If your sewer pipe has been damaged it will need to be replaced. In this article our team upon experts will show you how to replace a sewer pipe in the basement with step-by-step directions for sewer line replacement, all of the tools you will need plus a few tips and tricks to make the job easier.
Sewer line repair and replacement is not easy but it can be done at home if you are DIYer with some plumbing and pipe relining experience. Keep reading to learn how to replace a broken sewer line so the main sewer connection in your home drains correctly and does not cause a sewage backup!
What is a Sewer Line?
A sewer line is the main plumbing connection that runs from your home to the city sewer lines. It is the main drain line responsible for any liquid that goes down your drains! Most are made of cast iron pipe – but some styles of drain pipe are made of PVC or copper pipe.
It can be hard for many homeowners to know their sewer line is experiencing problems since the pipe is buried beneath the basement. Some of the most common signs you need sewer line repair or replacement are foundation damage, pooling water in the yard, unexplained basement leaks, a slab leak, backed up drain lines, and a sewer smell near every drain.
Finding Sewer Line Problems
A cracked sewer pipe, clogged sewer line – or other plumbing problem requiring sewer pipe repair – can be almost impossible to diagnose when standing at ground level. A plumber will use a camera to inspect the inside of the lines and find cracks, leaks, or blockages without having to dig the old pipe.
Once a sewer line problem has been found you can make a plan on how to fix it. Some major problems will require replacing the entire pipe but some small problems can be fixed by replacing the damaged area of the drain line. Make sure to check if you have sewer line insurance to help for any damages!
Tools for Sewer Pipe Replacement
If you want to replace your sewage pipe at home here are the tools you will need:
- Drain line camera with radio transmitter – To find the lines underground and check out potential problems.
- Can of marking paint – To mark where to dig once you find the pipes
- Shovels and a pickaxe – To dig up the lines
- Pruning shears – For removing any roots that might be in the way or growing inside damaged pipe
Step by Step Instructions for Main Sewer Line Replacement
Follow these step by step instructions to replace the broken pipe and successfully reconnect to the city sewer system.
The first step in any replacement project is to use a camera that fits in the drain lines to identify where they are underground and find any potential problems. Insert the camera line into a drain pipe or floor drain – run it into the water line until you find a clog or broken pipe, then use the radio transceiver and marking paint to mark the spot to start your sewer repair. It is also a good idea to locate the sewer backup line.
Now you are ready to start digging. Use your shovel, pickaxe and pruning shears – if your sewer line is buried deep you may need a friend or two to help you dig. Be careful and make sure not to further damage the broken pipe with your shovel.
Once you have dug to the broken line, cut out the broken parts of the pipe. Try to make the cut at a perfect 90-degree angle in the pipe for a perfect fit. If there are jagged edges you will need to sand the inside of the lines. Cast iron pipe is more difficult to repair and may need to be replaced instead of repaired.
Now it is time to replace the damaged line and attach the new line to the current piping. There are many ways to bind the pipe depending on the material how you want to fasten the piping. PVC pipe and clay pipe are the easiest to cut – and cast iron is the toughest! Attach both ends and wrap it in pipe lining for a tight seal and extra insulation.
Once the new pipe is attached it is time to test and line and make sure there is no leak. After verifying the pipe is securely fastened on both ends and there are no other blockages you can rebury the sewer pipe.
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Trenchless Sewer Line Replacement Options
Sometimes your sewer pipe will be buried too deep or in a location that can’t be dug up – like under a shed or detached garage. Trenchless replacement is possible in some cases – and will save you a lot of digging – but this replacement method does not work on all breaks and sewer lines.
Having a sewer leak is part of being a homeowner – and almost impossible to avoid if you own a home for long enough. If you suspect a problem with your main sewer line start repairs right away to prevent a flooded basement.