Building An Addition: A Homeowner's Guide

2 Options To Help You Repair And Replace Your Home's Sewer Line

by Toni Richards

Home sewer clogs can be caused by three main reasons: flushing the wrong materials into your toilets, tree roots growing into your sewer line, and an aging sewer line that has collapsed. Taking care to only flush sewer-appropriate products into your line can help prevent the first cause, but you may not have much control over the other two. Tree roots naturally seek out nutrients and moisture within your sewer line and can easily enter through a small crack or unsealed connection. An aging sewer line that has passed its expected lifetime can crack, collapse, and clog. Here are some tips to help you make repairs to and replace your sewer line, when necessary.

At-Home Treatment and Repair

Prevention of sewer line clogs is the best option, as long as you can take action before a clog becomes a problem. Prevent tree root problems in your sewer line by avoiding the planting of any new trees in your yard in the soil above where your sewer line is located. Call your local water and sewer company to help you determine where the sewer line is located in your yard. You can also gauge where the sewer line runs under the soil in your yard by determining where your home's sewer line exits from your basement or crawlspace. 

If you have trees already growing in your yard that have roots that grow around and possibly within the location of your sewer line, you don't need to remove the trees to save your sewer line. You can treat your sewer line with sodium chloride, which kills any tree roots within your sewer line without harming the rest of the tree.

Flush two pounds of sodium chloride (one-half pound at a time) down a toilet in your home. After you flush all the sodium chloride into the line, avoid flushing or running water down into your sewer for the next 12 hours. This gives the sodium chloride time to sit in the pipe and kill the roots. As the sodium chloride dissolves in the sewer line, it will kill tree roots by pulling all the moisture from them. It can be helpful to complete this process just before you go to sleep for the night or to work in the morning. 

Follow up with a new sodium chloride treatment to your sewer line every six months. This will get rid of any new tree root growth in your lines.

Professional Repair and Replacement

If treating your sewer line with sodium chloride does not clear your sewer line blockage, the blockage may be caused by a collapse or failure of the line. This usually requires a professional to inspect and complete any necessary repairs.

Call your plumber to have them complete a video inspection of your sewer line to figure out what is clogging the line. If there is debris, such as household waste, grease, and other materials you have flushed down the line, your plumber can clear the line with their industrial snake or high-powered pressure spray. This can cost approximately $395 for the video inspection and the clean-out. If the line is collapsed and cannot be cleaned out, your plumber can give you an estimate of what it will cost to replace the sewer line with a new, long-lasting PVC line.

Replacement of your sewer line can be completed in few different ways. If you choose to have your sewer line replaced with a new line by digging up the entire sewer line, you will need to consider the costs of replacing any landscaping, paving, and sheds or other structures in your yard that will need to be moved during the process. Then, the cost of excavating to replace the line can cost anywhere from $50 to $250 per foot, up to around $25,000 for complex problems with your sewer line.

There are also replacement methods where a new pipe is inserted through the old pipe and excavation is only completed on both ends of the pipe length, saving your landscaping, paving, and structures from replacement. This option can cost anywhere from $60 to $200 per foot.

Use these tips to help you repair and replace your home's main sewer line. To learn more, contact a company like Aurora Plumbing and Electric Supply, Inc.