“What Would It Cost to Replace the Sewer Line in My Basement?” Expert Homeowner Advice
Plumbing work sure ain’t for the faint of heart. I’ve seen almost everything there is to see in my many years as a plumber—some that I desperately wish I could unsee. But the one thing I don’t think I’ve ever seen is a homeowner getting excited about replacing the sewer lines in his or her basement. Now, I can’t say that I fault them for their lack of enthusiasm. Most of the time, a sewage backup or leak is the reason they have to replace their pipes—and it’s pretty hard to get excited about much when you have sewage where it’s not supposed to be in your home.
While it may not be exciting or glamorous, replacing the sewer lines in your basement is a necessary part of being a responsible homeowner. And, sometimes, you’ve just got to bite the bullet and get it done. So, in an attempt to help you deal with your sewer situation as quickly and painlessly as possible, let’s look at when and why sewer lines need to be replaced, and, of course, what it would cost to replace the sewer line in your basement.
Why and When Basement Sewer Lines Need to Be Replaced
Wouldn’t it be great if sewer lines lasted forever? They’d never leak, they’d never burst, and they’d never wear out. As much as I’d love for this to be true, it sadly isn’t the case. There are a number of things that can go wrong with your line that will, unfortunately, require you to replace it.
Here are a few common scenarios that could call for a replacement of your sewer line:
- Your sewer line is old: If your house was built prior to the 80s, chances are that your sewer line is made of clay, iron, or a combination of wood fiber and pitch. Unfortunately, these kind of pipes will only last between 50 and 60 years tops. They become increasingly brittle as they age, making it easy for tree roots to infiltrate them and crack or break the pipe, causing leaks.
- Your drains seem to clog all the time: If you notice that your drains are clogging, it’s important you get them checked and cleared. If you let a clog go too long, it can cause cracks and breaks in your line. If the damage is severe, it may require total replacement.
- Sewage is backing up in your toilet or basement: This is obviously an indicator that there is a major clog somewhere in your line. And, as I’ve said before, you’ve got to deal with a backed up toilet in the basement before it causes any permanent damage to your sewer line.
- A noticeable increase in your water or sewage bill: Your sewer line is actually made up of several small pipes connected by joints. When these joints become loose, excess water can leak out of the system and show up on your bill before it becomes apparent anywhere else.
- Spongy, wet areas in your yard: This typically happens when a tree root has infiltrated your line, causing the sewage to leak out and flood a section of your yard.
- A stinky, rotten egg smell that can’t be ignored: There’s nothing like the smell of waste backed up in your sewer line. This happens when sewage sits in your line and decomposes. This could be from a clog, an issue with the p-trap, or a problem with the pipes.
All of these scenarios indicate a problem with your sewer line, but to figure out exactly what is going on you are going to need to call an experienced plumbing pro and have them do the dirty work. They’ll be able to clear your line and assess damage much more efficiently and much more neatly than you can. Trying to sort things out for yourself will be frustrating, messy, and may cause even more damage in the end.
The Cost to Replace Your Basement Sewer Line
Just to reiterate, in case it hasn’t been clear up until this point, replacing the sewer line in your basement is not a fun job. It’s stinky, dirty, difficult, and complex—and a lot can go wrong in the process if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. Nonetheless, many people try to take the task on themselves because they’re afraid of the cost of basement sewer line replacement. Now, I totally understand the desire to save money, but I’ve redone way too many botched DIY sewer jobs to know that you’ll end up spending more in the long run if you try to do it yourself.
…I’ve redone way too many botched DIY sewer jobs to know that you’ll end up spending more in the long run if you try to do it yourself.
So, how much does replacing the sewer line in your basement cost when you hire a pro? Generally speaking, an average sewer replacement from a house to the public sewer usually starts around $3000 but, depending on the complexity, can be as high as $7000 or more. Per foot, rates tend to range between $60 and $200.
Keep in mind though, that the cost of replacing the sewer line in your basement will depend on many factors specific to your home. Factors affecting the cost of replacing your sewer line include:
- Location of your house trap (ie. your front yard or your basement)
- Sewer size requirements of your town or city
- Length of your sewer line
- Type of replacement (ie. trenchless sewer replacement or conventional)
- Location and extent of the problem
These are just a few of the things that can impact the price of sewer line replacement. In order to get an accurate quote on the cost, you’ve got to get a plumbing pro out to your home to inspect your particular situation. Whether it ends up being a big or small investment, replacing your sewer line is necessary. And, if done by an experienced plumbing professional, you’ll likely never have to worry about it again. Now that’s an exciting prospect.
At Bell Brothers, believe it or not, our trained HVAC professionals would be delighted to come have a look at your sewer line and assess whether or not it needs to be replaced. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Wondering how to finance new plumbing—or even a furnace or window upgrade? HERO is a unique financing option that helps California homeowners afford energy efficient upgrades to their home. Contact Bell Brothers, a HERO-approved contractor, to learn more. Our local HVAC, plumbing, and window specialists will walk you through the entire process, from applications to installation.
Image courtesy Pixabay user StockSnap