As a homeowner, you are responsible for maintaining your property and making necessary repairs. When your home's sewer line fails and needs repairs, it can be a stressful situation. Your home's sewer may be giving you one or more of these three clues indicating it may be deteriorating and ready to fail.
Sewage Often Backs Up in Your Basement
Have you ever flushed the toilet upstairs only to have it flood out your basement's toilet, bathtub, or floor drain? If you have ever encountered this problem, you may have a blockage in your home's sewer line buried in your yard.
Your home's sewage exits your home through a sewer pipe, depositing it into the city sewer line. When your line becomes collapsed, clogged, or damaged, it will cause sewage to back up into your home. You may not realize as a homeowner you are responsible for maintaining the length of underground sewer pipe going out to the city's sewer line.
Each time your sewage backs up into your home, you can call a plumber to clear the line, but it is only a temporary fix. A permanent repair must be made to your sewer line to completely fix this type of problem.
While your plumber is at your home, have them run a camera down through your sewer line to the city's sewer line. By doing this they can see what is causing the blockage and determine what repairs should be completed.
Your Home Was Built Before the 1970s
By knowing when your home was built, you will have a pretty good idea what type of sewer line is buried in your yard and how well the line can hold up over time.
If your home was built between the 1880s to 1970s, your home may have a clay sewer pipe as they were used during this period. Clay pipe only lasts about 50 to 60 years and can become damaged by tree roots growing nearby. There is also a chance that your home's sewer pipe was constructed with cast iron with lead and oakum at the joints. Oakum is a mixture of fibrous materials and tar and can be broken apart by tree roots and age.
A home built between the 1910s and the 1950s will mainly have orangeburg sewer pipe, which is made from a fibrous tar paper. Orangeburg can begin to collapse under the weight of the soil after several decades. Any shifting in the earth can cause the line to rupture, requiring replacement.
If your home was built after 1970, you most likely have plastic PVC or ABS pipe for your sewer line. These can both last up to 100 years and are quite durable.
After determining the type of material your sewer line is made from, you can decide if your home's sewer is at risk of being damaged and deteriorating while you own the home. Also, the older the home, the older the sewer line will be, increasing the chance for sewer line breakage.
Your Front Yard is Landscaped with Trees
If you have one or more large trees in the yard where your sewer line is buried, your sewer line could be at risk of damage.
As tree roots grow downward through soil, they seek out water and nutrients. Because roots are strong enough to penetrate many types of hard surfaces, they have the capability to break through pipes to get to the water and nutrients inside. As soon as a root has found an opening into your sewer line, it will begin growing throughout the entire sewer line, causing blockages and allowing sewage to escape into the surrounding soil.
If your home fits into one or more of these three situations, you may need to have a plumber check the condition of your home's sewer line and possibly look into sewer line replacement.