The sewer line is a single pipe that transports all your wastewater from inside your home to the sewer main underneath the street. The pipe runs through your front yard, a few feet underground. Sewer lines may get damaged with time so it is very important to know about the Causes of Sewer Line Damage As a homeowner, it’s important to know when there is a problem with your sewer line. Although some symptoms of a bad sewer line are easy to identify, others are hidden. Below, we look at the five main causes of sewer line damage. If you have any problems with your sewer line, feel free to call us with your questions. We’re here to help you with your plumbing issues.
1. Invasive Tree Roots
- The Problem: Tree RootsThe toughest sewer lines are no match for resilient tree roots. A single root can penetrate a pipe, leaving massive damage that leads to water leaks or blockage in the system. Many designers avoid planting trees near sewer lines when creating a yard layout. If there are no trees around the area, no roots are likely to stretch far enough to invade the root. However, a homeowner may plant trees in the yard without knowing they are planting them near the sewer line. In only a few years, the roots can grow deep and strong enough to break a sewer line. Tree root infiltration can also be attributed to high water levels near tree root bed areas. High water tables may allow tree roots to seek out other sources of moisture, such as underground piping, restricting flow through it.
- The Solution: Sewer Line RepairDo not attempt to fix a sewer line on your own. Doing so can cause more problems than you solve. In addition, sewer line work may require a certified professional to ensure that work is complete according to local building codes and safety regulations.
2. Shifting Soil
- The Problem: The Ground Is MovingEven in Maryland, where the ground is solid, the soil does shift over time. When the soil shifts, it can redirect tree roots, causing them to impact the sewer line. As a result, the sewer line suffers from cracks, holes, and loose connections. It allows debris to enter the system, leading to clogs. Leaving it unattended might lead to a premature sewer line replacement. Shifting soil can loosen the seals on the pipes and crack them open over time. Once it happens, muck and debris can infiltrate through the gaps and form a clog, hindering water flow. When left unattended, sewage may back up into your drains and flood your home.
- The Solution: Sewer Line Inspection and ShiftingAgain, sewer line work requires the expertise of a seasoned professional. Many HVAC companies in Ellicott, Maryland, offer sewer line inspection as a part of their maintenance plan. Regular inspections allow you to get ahead of this issue and perform the necessary sewer line repair before it’s too late.
3. Too Much Weight on the Pipes
- The Problem: The pipes have been crushedMost homeowners are unaware of the pipes and cables that run through their yards. As a result, they may bring vehicles or heavy equipment into the yard that damages the pipes. Sewer lines can be as shallow as 18 to 30 inches and as deep as five to six feet.Once a piece of heavy equipment shifts the ground and bends a pipe, the ground does not shift back immediately. The pipe also stays bent and does not straighten itself out. The problem gets worse every time heavy equipment repeatedly lands on the pipe. An example would be parking a car in the same place in your yard because you don’t have enough room in the driveway.
- The Solution: Sewer Line and Yard RepairWhen heavy equipment enters a yard, it damages everything underneath – not just the sewer line. So, you will need to consider repacking the yard or adding dirt to layer it back out. It will provide more stability for the new or repaired sewer line.
4. Age and Corrosion
- The Problem: The Sewer Line Is Too OldSewer lines often consist of cast iron, steel, PVC, clay, and cement. Regardless of the pipe material, you can expect a sewer line to last between 75 to 100 years. However, even the most resilient pipes can rust or corrode prematurely. When they do, it doesn’t take long for cracks and loose connections to occur. Bacteria collect in pipes and treatment plants and produce hydrogen sulfide, a toxic, flammable, smelly, and corrosive gas. A chemical reaction transforms this into sulfuric acid, which eats away aggressively at concrete pipes.
- The Solution: Sewer Line Replacement
5. Leaking or Damaged Joints
- The Problem: Joints get old and start to leak
- The Solution: Professional Sewer Line Repair