Skip to Content Top

Do You Need Sewer Repair?


Modern sewer lines made of materials like cast iron, clay, cement, and PVC typically last between 75 and 100 years before needing replacement. However, you may need sewer repair services before the end of your home’s sewer line’s expected life. Normal wear and tear, improper use, and poor maintenance can all contribute to needing repairs for damaged sewer lines. As a homeowner, typically you’re responsible for repairing the sewer lines running from your home to the municipal line. In this article, we’ll go over some of the basics all homeowners should know about sewer lines and sewer repair.

What is the Purpose of a Sewer Line?

Sewer lines are an essential part of your home’s plumbing system. They are essentially the pipes that connect the drains in your home, like sink drains and toilets, to the main sewer line. Waste and greywater from your home goes down through the drain pipes and into your private sewer line before entering the main line, usually located in the street. Main sewer lines generally go to a wastewater treatment plant where they clean the water and make it suitable to return back to the environment. However, if you have a sewer line break or clog, the wastewater may never even reach the main line and can wreak havoc for your home, plumbing, and yard. Your emergency plumber can provide repairs to restore your private sewer lines to prevent these issues.

When is Sewer Repair Needed?

Generally, there are two main reasons why you may need plumbing repairs for your sewer pipes.

  • One reason is that the line is leaking because of a crack or hole in the pipe.
  • Another reason is because the line is clogged with debris, often by things that aren’t meant to go down your drains, like paper towels, grease, and even so-called “flushable” wipes. These materials often don’t break down as easily as waste and toilet paper, which can lead to sewer blockages.

Damaged sewer lines can cause many issues for your plumbing and your home. Sewer repair services involve restoring the sewer lines to ensure they work properly, whether through cleaning, pipe repairs, or pipe replacement. 

What Causes Sewer Line Damage?

There are many things that can cause sewer line damage, including tree roots, corrosion, and extreme temperatures. Tree roots can grow and wrap around sewer pipes, eventually breaking them. Depending on the type of sewer lines you have, the pipes can also rust and corrode, creating holes and cracks that create sewer leaks. In addition, extreme temperatures, either cold or heat, can put too much stress on the pipes, which can also create damages that cause leaks. 

Signs You Need Sewer Repair

There are many signs you might need sewer line repairs for your home. Knowing the signs can help you with early detection, which can help reduce the hassle and costs for repairs. Any time you suspect a sewer line break, leak, or blockage, call your emergency plumber for help. 

Some of these signs include:

  • Slow-moving or gurgling drains. When wastewater can’t travel through the sewer line due to a blockage, the water and debris tend to back up. This can create air bubbles that make that common gurgling or glug glug sound.
  • Blocked sewers can also create conditions where you smell foul odors in your home. Often you might smell something unmistakably sewer-y. However, other times you might mistake it for must or mildew. Another sign you might need sewer repair for blockages include inconsistent water levels in your toilet. This can indicate that water is backing up in the sewer line.

Sewer leaks may cause different signs to watch for. For instance:

  • If your yard is flooded, soggy, indented, or foul-smelling, this can be a sign that the sewer line leading away from your house has a leak.
  • Early on, a small leak may even cause certain patches of your lawn to look extra lush and green. This may sound appealing, but it’s often a sign of impending doom for your sewer lines.
  • Sewer line leaks can also attract pests like rodents and cockroaches to your yard and home.
  • Also, the extra water from a sewer line leak can create soil problems that can lead to foundation cracks and sinking long-term.

Therefore, it’s important to get help from a Houston emergency plumber at the first signs of sewer issues.

How Does Sewer Repair Work?

If you need sewer repair, there are a few different ways your plumber may go about servicing your plumbing.

  • If you have a leak from damaged pipes, then you likely need to replace at least the affected section of the sewer pipe. Generally, this involves digging down to expose the sewer line and replacing the pipe. In some cases, you may only need to replace a specific section of the line. However, for old lines in poor condition or major damage, it may be easier and more cost-effective in the long run to replace all the sewer piping while it’s already exposed. 
  • For sewer clogs, plumbing repairs are somewhat different. In most cases, your plumber will simply need to clear the blockage. There are a few different methods to choose from for this repair. For instance, cable cleaning is a common way to clear sewer pipes of debris. For this method, your plumber uses a piece of cable with special “teeth” and feeds it down through the pipe interior. The teeth help cut up debris causing a blockage to make it easier to flush down into the municipal line.
  • Another option for sewer blockages is hydrojetting. Hydrojetting involves using a high-powered jet of water to clear away clogs and also to help clean the pipe. The water forces debris through the pipe and down into the main sewer line. Your plumber can help you determine the right service for your needs when you have a sewer problem. 

How to Prevent Sewer Issues

Of course, it’s usually better to prevent sewer problems before they arrive. While not every type of damage is avoidable, there are many things you can do to help avoid unnecessary sewer repair. Preventative sewer maintenance involves things like removing trees close to sewer pipes whose roots may damage the lines. Also, make sure you use your drains properly. Anything you put down your drains or flush down the toilet ends up in the sewer line, so keep things like wrappers, oil, grease, paper towels, and other solids out of your drains to help prevent unnecessary clogs. Finally, it helps to have your sewer lines inspected at least once a year by a qualified plumber. 

Will My Homeowners Insurance Cover the Costs of Sewer Repair?

If you do find yourself with a sewer line break, repairs for the pipes and any related damage can be quite expensive. You might wonder if you can make a claim against your homeowners insurance to help with some of the costs. Always check your specific policy or ask your insurance agent to be sure. However, most sewer line repairs aren’t covered by homeowners insurance. This is because typically breaks are preventable through regular maintenance. Even if your sewer line is near the end of its expected life, generally this will come up during an inspection so you can make plans for replacement before the pipe breaks. In other cases, clogs and leaks are due to misuse, such as flushing paper towels on a regular basis. 

Homeowners insurance policies typically don’t cover damages from normal wear and tear, misuse, or preventable issues. However, if your sewer was damaged by extreme weather or something else out of your control, your insurance may help pay for repairs. Check with your insurance to make sure.

Expert Plumbing Repairs from Santhoff Plumbing

When you need affordable, convenient plumbing services, our team at Santhoff Plumbing is here for you. We are available 24/7 to address all your plumbing emergencies. Whether you’re dealing with a broken sewer line, need regular maintenance, or are looking for plumbing solutions for your bathroom remodel, our team offers quality plumbing services. Schedule service online today or call our 24-hour emergency line at (713) 360-2185 for immediate help.

Share To: