Dealing with a blocked septic line or septic system can happen from time to time. Usually, it’s nothing more than clearing a clogged sink or toilet.
When that doesn’t work, you might have a bigger problem on your hands. One of the possible problems is a broken septic pipe. Learn how to determine if you have a broken septic pipe and what your options are to fix it.
How Do I Know If My Septic Pipe is Broken?
Before assuming the pipe is broken, try to see if there’s a clog in the pipe. Things like toilet paper, hair, or even kitchen grease can cause clogged pipes. You might also notice slow drains or a sewer odor inside your house. Using a plunger, chemical drain cleaner, or plumbing snake can all be used to clear the clogged pipe.
Don’t forget to check drains for your washing machine, dishwasher, or other sinks you might have in your home. Those appliances can also have a slow drain that you might not notice right away but can indicate a problem.
If that doesn’t seem to resolve the problem, it’s time to contact a professional. Continuing to use a snake or chemicals can cause damage and make the situation worse and possibly more expensive.
Another one of the telltale signs your septic system is broken is a soggy area in your yard. You may also notice a foul smell while you’re outside. If you’re familiar with where your sewer pipes or septic tank are located, it can help you confirm this is the problem.
While a clog may not break the sewer pipe on its own, repeated clogs can damage the pipes. Tree roots are known to cause a damaged sewer line and you may not know anything is wrong until there’s a big problem.
A licensed professional plumber can come out and take a look at the sewer lines by doing a camera inspection. This will allow them to see exactly where the issue is and what’s causing the problem even in spots that wouldn’t be otherwise visible.
Broken sewer lines can cause health issues and additional damage to your home that can be more expensive. It’s important to have these repairs made right away to keep your family safe and avoid a more expensive repair because of more damage.
Can I Repair a Broken Septic Pipe?
Depending on the damage, you may be able to repair just the broken section of pipe you find. Homeowners who have older septic systems may want to go ahead and replace the entire septic system when damage is found. It might be a more expensive option now, but wind up saving you money in the long run.
If you decide to try to find the broken pipe yourself, it’s important to be very careful when digging up your yard to locate the broken area in the pipe. A shovel can cause a cracked sewer pipe that might not have been damaged before. These cracks letting surrounding soil in can cause even more damage to the septic system.
You may notice sewage backup at the broken lines or near your septic drain field. In addition, you might be able to smell sewer gas near the broken lines. These things can help you locate the general area of broken sewer lines in your yard.
After you find the broken line, it might be obvious that there’s a clog that’s easily fixed. Be sure to wear gloves to keep your hands protected from any sharp objects or sewage that may be present.
Contacting a professional plumber to repair the pipes is another option. Because they’re experts, they’ve handled a situation like yours before and know exactly what needs to be done to repair your broken pipes. When you contact a plumber, they’ll let you know your options regarding repairing versus replacing the sewer lines.
PVC or metal pipes can be repaired by sealing the pipes back together with an epoxy or other pipe sealant. Concrete pipes will need to be repaired with mortar. Your home may also have clay sewer pipes. These pipes can be patched as well.
What Does Fixing a Broken Septic Pipe Cost?
Once you’ve found the location of the broken pipes, you can start gathering information to request a quote from a plumber for the sewer line repair and replacement options. Several different things will need to be taken into consideration when a professional plumber provides a quote.
One of the first things to look at is the location of the damage. If the damaged pipes are on public property, you’ll need to contact the proper authorities to have the damage repaired.
On average, the cost to repair sewer lines is $2500, with the average range being $1100 – $4100. Smaller repairs will obviously be less expensive, while repairs that require trenches to be dug or complete replacement of your entire system will be much more expensive.
Your plumber will let you know what the necessary repairs are that need to be made to make your sewer system functional again. You may want to just make the repairs but might actually save money replacing your current plumbing system. Doing proactive maintenance on your septic system will help catch smaller problems before they become a larger issue to deal with.
Repairs can take a few hours or a few days to complete depending on the severity of the clog and damage, what your pipes are made of, and if repairs or a replacement are happening.