How Long Do Sewer Lines Last?
The sewer line is one of the most vital components of your house’s plumbing. It takes all the waste sent through the toilet, sink, and shower drains and delivers it to the main sewer under the streets in your neighborhood. When people think about home repair or plumbing problems, the sewer line doesn’t get much consideration because it sits underground and out of sight.
However, when sewer lines stop working, they can create significant problems that worsen quickly. So how long do sewer lines last? Well, there’s a lot to unpack behind that question. If you’re buying an older home, your sewer line may not have much time left due to natural aging, but even newer sewer lines can encounter problems that necessitate extensive repair or replacement.
If you need a plumber in Aurora, IL, for sewer line replacement, inspection, or repair, Advantage Plumbing & Sewer Co. has years of training and experience providing quality service to customers with sewer line concerns. Reach out to our team to get an inspection today!
The Life Expectancy of Your Sewer Line
If you’re wondering, “How long do sewer lines last?” it depends on the time period installation took place and the material used to make it. Before 1980, clay sewer lines were the standard for most homes in America because it was the most economical choice at the time.
After 1980, polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) pipes became the preferred material for sewer lines. PVC piping is light, waterproof, and long-lasting. Clay pipes can last 50 to 60 years, while PVC pipes can last more than 100 years. However, sewer lines often experience issues years before they reach their life expectancy.
Knowing the causes and signs of sewer line damage can help you manage a bad situation and keep it from becoming a catastrophe.
What Causes Sewer Line Damage?
You may think nothing can get to your sewer line because it is underground and surrounded by dirt. The truth is, there are several ways your sewer line can malfunction or take damage. Some of the most common reasons for sewer line damage include the following:
Tree roots seek water in their surrounding soil. Sewer pipes carry water and waste with nutrients that tree roots can’t resist. They wrap around the piping, trying to find an entry point, often cracking the pipe.
Tree roots break into sewer lines, disrupting water and air pressure and creating blockages. While clay pipes are more vulnerable to tree roots, PVC pipes are not immune from tree root damage.
Accumulation of Sludge, Grease, or Debris
Sewer lines should only transport natural waste and toilet paper, and when people flush paper towels, food wrappers, or other trash down their toilet, blockages build up fast. These items don’t disintegrate properly and will eventually cause your plumbing to back up, resulting in some pricey sewer line repairs.
Refrain from pouring grease or cooking oil into your kitchen drains, as they can also lead to clogging problems. Allow greases and oils to cool after cooking, and dispose of them in your trash can.
Some sewer lines contain metal; although they are usually rust-resistant, minerals like magnesium and calcium can cause them to corrode after prolonged exposure. Without timely repair, the pipes will crack and leak.
In the cold seasons, the ground around your house can freeze, causing pipes to burst, and your sewer line is not invulnerable to this possibility. Although less likely, hot weather can also cause pipe bursting.
Signs of Sewer Line Issues
A damaged sewer pipe can be very problematic. Spotting issues early makes repair simpler and results in less property damage. Fixing sewer line issues before they worsen will also save you money.
Some of the common signs that your sewer line is malfunctioning are:
Troubles with draining
If one of your sink or tub drains isn’t working properly, it could be an isolated problem related to the piping in that particular drain. However, if you notice that multiple drains around your house are behaving strangely, the sewer line is likely the culprit.
If you notice the toilets in your home are bubbling and gurgling, or the water in the toilets seems to rise and fall without a clear cause, this is a sign that there is a serious problem with the sewer line. If you don’t address the issue quickly, your toilets will back up, spilling raw sewage into your home.
Flooding or Foul Odor in Your Yard
Sewer lines sit somewhere between two and six feet underground. A broken sewer pipe may cause your yard to flood when water seeps through the ground and pools at the surface. There may also be a sewage smell before the flooding occurs when the gas in the sewer line comes through the soil.
If the sewer line breaks under your home, it can result in extensive damage to the foundation, basement, or crawlspace. The drain line breaking in your home can cause mold to accumulate in the floors.
These are some of the most severe problems a broken sewer pipe can create and will require immediate attention and repair.
How to Protect Sewer Lines
There’s no way to ensure that your sewer lines will never malfunction, but there are preventative measures you can take to avoid significant problems. Below are some steps you can take to prevent sewer line trouble.
- Remove trees in your yard that could be problematic
- Do not abuse your sewage system: use your toilets and sink drains properly
- Have an experienced technician inspect your sewer line every year
Advantage Plumbing & Sewer Co.
The answer to the question, “How long do sewer lines last?” is decades if they receive care and maintenance. If you’re looking for a professional and dedicated plumber for sewer line replacement, inspection, or repair, Advantage Plumbing & Sewer Co in Elgin, IL, can help. Click the link to learn about the causes of plumbing noises in walls, and call us at 847-268-3553 for questions, concerns, and quotes today!