3 Ways You Can Prevent Sewer Line Damage
Your plumbing system has allowed you to live comfortably in your home for as long as you can remember. Whenever you've needed to bathe, wash laundry, or give your four-legged friend a bath, your plumbing system has worked flawlessly. However, as time passes, your sewer line can sustain serious damage. Instead of waiting until your sewer line bursts to conduct any maintenance, stay a step ahead by performing these three tasks:
Check Your Local Frost Line
During the winter, freezing temperatures can cause the water in your sewer line to freeze. As water continues to flow and freeze through your sewer line, it will expand and place pressure against the internal walls of your line until the line bursts. However, this problem is non-existent for systems that have their sewer pipes installed beneath the frost line—the depth at which surface conditions (such as snow and ice) no longer affect underground temperatures.
However, if your home was constructed before your local building codes enforced a specific sewer line depth, or if your plumbing system wasn't constructed according to your local building codes, then it's possible your sewer line was constructed above the frost line.
To prevent your sewer line from cracking or bursting while you're bundled around the fireplace this winter, contact one of your city's building inspectors for information about your local frost line and plumbing codes. Depending on when your home was constructed, your city's building department may even have blueprints on hand that detail the exact location and depth of your sewer line.
If your sewer line was not constructed at a sufficient depth, then you must have the line reconstructed. Although the cost of reconstructing your sewer line beneath the frost line may be expensive, it will be well worth it—by fixing your sewer line now, you can avoid having inoperable plumbing in in the dead of winter.
Construct Retaining Walls
Due to earthquakes and natural tectonic plate movements, the terrain around your home will slowly shift over time. When this happens, the terrain surrounding your sewer line will place pressure on your pipes. If your pipes are old, or if they have sustained corrosion damage, then the terrain pressure can cause the line to crack. Although you can't completely prevent terrain movement, you can reduce the amount of terrain movement occurring around your home by installing retaining walls around your property.
If you live near a busy road or freeway, then retaining walls are an especially great investment. Constant traffic, commercial vehicles, and road construction will cause terrain movement around your sewer line even if you live in a region that doesn't experience many earthquakes and plate movements.
Arrange For Early Pipe Repairs
Regardless of how deep your sewer line is buried or how stable you've made your terrain, your sewer line will still corrode after years of exposure to sewage water. However, the leaks that will form in your corroded pipes will be fairly small—which means it will take days or even weeks before you notice any signs of sewer line damage in your yard.
To prevent your yard from sustaining damage from your sewer line, have your sewer line professionally inspected every couple years. When your plumber inspects your sewer line, they'll guide a camera down your main stack and into your line. If any signs of corrosion or cracking are present, your plumber will know the exact location of the damage by measuring the distance traveled by the camera. With this information, your plumber can easily replace an aging pipe before it cracks or bursts.
By identifying your climate's frost line, constructing retaining walls, and arranging for early repairs, you can reduce the likelihood of experiencing a sewer line emergency. However, if your sewer line does crack or burst unexpectedly, then be prepared by keeping your local plumber's contact number on hand.