Everything You Need to Know About Sewer Line Repair and Replacement

By Brian on May 30, 2024


Sewer line repair is a crucial part of maintaining your home’s plumbing system. Addressing sewer line issues promptly can prevent significant damage and expensive repairs. Here are the main points you need to know right away:

Quick Summary:
Common signs of damage include slow drains, foul odors, and water damage.
Causes of damage range from clogs and corrosion to tree roots and extreme temperatures.
Repair options include trenchless methods or traditional excavation.
Costs can vary based on material, pipe length, and accessibility.

Sewer lines are the unsung heroes of your household plumbing, quietly directing wastewater away from your home. Yet, when things go wrong, it can spell major trouble. Regular maintenance and timely repair are essential to keep your sewer line—and your home—running smoothly.

Identifying problems early, such as inconsistent toilet bowl water levels or a soggy yard, can prevent more serious and costly damages. When it comes to sewer lines, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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Understanding Sewer Line Problems

Signs of Sewer Line Damage

Spotting the early signs of sewer line damage can save you a lot of trouble and money. Here are some common indicators:

Draining Difficulties: If you notice multiple drains in your home are slow or clogged, this could be a sign of a blockage in the main sewer line. Strange gurgling sounds from your toilets are also a red flag.

Flooded Yard: A flooded or foul-smelling yard can indicate a broken sewer pipe. Sewer lines are typically buried 2-6 feet underground, but they can be deeper in colder climates. If a pipe breaks, water can seep through the grass and pool on the surface. You might smell sewage gas before you see any water.

Water Damage: Sewer lines run beneath your yard and home. If a drain line leaks or breaks inside your house, you might see mold spreading on floors or walls. This is a key sign that something is wrong.

Mold: Mold growth on walls or floors can be one of the first signs of a leaking sewer line. Mold thrives in moist environments, so any unexpected mold could indicate a hidden leak.

Common Causes of Sewer Line Damage

Understanding what causes sewer line damage can help you prevent problems before they start. Here are some common culprits:

Clogged Pipes: Only human waste and toilet paper should go down your sewage lines. Flushing wrappers, paper towels, and so-called “flushable” wipes can cause blockages. Cooking oil and grease can also clog pipes if poured down the sink.

Corroded Pipes: Even durable materials like galvanized steel and cast iron can corrode over time due to calcium and magnesium build-up. If left untreated, corrosion can lead to leaks and cracks.

Extreme Temperatures: Frozen pipes can burst during extreme cold when the water inside them expands as it freezes. This is a common issue in colder climates.

Tree Roots: Tree roots naturally seek out water sources, including sewer lines. Roots can wrap around and break into pipes, causing clogs and structural damage. Clay sewer pipes, often found in older homes, are particularly susceptible.

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Keeping an eye out for these signs and understanding their causes can help you maintain your sewer line and avoid costly repairs. If you suspect any issues, it’s best to contact a professional for a thorough inspection.

Methods of Sewer Line Repair

When it comes to sewer line repair, there are two main methods: trenchless and traditional. Each method has its advantages and is suitable for different types of damage. Let’s dive into these methods and understand how they work.

Trenchless Sewer Line Repair

Trenchless repair is a modern and efficient method that requires minimal digging. This makes it less disruptive to your property and faster to complete. There are two common trenchless techniques: pipe bursting and pipe lining.

Pipe Bursting:

Pipe bursting involves pulling a new pipe through the old, damaged one. Here’s how it works:

  1. Entry and Exit Pits: Technicians dig small pits at both ends of the damaged pipe.
  2. Bursting Head: A cone-shaped bursting head is pulled through the old pipe, breaking it apart.
  3. New Pipe: As the old pipe is broken, the new pipe is pulled into place behind the bursting head.

This method is particularly effective for severely damaged pipes and usually takes just one day to complete.

Cured-in-Place Pipe (CIPP) Lining:

CIPP is another trenchless method that involves inserting a flexible liner into the existing pipe. Here are the steps:

  1. Cleaning: The old pipe is cleaned to remove any debris.
  2. Liner Insertion: A liner coated with resin is inserted into the pipe.
  3. Inflation and Curing: The liner is inflated and cured with heat or UV light, forming a new pipe inside the old one.

This method is ideal for pipes with minor cracks and leaks, and it can extend the life of your sewer lines by up to 50 years.

Pull-in-Place Lining:

Similar to CIPP, pull-in-place lining involves pulling a resin-coated liner into the damaged pipe. The key difference is that the liner is pulled rather than pushed, making it suitable for pipes with multiple bends.

Traditional Sewer Line Repair

Traditional repair methods involve more extensive digging and are generally used for severe damage. These methods include excavation and pipe replacement.


Excavation is the most straightforward method but also the most disruptive. Here’s how it works:

  1. Survey and Marking: The area is surveyed, and underground utilities are marked.
  2. Trenching: Technicians dig a trench along the sewer line path using heavy machinery.
  3. Pipe Removal: The old pipe is disconnected and removed.
  4. New Pipe Installation: A new pipe is laid in sections and connected to your home’s plumbing.

While effective, this method can be time-consuming and disruptive to your landscaping.

Pipe Replacement:

If the damage is localized, only the affected section of the pipe may need to be replaced. This involves:

  1. Accessing the Pipe: A trench is dug to access the damaged section.
  2. Removing the Damaged Section: The damaged part is cut out and removed.
  3. Installing a New Section: A new pipe section is installed and connected to the existing pipe.

Safety Measures:

Safety is crucial during traditional repairs. Technicians must shore up trench walls to prevent collapses and use proper protective gear. Traffic control devices may also be needed if the work affects nearby roads.

Both trenchless and traditional methods have their pros and cons. Trenchless methods are less invasive and quicker, while traditional methods are more thorough but disruptive. Your choice will depend on the extent of the damage and your specific needs.

Costs Associated with Sewer Line Repair

Factors Influencing Cost

National Averages:

The cost of sewer line repair can vary significantly based on several factors. On average, minor repairs start around $300 and can go up to $4,000. For a full replacement, the average cost is around $4,000, but it can range from $650 to $7,500 for 30 feet of replacement.

By Material:

The type of material used in your sewer line impacts the cost:

  • ABS Plastic: $140 to $260 per 50 linear feet
  • PVC Plastic: $80 to $400 per 50 linear feet
  • Cast Iron: $1,200 to $3,700 per 50 linear feet

By Length:

The length of the sewer line also plays a crucial role in determining the cost. Here’s a breakdown of costs by linear foot:

  • 5 feet: $275 to $1,250
  • 10 feet: $550 to $2,500
  • 20 feet: $1,100 to $5,000

For a full replacement from the house to the street, the cost can be up to $10,000 for a 30-foot run. Under specific circumstances, such as working under a slab, costs can reach between $15,000 and $20,000.


Different materials have varying costs and lifespans. For instance, PVC pipes are less expensive but might not last as long as cast iron pipes. The choice of material will influence both the initial cost and the long-term maintenance expenses.


The ease of accessing the sewer line also affects the cost. If the line is buried deep or located under a concrete slab, the labor and time required will increase, raising the overall cost.

Length of Pipe:

The longer the sewer line, the more material and labor are required, which increases the cost. A longer line also means more potential points of failure, which can add to future maintenance costs.

Additional Repairs:

Sometimes, sewer line repairs reveal other issues, such as corroded pipes or tree root intrusion. These additional repairs can significantly increase the total cost. For example, removing tree roots can cost between $300 and $1,100, while fixing breaks or cracks can range from $1,100 to $4,000.

Understanding these factors can help you budget for a sewer line repair and make informed decisions about the best options for your situation.

Preventative Measures and Maintenance

Importance of Regular Inspections

Regular inspections are crucial for maintaining your sewer line. They help catch small issues before they become big, expensive problems. Camera inspections are a game-changer. Plumbers use a tiny camera to look inside the pipes without digging them up. This helps spot cracks, clogs, and root intrusion early.

Early detection can save you thousands of dollars. For example, finding a small crack today means a simple fix. Ignoring it could lead to a complete pipe replacement down the road.

How to Prevent Future Sewer Line Issues

Preventing sewer line problems is all about maintenance and smart habits.

Proper Disposal:

  • Avoid flushing anything other than toilet paper and human waste. Items like feminine hygiene products, wipes, and paper towels can cause clogs.
  • Be mindful of what goes down your kitchen sink. Avoid pouring grease, oils, and food scraps.

Root Inhibitors:

  • RootX is a product you can pour down your drain once a year. It kills roots without harming your pipes. This is especially useful if you have trees near your sewer line.

Regular Cleaning:

  • Cleanouts are fittings with removable caps that give plumbers easy access to your sewer line. Regularly using these can help prevent clogs.
  • Regular drain cleaning can prevent blockages and reduce odors. Consider scheduling this service yearly.

By following these preventative measures, you can keep your sewer line in good shape and avoid costly repairs.

Sewer Line Repair and Replacement with Go Pro Plumbing

When it comes to sewer line repair and replacement, you want a company you can trust. At Go Pro Plumbing, we pride ourselves on our commitment to service and ensuring that our customers receive top-notch care.

Commitment to Service

Our team is dedicated to delivering the highest level of professionalism and quality workmanship. We understand that sewer line issues can be stressful and disruptive, which is why we offer comprehensive solutions tailored to your specific needs.

One of our satisfied customers, Mike Accer, shared, “Go Pro Plumbing helped me and my family in an emergency situation and got the job done quickly. I will use them again for future plumbing issues.”

Same-Day Service

Emergencies don’t wait, and neither should you. That’s why Go Pro Plumbing offers same-day service, seven days a week. Whether you have a burst pipe at 2 am or a clogged drain on a Sunday, we’ve got you covered. Our quick and efficient response to plumbing emergencies sets us apart from the rest.

Annie K., another happy customer, noted, “The guys went out of their way to help us out and get our sewer lines cleaned out and our basement cleaned up after a sewage backup. They stayed late until the job was finished and were very professional throughout the process.”

With Go Pro Plumbing, you get more than just a guarantee. You get a team of highly-trained professionals who are committed to solving your sewer line problems swiftly and effectively.

Ready to experience the Go Pro Plumbing difference? Contact us today for reliable and efficient sewer line repair and replacement services.

Next, we’ll address some common questions about sewer line repair to help you understand the process better.

Frequently Asked Questions about Sewer Line Repair

How long will a sewer line last?

The lifespan of a sewer line depends on the material used. Cast iron pipes can last 75–100 years, while clay and cement pipes can last up to 100 years. Orangeburg pipes generally last around 50 years, and PVC pipes can last over 100 years. Factors like soil conditions, usage, and maintenance can also affect longevity.

How do plumbing services determine the appropriate repair method?

Plumbers use video camera inspections to pinpoint the cause and location of the problem. This technology allows them to visually inspect the inside of the pipes without digging. Based on the findings, they may recommend trenchless sewer repair for minor issues or traditional excavation and replacement for more severe damage.

Does homeowners insurance cover sewer line damage?

It’s unlikely that homeowners insurance will cover sewer line repair costs unless the damage results from a natural disaster or another party’s actions. However, many home warranty companies offer coverage for sewer lines under plumbing system protection plans. Always review your policy or speak with your insurance provider to understand your coverage options.

Next, we’ll dive into the costs associated with sewer line repair and what factors influence these costs.


Choosing the Right Method

When it comes to sewer line repair, choosing the right method is crucial. The best approach depends on the extent of the damage, your budget, and the specific conditions of your property. For minor leaks and clogs, trenchless methods like pipe bursting or cured-in-place piping (CIPP) can offer less invasive and cost-effective solutions. For more extensive damage, traditional excavation might be necessary. Always consult with a professional to determine the most appropriate method for your situation.

Importance of Professional Service

Attempting to fix sewer line issues yourself can lead to more significant problems down the line. Professional services ensure that the job is done right the first time, preventing future issues and saving you money in the long run. At Go Pro Plumbing, we use state-of-the-art diagnostics and equipment to identify and repair sewer line problems efficiently. Our team of highly trained professionals is committed to providing top-notch service, ensuring your home’s plumbing system operates smoothly.

Contact Go Pro Plumbing for Expert Service

If you suspect your sewer line is damaged or need a regular inspection, don’t hesitate to contact us. We offer a range of sewer line services tailored to meet your needs. With same-day service and special financing options, we make it easy for you to get the repairs you need without breaking the bank.

Schedule your service with Go Pro Plumbing today and experience the peace of mind that comes with professional, reliable plumbing services. Your home deserves the best, and Go Pro Plumbing is here to deliver.

For more information on our services or to schedule an appointment, visit our Sewer Line Service page.

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Category: Home Maintenance