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Sewer Line?
Now that we’ve covered repairs, you may be wondering just how much to replace a sewer line. A full replacement is necessary when the line is extremely damaged, or when old sewer lines with decaying materials need to be fully updated with new pipe materials and technology. It can be complicated by the positioning of the sewer line, what parts of the system need to be fully replaced, and what other nearby materials may have already been damaged.
On average, sewer line replacement costs start at around $2,000 to $3,000. For longer sewage lines where large amounts of excavation and replacement are required, costs can rise up to $25,000, although this is relatively rare for the average home.
Inspections for Sewer Line Problems
The first step to dealing with a sewer line problem is getting more information fast before sewage leaks cause significant damage. Contact Mr. Plumber today to arrange for a sewer inspection: Our professionals will find out exactly what’s going on and provide an accurate quote for fixing the problem.