Older pipes usually come with older homes, unless PVC pipes have been installed in their stead. Older homes usually have older pipes, unless PVC pipes have replaced them. Pipes that were originally installed before the 1980s frequently reach the end of their useful life.

Although cast iron pipes can endure up to 100 years under some circumstances, we have had to replace them after only 25 years due to the salt in the air and groundwater, which causes them to corrode more quickly in coastal areas. Pipes made of clay and orange burg only last 50 to 60 years. Because of the salt in the air and groundwater, cast iron pipes corrode more quickly in coastal areas.

Although it’s possible, replacing the sewer line from the house to the street won’t be a simple task for a homeowner. To ensure successful functioning, one needs both expertise and resources to complete the task accurately. You’ll have to pay a specialist to come in and fix it if that occurs.

Why is a Sewer Line Important in Your Home?

Your sinks, showers, bathtubs, and toilets discharge waste from your home through 2-inch drain pipes into the 4-inch main sewage line of the building, which is located under the slab. A single lateral line carries the waste from there to either the septic system on your property or the main line on the street of the city. For quick access to the line in the event of a clog, there will typically be at least two cleanouts.

What Causes Drain Lines to Deteriorate?

Factors such as soil subsidence and thaw-freeze cycles will inevitably cause significant shifting of sewer lines over time. With older sewer pipes a minor displacement may cause older sewer pipes to develop leaks.. Water leaks into the ground once it occurs. 

This could lead to soil erosion and further destabilization and movement of the sewage line. Tree roots can enter broken sewer pipes in search of water and nutrients and begin to grow there as well. They will eventually cause the pipe to shatter if they are not taken out.

The Best Time to Replace Your Sewer Lines

Sewer pipes vary in how long they last. Although cast iron sewer pipes have a 100-year lifespan, we have observed several that fractured and degraded in as few as 25 years. However, orange burg and clay pipes have a 50–60 year lifespan. The reality is that pipes can have issues at any moment for several different causes that are unrelated to their age.

Contact a sewage repair expert and request a CCTV sewer camera examination if you want to be sure whether your sewer line has to be replaced. They will be able to observe what is occurring in the pipe and, if there has been any damage, they will be able to suggest a fix. It takes 30 minutes to perform a non-destructive sewer camera check.

The Most Efficient Way to Replace a House-to-Street Sewer Line

The pipe replacement method used will usually depend on the issue. Because of this, a sewer camera check is always carried out first.

A sewer repair expert can typically replace a faulty pipe using the minimally invasive trenchless sewer repair technique known as pipe bursting, unless the pipe has collapsed or is back-pitched, in which case a traditional sewer replacement method that involves digging a trench is required. However, in such cases, a traditional sewer replacement method, which involves digging a trench, will be necessary.

If you decide to try to accomplish this yourself, keep in mind that you’ll need authorization from the city and that there are regulations you must go by. You ought to verify with the local government in your area because these differ from state to state.

You can save a significant amount of money by replacing a sewer line on your own. However, as we already indicated, it’s not a simple task since you’ll also have to dig the hole and replace the pipe. While technically not challenging, digging a trench requires a lot of physical effort. 

You’ll need some time to do it, especially if there are numerous large tree roots and compact dirt. Because they are below the frost line, drains in cold climates can be up to 6 feet deep. Additionally, it will be quite difficult to dig through the frozen ground if you have a drain issue during the winter.

How to Replace Your Sewer Line With a Trench

Step 1: Finding the sewer pipe will be your first action. Given that the camera includes a radio transmitter, a professional CCTV sewer camera check can assist with this. Do something to label the sewer line’s whole length after you locate it. Here, accuracy is crucial. Avoid beginning your excavation at the incorrect location.

Step 2: You must now find the utility lines. To achieve this, all you need to do is make a phone call to 811 and ask them to come out and show you where everything is. Of course, they won’t be able to tell you where anything that was put by a homeowner is. Take sprinkler systems, for instance.

Step 3: It’s possible that you don’t require a permit. To learn more, contact the city. Ask what steps you need to take to make sure your job complies with regulations as well. Before you finish the repair and fill the trench, the city could occasionally want to come out and look at it.

Step 4: If required, smash through any concrete barriers like sidewalks, driveways, etc. using an 8-pound sledgehammer or an electric tool.

Step 5: It’s time to start digging the trench. You must dig down till you find the pipe. This may range in height from 1.5 to 6 feet. Start digging sideways to make space once you’ve reached the pipe. As you dig, you may encounter roots that require clipping.

A chainsaw will be required if they are large. Dig around the pipe to remove the soil after you’ve reached it. Before the repair is finished, the trench should always be covered and guarded. You don’t want kids or animals to accidentally fall in.

Step 6: Cut the pipe off from the city sewer and the home main. This typically occurs at the main cleanout of the house and the cleanout of the property line. You should reconnect the rest of the system after removing and replacing the old pipe.

Step 7: Following inspection and approval of your repair, you can fill the trench, pressing the earth down as you go.

As we have stated, a homeowner is undoubtedly capable of carrying out a drain installation or drainage line repair. But it’s undoubtedly not a simple task. You run the danger of doing even more harm if you restore the sewer line on your own. If that happens, you will need to collaborate with a sewer repair expert to fix it.

Additionally, it’s possible that replacing your sewer line is not necessary. You might only require a repair utilizing a minimally intrusive trenchless sewage pipe repair technique, such as sewer pipe lining.

Speak With Your Local Sewer and Hydro-jetting Specialist

At NW Sewer & Drain, we dedicate ourselves to serving all our customers’ sewer-related needs. You can reach out to us today at N.W. Sewer and Drains. We’re excited to help you sort out any drain issues you might be facing in your home or office building. Ideally, consulting an experienced local sewer and drain cleaning company should be your following line of action if you are experiencing slow-moving drains, foul odor, or clogged drains in your home and need help figuring out what else to do. 

At N.W. Sewer & Drain, we have a well-trained and ready-to-move team on standby. We serve the Seattle metropolitan area, including Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Renton, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Auburn, Everett, Marysville, Mount Vernon, and other surrounding areas. 

N.W. Sewer & Drain provides top-notch drain cleaning and sewer repair services in the greater Seattle area, and we’ve been in the business for nearly 20 years. Contact us today at 206-931-7728 to schedule an inspection of your sewer line and pipes.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do older homes have problematic pipes?

Older homes typically have pipes that were installed before the 1980s, often made from materials like cast iron or clay. These materials can deteriorate over time due to factors such as corrosion, soil shifts, and root intrusion. Replacing them with modern PVC pipes can prevent frequent plumbing issues and improve overall durability.

2. How long do cast iron pipes last in coastal areas?

In coastal areas, cast iron pipes may corrode faster due to the salt in the air and groundwater. While cast iron can last up to 100 years under ideal conditions, coastal environments can reduce their lifespan to as little as 25 years. Regular inspections can help detect early signs of corrosion and prevent major failures.

3. What makes clay and Orangeburg pipes less reliable?

Clay and Orangeburg pipes typically last between 50 to 60 years. However, they are more prone to cracking and shifting due to soil movements and root intrusions. Regular maintenance and monitoring are crucial to ensure these pipes continue functioning properly without causing significant plumbing issues.

4. Can I replace my sewer line myself?

Replacing a sewer line from your house to the street is a complex task that usually requires professional expertise. It involves heavy excavation, precise installation, and adherence to local regulations. Attempting this without the necessary skills and tools can lead to further damage and increased repair costs.

5. Why is a sewer line crucial for my home?

Your sewer line is essential for directing waste from your sinks, showers, bathtubs, and toilets into the main sewer system. It ensures proper waste disposal and prevents backups that could cause health hazards and property damage. Maintaining a functional sewer line is vital for a hygienic and efficient household.

6. What factors cause drain lines to deteriorate?

Drain lines can deteriorate due to soil subsidence, freeze-thaw cycles, and root intrusion. These factors cause pipes to shift, crack, or leak, leading to soil erosion and further destabilization. Regular inspections and maintenance can help detect these issues early and prevent significant damage.

7. When should I replace my sewer lines?

Sewer lines should be replaced if they show signs of significant wear, such as frequent clogs, slow drains, or unpleasant odors. A professional CCTV sewer camera inspection can help determine the exact condition of your pipes and whether they need repair or replacement.

8. What is the most efficient way to replace a sewer line?

The most efficient method for replacing a sewer line depends on the specific issue. Trenchless techniques like pipe bursting can replace faulty pipes with minimal excavation. However, if the pipe has collapsed, traditional trench digging may be necessary. Always start with a sewer camera inspection to identify the best approach.

9. Can I save money by replacing my sewer line myself?

While DIY sewer line replacement can save money, it requires extensive labor, proper tools, and adherence to local codes. Missteps can lead to more costly repairs and potential violations. It’s often more cost-effective and safer to hire professionals who can ensure the job is done correctly and efficiently.

10. How do I replace a sewer line with a trench?

To replace a sewer line with a trench, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the sewer pipe using a professional CCTV sewer camera check.
  2. Identify utility lines by calling 811 before digging.
  3. Check if a permit is required from your local city office.
  4. Remove any concrete barriers with appropriate tools.
  5. Dig the trench to reach the pipe, cutting roots as needed.
  6. Disconnect the old pipe from the main sewer and house connections.
  7. Install the new pipe and ensure it meets regulatory standards.
  8. Fill the trench, compacting the soil to prevent future settling.

Remember, while this process can be DIY, it’s labor-intensive and best left to professionals to avoid complications.

Speak With Your Local Sewer and Hydro-jetting Specialist

At NW Sewer & Drain, we are committed to serving all your sewer-related needs. If you face slow-moving drains, foul odors, or clogged pipes, reach out to us today. Consulting with an experienced local sewer and drain cleaning company is your best bet for addressing these issues efficiently.

Our well-trained team serves the Seattle metropolitan area, including Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Renton, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Auburn, Everett, Marysville, Mount Vernon, and other surrounding areas.

With nearly 20 years of experience, NW Sewer & Drain provides top-notch drain cleaning and sewer repair services. Contact us today at 206-931-7728 to schedule an inspection of your sewer line and pipes.

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