What All Homeowners Need to Know About Sewer Lines


Trenchless pipe replacement

Let’s face it: sewers aren’t a very exciting topic. But if you enjoy having indoor plumbing, you’d do well to learn a little more about the sewer lines in your house. Here are the facts you should know about sewers — and have never had the stomach to ask:

What Sewers Are

Sewers are actually a relatively broad category, referring generally to the lines that drain wastewater from your home. That includes lavatory waste, but also kitchen waste, laundry waste and even stormwater drainage. Sewer lines may be either private (leading to a septic tank) or shared (leading into a publicly maintained system).

Keeping Them Clear

Of course, you should always try to keep your sewer and drainage lines clear. There are numerous ways you can do that:

  • Not pouring grease down the kitchen sink
  • Not flushing feminine hygiene products down the toilet
  • Using a screen to prevent hair from washing down the shower drain
  • Regularly cleaning drains
  • Using a plunger and/or auger (snake) to clear clogs, rather than chemical agents

However, you should also know that there are some factors affecting sewer lines that are out of your control. Tree roots may break through the pipes and block the line, for example, or a city sewer line may back up.

Sewer Line Repairs

Sooner or later, you’ll probably need sewer line clearing or replacement. And what about sewer line repair costs? It’s impossible to give an accurate estimate, since all sewer repairs are slightly different. One way you can control sewer line repair costs is by going with a trenchless plumbing method such as pipe bursting; sewer pipe bursting works by simultaneously replacing a pipe while the old one is being destroyed. The advantage this route offers is that it requires only “launching” and “receiving” pits, rather than excavation along the length of the buried sewer line. That means you won’t need to redo expensive landscaping when the project has been completed.

What other questions have you been hesitant to ask about sewers? Join the discussion in the comments.

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