Concrete Sewer Lines NEED a Sewer Camera Inspection : Plumbing and Drain Cleaning Blog

Concrete Sewer Lines NEED a Sewer Camera Inspection

by Aardvark Rooter on 11/14/18

In our blog, we’ve talked about sewer camera inspections OR “sewer scopes” and how they work to give you (and the expert tech you’ve called upon) a great look at how your sewer line is holding up. Also, we’ve discussed that there are older sewer lines materials that are more or less prone to fail, collapse, your become root-intruded. In the Seattle and Tacoma areas (and in many areas in between) there are quite a few homes built before 1980 that are starting to see their concrete sewer lines crack or fail altogether. To give yourself the most options for replacement, you’ll want to get a sewer camera inspection as soon as possible! 

Concrete sewer piping (which is no longer used in new construction) has a life span between 50-70 years in most cases---and that’s without any special circumstances that could speed up the erosion or degradation. Many homes in this area are in or even past this range and could have their sewer collapse on any given day. Do you have a concrete sewer line? Are you even sure what your sewer line is made out of? If it is, in fact, concrete, do you have any idea what kind of shape it’s in? Do you know how you would go about replacing the line if it does collapse or show signs of major degradation? These are the questions you should be asking. Aardvark Rooter is here to help you walk through a responsible way of getting out ahead of this issue, and maybe you’ll even want to give us a call to come and help directly (if you live in the South King or Pierce County areas, of course). 

Point #1: ANY sewer piping material, even the new PVC materials can become compromised. The shifting of the earth and tree roots can cause cracks or breaks in almost any line. So, if you know it’s concrete or ceramic---then you know you’re on borrowed time. If you’re not sure, then your first concern is that you aren’t experiencing slow drains, or aren’t having to call a “rooter company” (like us) to come out often just to clear roots.

Point #2: You need a sewer camera inspection to see how your sewer line is doing. If you are having routine sewer line backups (once a year or so), you can’t keep just having a drain cleaning company just “clear the line” and then make them go away. What you need to do is get a look at the line. YES, you will need to have the line cleared first, so if you’re the kind of person who’s needed to call a drain cleaning company out already, just MAKE SURE to ask about a sewer camera video inspection. This costs more, but it’s SO VERY VALUABLE in what it can uncover, and you’ll want a technician who KNOWS side sewers well. The video is only truly valuable when an experienced eye can guide you in what you’re looking for. You will also be able to pin down what type of sewer line you actually have.

Point #3: Old concrete sewer lines can be replaced multiple ways, until they break or crumble. If you get ahead of the issue, you will be able to choose how your side sewer is replaced and possibly BEFORE it shuts down your home’s drainage. If the sewer camera inspection shows that the line looks weak, but has no significant breaks, or “bellies (where the pipe falls through at the bottom),” then you will have the option for a trenchless sewer replacement.

The two main trenchless sewer line methods are pipe-lining, and pipe bursting. Without getting into too much detail on those, you’re looking at two methods that do not require the old pipe to be excavated with a long trench, but instead push or form a new pipe down the middle of the old one. This is a great way to preserve your yard and landscaping, but it’s also more expensive. The bottom line is that if you wait until there’s a break in the line, you won’t have any options for trenchless replacement.

Point #4—FINAL POINT: A sewer camera inspection, therefore, is the way of being a responsible homeowner and getting clear information on your sewer line. Most folks wait until things break and cause a big problem before acting. Just know that a sewage backup can cause major damage to your home in some cases. Even if the collapse or break doesn’t cause immediate damage, you’ll need to shut down your home’s drains while the sewer line is fixed and hooked back up. Don’t you think you’d like to be able to PLAN for this kind of work to be done?

If you are interested in a sewer camera video inspection, which leaves you with a DVD copy to keep, then give us a call. Aardvark Rooter knows sewer and drain lines, and we work with them much more than your average plumbing company. If you’re not in the Seattle or Tacoma area, then make sure you find a company that specializes as a side sewer contractor.

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