You are probably hoping that your plumbing issue is less than it seems. You hope you merely have a clogged drain or blocked toilet. So you try to dissolve the clog by pouring a declogging solution down the drain or you plunge your toilet to clear the blockage.
But sometimes, plumbing problems won’t subside, or they only let up for a while. Your toilet continues to block up time after time. You have wastewater coming up into the tub. You smell sewer smells in your yard or home. You may even see toilet paper littering the yard. Any of these is an indication that you need the help of a Sonoma County sewer line contractor.
Your sewer line is a conduit from your house to the public sewer system. As a homeowner, you find yourself unpleasantly surprised when you 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. In cases where the sewer problem 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 work 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 undergo wear and tear over time. Like everything else in your house, the sewer line has a life span that makes replacement an inevitability. 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 ground freezes and thaws, it can act on the pipes in the earth, causing them to shift or to sag. The sagging, or bellying, occurs when earth is forced out from underneath the pipes.
At other times, a poorly installed pipe ends up being offset, meaning that it doesn’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.
Exactly How Big is the Problem With my Sonoma County Sewer Line?
Look for expert help when the problem is more than a temporary 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 sewer line contractor should have a camera for viewing 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 around to see if you can find a cleanout. You many have more than one of them. A cleanout gives you easy access 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 the bathrooms.
A few houses have cleanouts inside, 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.
A sewer line repair may be a less-involved option if have limited damage. On the other hand, you may have to step up for a complete sewer line replacement. If the problem is localized, it may be possible for the sewer line contractor to patch the pipe. To patch the sewer line, the contractor replaces the damaged area of the pipe with a new length of pipe. In some cases, a patch makes sense.
Remember, however, if it seems that you will have to keep patching the sewer line, multiple 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.
Will My Sonoma County Sewer Line Contractor Dig a Huge Hole to Fix My Sewer?
When it comes to replacing a sewer line, even the bravest may 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.
Using the CIPP, or cured-in-place-piping, technique a sewer line can be replaced relatively easily. Known as 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 sends a PVC-soaked liner down the pipe. Once the liner has been placed, a bladder is sent down to plump out the liner while steam molds the PVC liner to the original pipe’s interior walls. After the liner cures, the bladder is removed.
The new liner now becomes 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.
Pipe bursting may be another technique to use instead of trenches. In the pipe bursting method, a hole is dug at the beginning of the sewer line and another hole dug at the end of the sewer line. The bursting head is sent down into the earth via one of the holes. The bursting head breaks apart the pipe already 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 remains in the ground.
What Else Does on my Sonoma County Sewer Line Repair Include?
Look for an expert who can help guide you in determining whether a trench or trenchless approach is right for your situation. In addition to their expertise, the contractors you pick must be licensed sewer line contractors or plumbers. 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. The contractor’s license number must be displayed in the company’s 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 Sonoma County, whether in Windsor, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Camp Meeker, Healdsburg, Rohnert Park, Cloverdale, or Sebastopol, 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.
Three important elements will keep your sewer liner repair in line – the licensed contractor, the permit, and the appropriate materials. 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 used in sewer line repair and replacement. 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 increase when you encounter problems. These problems might include trees that have to be removed with the stumps ground out, when those trees are interfering with access to your sewer line. Obviously, tree and stump removal add to the cost of the sewer line replacement or repair. In most cases, the gas and clean water lines should be installed a good distance 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. You may also face increased costs.
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 frequently bear the responsibility for damaging pipes. Sometimes, a sewer line contractor will tell you that they can save the trees, and leave the trees 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. Ask your sewer line contractor 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.
Sonoma County Septic Tanks and Sewer Conversions
Instead of connecting to the public sewer system with a sewer line, some houses use a septic system In the septic system, the wastewater is piped out of the house and sent to a tank for storage. The tank gets 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.
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