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Sewer Pipes: An Unseen Problem That Can Sneak Up on You

Sewer pipes are a part of your home’s infrastructure that probably doesn’t get much attention. For many people, it’s out of sight, out  of mind.  But everyone in the family will quickly notice when sewage begins to seep out of your drains–into the shower for instance. The aroma of a back-up is usually what hits you first. Or maybe first you’ll hear a gurgling sound in the drains, which can be an early warning sign of trouble.

Clogged sewer pipes could also result in flooding your basement, not a pretty sight or smell.

Rule number one is clog prevention:

* Be careful not to flush inappropriate objects down the toilet.

*  Scrape your plates into the garbage to keep fats and food particles from clogging your sink drain.

* Check if any tree roots are growing near the sewer lines. Roots can damage your lines, especially if the pipes are old.

Rule number two:

*Get your sewer lines checked regularly, to prevent large-scale problems.

Mr. Raman Singh, manager of Drain Pro Plumbing, recommends a sewer and drain inspection every two years. That will ensure that your sewer lines are working properly, without big gunk buildups.

Modern technology in sewer pipe inspection is similar to endoscopy that your doctor uses to look inside your stomach or  throat . A camera is attached to the end of a long “snake” that probes each pipe. The snake is flexible and can go around bends in the pipes.

“The camera provides film record for the homeowner of the condition of the pipes and where any problem might be,” says Mr. Singh.

“How much does an inspection cost?” I asked Mr. Singh. Drain Pro provides a camera inspection of home sewer pipes for $149, he said.

If a clean-out is required, he said, this is done with a drain snake and a high-pressure water spray called a hydro-jet and costs extra. The jet of water is strong enough to cut through clogs and even roots.

According to homeadvisor.com, Americans spent between $157 and $430 to have sewer pipes cleaned. The average cost was $294.

What About Sewer Pipe Repair?

If your pipes clog frequently, or if they’re old or damaged, it may be time to repair or replace the sewer lines. This is usually a very costly procedure, compared with inspection and snaking every couple of years. The pipes have to be dug up to find the problem areas for repair or replacement. It ‘s a good idea to get a second opinion and estimate before you make a decision.

Drain Pro experts are able to do what’s called trenchless sewer repair, if necessary. This process can replace the old sewer line with a new one, without digging up the old line. It eliminates the old method of digging and jack-hammering your driveway and sidewalk or removing your landscaping to get to your pipes.

Basically, according to Angie Hicks, the “Angie” of Angie’s List, the trenchless system drills only one access hole to reline your old pipes. The relining is done by blowing or pulling a flexible tube coated with resin into your damaged pipe and then inflating it. The resin will harden into a new pipe that has no joints and resists corrosion. The new pipe will be about a quarter of an inch smaller in diameter, Angie says, but this “won’t affect your capacity to remove waste from your home.”

If your pipes aren’t candidates for relining, another trenchless method may work. This involves pulling a new pipe through the old one, and at the same time pushing the old pipe off to the sides.

According to Angie, the trenchless process can cost “30 to 50 percent more than conventional digging.” But, she points out, you save money by not having to repair torn-up driveway, walkways, and landscaping, which can be very costly.

Choosing the Right Plumber 

Get more than one estimate for sewer work, and check out customer reviews before you plunge into sewer repair or replacement.

Drain Pro’s Mr. Singh said that his plumbing company provides a free estimate and evaluation for sewer cleaning and repair, so you know beforehand what you’re getting into. “Drain Pro’s motto is, `When you’re stuck, we’re best for your buck’! Our prices are competitive, and now we have $200 off coupon for sewer repair.”

Mr. Singh recommended that homeowners check out the more than 350 five-star reviews for Drain Pro on Angie’s List. Drain Pro received a Super Service Award on Angie’s List last year.

You can find a description of services and coupons on the Drain Pro website at https://www.drainproplumbing.net .