Sewer lines are one of the most important plumbing components in your home. When they fail, it can be a major problem for your family and your property.
Your sewer line transports your sewage and waste to the city sewer system. When it fails, a sewage backup can cause severe damage to your home and landscaping.
Tree Root Incursion
If you live in an area where trees are common, according to Smart Choice Plumbing tree root incursion can cause severe plumbing problems. Often, these invasive roots enter pipes through hairline cracks or incompletely sealed joints.
Then, they expand rapidly, causing major sewer blockages that lead to a sewage backup in your home. They also can cause ongoing physical damage to underground sewer pipe materials.
Trees love to get moisture, heat and nutrients, which can encourage their roots to grow toward your sewer pipes. If the cracks are big enough, or if the joints aren’t sealed properly, this can lead to a serious sewer blockage that costs you a lot of money to repair.
This issue is particularly common in older homes. They may have clay or cast-iron wastepipes that can break or corrode over time due to environmental conditions, or even due to excavation accidents.
As temperatures drop, pipes in many homes are susceptible to freezing. Experts explain that water expands as it freezes, putting pressure on metal and plastic pipes, which can cause them to break.
The problem is particularly dangerous if a pipe is located in an unheated area, such as a basement, attic, crawl space or exterior wall. Even a crack in a pipe as small as 1/8′′ can spray more than 250 gallons of water a day, causing significant property damage and expensive repairs.
If you have a frozen pipe, there are some simple steps to thaw it. Using a hair dryer or space heater on the highest setting, apply heat to the affected area until the ice melts.
If you’re unable to thaw the pipe by yourself, contact a plumber as soon as possible. They will be able to determine the best course of action for thawing your frozen pipe and helping you restore normal water flow.
The slightest movement in the ground can cause sewer lines to misalign. It may seem a minor issue, but it can lead to the collapse of the pipe over time.
Tree root incursion – If roots latch onto the surface of the sanitary sewer pipes they can quickly damage the line and create an obstruction. They will also eat away at the joints of your pipes, allowing wastewater to escape into the soil.
Offset or misaligned joint – Similar to tree root incursion, offset or misaligned pipe joints allow wastewater to escape and erode the surrounding soil. This results in a belly around the pipe which eventually leads to collapse.
Aged Orangeberg pipe – This type of pipe was manufactured during WWII as metal was diverted towards the war effort. After decades of constant exposure to moisture the paper tar pipes degrade, weaken and completely collapse.
The most common reason sewer lines fail is because they are not properly aligned. The best way to avoid this problem is to have your sewer system air tested and leak inspected on a regular basis. This will ensure that any issues are spotted before they can become bigger problems or a health hazard for your home or business.
Sewer pipes that are old and corroded can be susceptible to failure. If you are purchasing an older home, or have been living in a house for a long time, you may want to check your sewer lines before moving in to make sure that they are in good shape and not susceptible to damage.
Old cast iron or clay pipes can corrode and break, especially when exposed to water. This is why it’s important to replace any sections of your sewer line that have been compromised prior to moving into a new home.
Tree roots and invasive shrub twigs can also clog sewer lines and cause sewage backups. These invasive roots find their way into the small cracks and loose joints in old pipes and grow on the nutrients in the sewer line.
If you have an old house, it’s a good idea to hire a plumbing professional to inspect your sewer lines and recommend repairs if necessary. Having an experienced plumber help you identify the source of your sewer line problems can save you money on costly repair bills in the future.
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