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Hacks and Tips to Replace Sewer Pipes in Basements

The Most Common Drainage Problems

Drainage lines are always out of sight. The best you can do is hope that they are functioning well. As notification of an impending problem, you will, in most cases, notice a stoppage. However, you might not instantly point the finger at the precise location of the problem.

We have thus compiled some of the most prevalent problems and how you can distinguish them and ultimately solve them.

Most Common Drainage Problem #1. Blockage in Drain

Plumbing pipes with water in them can have blockages when they encounter an obstruction. That leads to reactions that may include anything from backup and flooding to slow drainage and low pressure.

What Causes Blockage in Drain?

Blockage in a drain can result from different factors, including;

  • Tree roots. Tree roots are the number one cause of water and sewer pipe blockages. It is more common to find them invading the pipes of older homes, but they can find their way into any system.
  • Wipes. Wipes are not flushable since they cannot break down. Over the years, there have been concerns over flushing wipes. That is after a 2015 report showed that our neighbors in North York, Toronto spent over 8 million dollars in fixing blockages caused by wipes. In addition, you should not flush toilet paper, cardboard, and facial tissue down the toilet. Home and commercial plumbing accept water, toilet waste, and toilet paper.
  • Grease, fat, and oil. When it comes to cleaning your kitchen and bathroom, many people think that water washes everything along. But fats are sticky and prone to clogging your plumbing. So it’s best to put them in the trash can instead.
  • Hair. Hair can accumulate in the drain and create a slow or blocked flow. Hair is inevitable because it naturally comes out of our heads, but you can protect the gutter with small screens and good practices. For instance, you could sweep hair out of sinks and clean your hairbrush over a trash can.

How to Diagnose Blockage in Drain

To know whether you are having a blockage in your drain, watch out for the following signs;

  • Gurgling sounds in the drains.
  • Sewage or water is backing up.
  • Your shower, sink, or bathtub drains slowly.
  • Low water pressure in some parts or the whole plumbing system.
  • The utilities that use water react to each other, like the toilet making gurgling noise when you turn the washer on or off.
  • A foul odor comes out of the drains.

How to Fix Blockage in Drain

When you experience drain blockage in your home, contact the plumber near you immediately before the condition worsens.

Most Common Drainage Problem #2. Open Joints

Every plumber faces the issue of open joints in drains. Unfortunately, it’s a common problem that most homeowners with older homes encounter sooner or later.

What Causes Open Joints?

Ground movement, caused by an earthquake or heavy traffic, can cause a displaced joint in pipes. This joint can quickly lead to the leakage of wastewater into unsecured areas. It can also result in a break, causing new headaches for you and your plumbing.

An open joint can also occur in a drainpipe when the washers holding the pipe to the fitting are not tight or when the line is off-center so that one side has more pressure on it than the other.

Other causes include wear and tear and corrosion.

How to Diagnose Open Joints

To be sure that you have open joints in your plumbing system, watch out for leaky pipes. That’s because pipe leakage is a common sign. You only need to make sure to look in the right place.

How to Fix Open Joints

Open joints will require major replacements in the worst cases. Therefore be sure to contact a credible plumber near you to ensure you get the right solutions.

Most Common Drainage Problem #3. Fractures and Cracks

A lot of times, the plumbing system of your home is just as important as its foundation. Unfortunately, with time, the pipes can crack and go through a process which is called corrosion. That can cause all kinds of problems for your home, and unless you take care of it at an early stage, you may face some severe damage to your property.

What Causes Fractures and Cracks?

Fractures and cracks in your sewer lines can be a result of;

  • Poor installation. The plumber may not have done the original building correctly.
  • The soiled bedding is poor.
  • The roots might have penetrated the lines.
  • The age of your pipes. Pipes deteriorate over time, and that’s why you need to get maintenance services.

How to Diagnose Fractures and Cracks

How do you know that your pipes have cracks and fractures? Look for the following signs;

  • Sewer blockages and backups. When you get regular backups, even after cleaning your pipes, they are an indicator of cracks and fractures.
  • Sewer odor. You get the smell of sewer in and around your home.
  • Growing mold. A cracked water pipe in the wall can cause humidity levels to rise, which is a perfect opportunity for mold to grow.
  • Extra green grass. Sewage is a fertilizer for vegetation. If septic waste leaks from your property line, it will fertilize the soil and make the surrounding lawn extra green and lush.

How to Fix Fractures and Cracks

If you notice that your pipes have fractures or cracks, contact a professional plumber. They will perform checks with a camera to get a realistic view of the problem.

Most Common Drainage Problem #4. Root Intrusion

Root intrusion occurs when roots find their way into your sewer line system resulting in sewer line back-ups.

What Causes Root Intrusion?

Sewer lines carry water hence a rich source of nutrients for trees. Since roots are aggressive, especially in their search for water and nutrients, they can break through pipes to gain access.

After installing your sewer line, the loose soil around may be a precursor to root intrusion. In addition, any breakage or leak in your pipes will make it easy for roots to penetrate through. In the end, the germs will increase, causing your lines to block. 

How Can Root Intrusion be Diagnosed?

If you live anywhere with a large tree population and experience frequent stoppages, root intrusion might occur. The same scenario applies if your sewer line has trees surrounding it.

How to Fix Root Intrusion

By hiring a certified plumber, he can diagnose the precise cause of blockage on your sewer line. Then, using a video camera inspection, he can also ascertain the exact location of the root intrusion hence correct it.

Most Common Drainage Problem #5. Collapsed or Broken Pipe

One of the most hazardous issues for sewer lines is the potential for collapse. Older sewer lines or those that are not well-maintained are more prone to these severe problems. 

What Causes Collapsed or Broken Pipe?

Collapsed or broken pipes are the result of the following factors;

  • Tree incursion. The roots of old trees extend deep into the ground and are attracted to water. That is why trees will naturally grow towards sewer lines. When they do, they will slowly grow through joints in the pipe, and over time, they will weaken it. This process will eventually cause it to break down and collapse.
  • Offset or misaligned pipes. Sewer lines can collapse if the pipes are misaligned. If a tube starts to leak wastewater in the surrounding soil, it will erode that soil over time, which will increase the pressure on the sewer line and cause it to collapse.
  • The age of the pipe. Pipes can collapse due to deterioration caused by age.

How Can Collapsed or Broken Pipe be Diagnosed?

To know if you are dealing with a collapsed or broken pipe, watch out for the following signs;

  • Backups. The water from all the other drains in your house converge and try to find their way out the main sewer line. If this line gets compromised, the water has nowhere to go. It then uses the shortest route, just like a river, and goes down the lowest drain in your basement.
  • Funny sounds or odors. When waste and sewage are not draining properly from the toilet, the scent may rush through other drains. You can detect this problem through a foul smell in the kitchen or bath. Also, the noise of the gurgling water may tip you off to a problem.
  • Ever-wet lawn. The main sewage line is outside, and if it collapses, you might have a problem. When you turn on the faucet, take a bath, or drain water, all that water flows towards the main sewer line. When it hits the collapsed area, the dirt surrounding it absorbs all that water, making the ground wet and messy.

How to Fix Collapsed or Broken Pipe

To fix a broken or collapsed pipe, you have to know the location of the problem. Therefore you will need a video inspection. Then, contact a professional plumber to do the job.

Most Common Drainage Problem #6. Cracked Sewer Pipe in the Basement

Cracked sewer pipe is a plumbing problem that can lead to significant water damage if not addressed immediately. Unexpectedly finding a cracked sewer pipe in your basement can be costly, especially if the crack is in an area that’s difficult to correct.

When a sewer pipe cracks, leaks eventually develop, and you will have to get someone who can replace the sewer pipe in the basement.

What Causes a Cracked Sewer Pipe in the Basement?

The following are some of the common causes for cracked sewer pipe in the basement.

Tree roots. The most common cause of cracked sewer pipe in the basement is pressure from tree roots in the sewer line. When roots grow into a sewer line, they can cause cracks in the line, leading to leaks. Unfortunately, the cracks can also worsen and cause the line to break after a while, leading to a complete failure.

Settlement of the soil around the pipe. The soil dries out in the summer, causing the surrounding soil to shrink. When this happens, the area around the pipe may sink, causing the pipe to settle and crack.

Improper installation. When a pipe is improperly installed, it can move or shake, causing it to crack. Also, improper installation can make the pipe bend at weird angles. That leads to cracks in the pipe.

Improper pipe repair. Sewer lines are under a tremendous amount of pressure, and if the sewer line is not correctly sealed, it can cause a crack in the pipe, which will lead to a leak.

How to Diagnose Cracked Sewer Pipe in Basement

The first step in solving this problem is to determine whether your sewer pipe is cracked or not. The best way to do this would be to carefully examine your basement floor and walls for signs of cracking.

If your basement has water overflowing, or if you have a room that never seems to dry out, you may have a cracked sewer pipe in your basement. The crack could be just below the surface of your foundation, or it could be in the sewer line itself.

Look at the clean-outs above the floor. If there is more than one clean-out, turn on the water at each one, one at a time, and see if water is leaking from the pipe where it is connected to the clean-out.

Also, it would be best if you watched out for foul odors in the basement. 

How to Fix Cracked Sewer Pipe in Basement

If you see any signs of a potential leak in your basement, don’t ignore it. Instead, make sure to call a plumber to diagnose it and find the source. Cracked sewer pipes can be hazardous because they can leach raw sewage into your basement and contaminate your water.

When the sewer pipe repair in the basement cannot work for you, the plumber will have to replace the sewer line in the basement.

How to Replace Sewer Pipe in the Basement

There are lots of DIY tutorials that show you how to do such replacements. However, since it is better to be safe than sorry, you should consider a professional plumber who can replace the drainpipe in the basement.

The process of replacing the drainpipe in the basement will require the plumber to do the following. They will;

  1. Turn off the water supplies that are running to the house.
  2. Get into your basement or crawlspace to check out where the line enters your building. Next, the plumber will begin digging some feet away from the point outside of the foundation to locate the sewer clean-out.
  3. Dig using a shovel. That’s because heavy equipment will cause more destruction and mess. These are some of the problems that trenchless sewer line replacement seeks to do away with. The plumber will dig out the pipe connecting to your building. they will continue digging under until the shovelhead can fit below the pipe. (The closer the distance to your building, the higher the pipe should be.)
  4. Cut the pipe about 4 to 6 inches away from your home’s foundation. They will also cut the other end, right above the spot they want to attach the new pipe.
  5. Remove the damaged line, replacing it with a new 4-inch PVC pipe once the plumber has cut it to size. The plumber needs to set the pipe to drop about ¼ inch per foot. That is to ensure the proper gravity-assisted runoff.  For blending and binding the connections, a PVC primer and glue will do the trick perfectly.
  6. Finally, fill the area the plumber dug out using sand. That is to allow for soil movement. Then they’ll cover the sand with the topsoil.

Cost to Replace Drain Pipe in Basement

The cost of replacing the sewer pipe ranges between $1000 to $4000 for a usual case and from $3000 up to $25,000 in case of full replacement. This quote includes removal and replacement. The price goes up if the plumber has to break open the concrete to install the basement drain.

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