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Being a home or building owner comes with certain maintenance responsibilities. Roofs need replacing every so often, for example, and it’s important to keep an eye on other utilities and elements around the home.

Sewer line repair is a little more difficult to set on a maintenance calendar because damage can happen suddenly and it’s not always easy to know right away if the sewer line is in need of repair. There are some signs to watch out for, and as a homeowner it is important to know what you are working with.

Signs to Repair the Sewer line

Some home/building owners can go decades without needing to do sewer line repairs. You may have to deal with clogs every now and again, but the life span of sewer lines is usually very long, especially with modern materials.

If your home was constructed before 1980, the builder may have installed clay pipes to create the main sewer line. Clay pipes can be damaged by root growth and even in perfect conditions, last 50-60 years. They are no longer used in new homes and buildings.

Since 1980, polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, plastic pipes became the industry standard and they are designed to last for a very long time — we are still waiting to see exactly how long! They are very durable and not susceptible to things like roots and corrosion, but damage can still happen.

A sewer line may need repair from one of several circumstances. In Vancouver, nearby construction is often a culprit in problems down the line. Of course, there are measures in place to try and prevent damage to sewage lines, but unfortunately not all construction is done with strict adherence to policy and safety.

1. Ground Movement

Another problem for Vancouver and the surrounding area is a ground movement like earthquakes and tremors. Not all are felt but Vancouver does have activity like this regularly. Again, building codes are created to withstand fairly severe ground movement, but there are situations that can cause damage.

2. Root Growth

Vancouver also prides itself on its green spaces and large, old trees, which have strong, growing roots that work their way through and around whatever is in their way. Roots are a constant source of concern for sewage lines. Soil conditions might also corrode pipes over time.

3. Shoddy Installation

Finally, shoddy installation can cause sewer line leaks or damage sooner than you would expect.

Sewer line repair can cause dread in people as they imagine huge disruptions and a giant trench through their yard. Fortunately modern technology means that there are sewer line repair options that are less disruptive. With cameras and other high-tech tools, smaller sections can be identified and repaired.

It’s important to watch for signs to catch the problem while there are still a lot of options for smaller repairs. Ongoing drainage problems in sinks and the tub can indicate larger problems down the sewer line, and call a drainage expert if you are smelling sulphur or worse. If you notice any kind of back up and there is construction nearby, again, call an expert to come to assess the problem.

It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to sewer line maintenance and repair.

If you need sewer line repair in Vancouver, please contact CERC drainage.