It's not looking as if your plumbing problem is going to be an easy fix. Now you have to bring in a plumber or a sewer line contractor to take a look what's going on. It's most likely going to cost a lot. And it's just not your favorite thing to deal with. No matter where you live in Santa Cruz County, whether in Capitola, Santa Cruz, Camp Evers, Scotts Valley, Watsonville, Laurel, San Lorenzo Park, Rincon, or Riverside Grove, handling sewer line problems is no fun. So you need to call someone in. But what will happen next? Will you be living with huge trenches in your yard and driveway? Will the complete sewer line have to be replaced? Who can you call to deal with a major sewer line crisis?
Your Santa Cruz County Sewer Line Contractor to the Rescue
You really want your plumbing problem to be a small bother. You have a clogged drain or blocked toilet. You can dissolve the clog by pouring something down the drain. You can plunge the toilet to clear the blockage. But sometimes, the problems won't go away, or only go away for a while. Your toilet continues to block up even after you have plunged it. You have wastewater coming up into the tub. You smell sewer smells in your yard or home in Santa Cruz County. You may even see toilet paper littering the yard. Any of these is an indication that you need the help of a sewer line contractor.
The sewer line is designed to carry waste from your house and deliver it to the public sewer system. As a homeowner, you may be unpleasantly surprised to discover that you are the one responsible for the sewer line from the house to where it connects with the public system. Typically the public system hook-up is located where the sidewalk abuts the property line.
You have determined that you do have a sewer line issue. If it affects more than a small segment of the line, it makes sense to get in touch with your local authority to see where the city takes over responsibility for the pipe. You may need to coordinate with the city so that you fix only the segment of the sewer line that you are responsible for. You want to save yourself both the cost and the liability of working on more of the sewer line than you are responsible for.
Sewer lines can't last forever. Like everything else in your house, the sewer line has a life span that makes periodic replacement necessary. Sewer pipes made from clay or similar vitreous material often deteriorate quickly and were often used in older homes.
Your sewer line also has other forces acting on it. When the earth freezes and thaws, it can affect the pipes in the ground, causing them to shift or to sag. The sagging, or bellying, occurs when earth is forced out from underneath the pipes. At other times, pipes have been poorly installed and are offset, meaning that they don't lie straight, so it's easier for blockages to form. Trees and shrubs are constantly on the reach for water, and their roots can penetrate the pipes. Even very fine roots can make it more likely that blockages form, wreaking havoc with your sewer line. Dumping lots of grease down a drain over time can also cause blockages to form. These are some of the causes of sewer line damage, in addition to age.
How Big is the Problem With my Santa Cruz County Sewer Line?
You will need to solicit expert help if your situation has gone beyond a little clog or blockage. A sewer line contractor or a plumber who takes care of sewer lines can repair or replace your sewer line. It is important that your sewer line contractor identify the problem before making recommendations or efforts to fix it. The company should have a camera that can be used to view the interior of the sewer line and locate the problem exactly. Your sewer line contractor may need to jet the pipe to clean it first before using the camera. Jetting means cleaning the pipe with high-pressure water hoses. The camera should be used so that the contractor is not guessing about the problem.
Look for around your property for a cleanout. You many have more than one of them. A cleanout comes in very handy when you need to work on your sewer line. Cleanouts are capped, or lidded, pipes that give workers access to the sewer line. You may be able to find the cleanout in your yard, particularly along the walls near where the bathrooms are sited. A few houses have the cleanouts inside, perhaps behind the toilet, though this is not a common situation. If you don't have a cleanout, the sewer line contractor will have to get at the sewer line through an interior fixture, such as a toilet, or through a roof vent. These latter methods incur more expense than using a cleanout.
If you are lucky, you may be looking at a sewer line repair. On the other hand, you may have to step up for a complete sewer line replacement. In many cases, if the problem is localized, it may be possible for the sewer line contractor to patch the pipe. Patching consists of replacing the damaged area of the pipe with a new length of pipe. In some cases, a patch makes sense. Keep in mind, however, if it seems that you will have to keep patching the sewer line, those efforts can be as expensive as or more expensive than replacing the entire sewer line, since you have to keep opening up and closing the access every time you have a patch applied. The decision to patch or replace really depends on the severity of the damage; your sewer line contractor should be able to assess and offer recommendations.
How Will my Santa Cruz County Sewer Line Contractor Repair my Sewer?
Sewer line repair or replacement can cause even the brave to quail. You probably imagine your yard or driveway being torn up, with trenches all over the place, and a project that goes on and on. In some cases, the repair may require a trench. But fortunately, there are also other methods that your sewer line contractor may be able to use.
The CIPP, or cured-in-place-piping, technique allows you to replace a sewer line with a less invasive approach. Called a trenchless sewer repair, the process begins with a hydro-jetting step, in which highly pressurized water is used to clean out the pipe. A machine then feeds a PVC-soaked liner down the pipe. Once the liner has been put in place, a bladder is sent down to plump out the liner while steam molds the PVC liner to the existing pipe's interior walls. After the liner cures, the bladder is removed. The new liner now forms a strong pipe that will resist cracking, roots, and other stresses. It's possible that the CIPP process can be performed without any excavation in some cases, by using access from cleanouts or from manholes in the street. In other cases, some excavation may be employed, but it is significantly less than the full-trench approach.
The pipe bursting technique is also a less invasive option than a trench. In the pipe bursting method, a hole is dug at the start of the sewer line and another hole dug at the end of the sewer line. The bursting head is placed in the earth via one of the holes. The bursting head is a mechanism that will break apart the existing pipe in the ground. As the bursting head moves forward, it breaks up the pipe in front of it, and it drags a new pipe along behind it. The new pipe is laid along the same path as the pipe being burst apart. In most cases, the old pipe that was burst apart is left in the ground.
What Else Will Have an Impact on my Santa Cruz County Sewer Line Repair?
One of your biggest choices will be trench vs. trenchless repair, and you will need an experienced contractor to help you make the choice. In addition, the contractor you pick must be a licensed sewer line contractor or plumber. It doesn't matter whether the company advertises specifically as sewer line contractors or as plumbers who specialize in sewer lines. In either case, the firm must have a California contractor's license and display that number in its advertising. The plumber's license is called a C36, and the sanitation system contractor's license is called a C42. Licensed contractors are tested by the state and must carry a bond. You should also look to make sure the contractor carries workers' compensation insurance, or else you will be liable for workers injured on your property.
No matter where you live in Santa Cruz County, whether in Capitola, Santa Cruz, Watsonville, San Lorenzo Park, Camp Evers, Scotts Valley, Interlaken, or Laurel, ask your contractor about permits. Most cities or counties require permits for sewer line work. Your contractor should be able to help you with the process of getting the permit.
Beyond looking for a licensed contractor and securing a permit, make sure you get the right materials used on your sewer line project. If you want an enduring and code-compliant repair, you also need to be sure the proper materials are being using. Most localities have codes that mandate the types of materials put in place. Some specific types of pipes are banned for use as a sewer line. For example, many regions do not allow clay pipes because they break easily. In other cases, certain types of plastic are not allowed. Your sewer line contractor should be able to knowledgably discuss the kind of pipe being used and its conformance with your local codes.
Sewer line repair budgets rise when some problems are encountered. These include trees that have to be removed with the stumps ground out, when those trees are interfering with access to your sewer line. Obviously, this removal will add to the cost of the sewer line replacement or repair. In most cases, the gas and clean water lines should be installed well away from your sewer line. If you have the unfortunate case where you have an older home or a home not built to code where the gas lines are close to the sewer line, the workers have to be much more careful and costs could rise. Another issue that can affect the cost is how far away the public sewer hook-up is. If it is far from your property line, you may end up digging into the road to reach it, which will increase costs.
Tree or shrub roots are frequently the culprit when it comes to damaging pipes. Sometimes, a sewer line contractor will tell you that they can save the trees, leave them mostly intact and growing after the sewer line repair. If the trees or shrubs caused the problem by putting down their roots, at least some of the roots must be removed, since the pipe they are infesting will be replaced. Be sure to take the time to ask your sewer line contractor closely about how he or she thinks it is possible to spare the trees or shrubs. Also ask about the possibility of future root intrusion, if you do want to save the trees or shrubs, since they will still be living close to the pipes.
Santa Cruz County Septic Tanks and Sewer Conversions
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Septic systems are in place in some houses, instead of a sewer line to a public sewer system. In the septic system, the wastewater is piped out of the house and sent to a tank for storage. The tank must be occasionally drained, at the homeowner's expense, so that it can be refilled. Sometimes, a city or other local government mandates that users to move to a sewer system from a septic system. Or the homeowner may choose to make the switchover once the city sewer is available, since the public sewer system can be more convenient than maintaining a septic tank. If you need to convert from a septic system to the public sewer system, a sewer line contractor can help.