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Your sewer main is the primary sewer line that connects the city's main sewer line to your home. When a sewer main needs to be replaced, this can quickly turn into a very expensive job. While most homeowners spend around $2,339 to simply repair a cracked main or line, the costs can easily get into the tens of thousands if the line runs under driveways or streets.
To determine what's wrong with your sewer line, a professional may opt to send a camera down the piping. This will increase the price for sewer main repair but can ultimately save in the long run. By determining the correct problem, it will cut down on unnecessary repair or replacement.
Repair and Excavation
One reason why sewer main repairs are so expensive is that the sewer main line is entirely under the ground, often below gardens, lawns, driveways, or patios. Your yard may need to be excavated or your driveway jackhammered to even access the sewer main. Often the repair needed is not the most expensive part of the process at all. The actual repair may be just the replacement of a length of pipe or the removal of overgrown tree roots. It is the access that is the costly part of the equation.
Replacement and cleanup
If your yard, garden or driveway needs to be dismantled to repair your sewer main, then it stands to reason that a large cost of your repair will be replacing and rebuilding the parts of your home damaged in the process. It is an unfortunate truth that you cannot ignore a broken sewer main. If you are building a new home from the ground up, you may want to ask ahead of time where the sewer main is located. In the event that you may have a needed repair in the future you could opt to not put down cement driveways or costly landscaping over that area.
CIPP (Cured-in-place-pipe) lining may be an option for your sewer line repair. CIPP lining is a process by which a new sewer line pipe is installed inside the existing one. This helps keep the sewer line replacement cost down by reducing the amount of excavation necessary. CIPP lining is not an option for all repairs but may be worth discussing with your pro.
If you need to replace your sewer line, then you will most likely need to obtain a permit from your city. Although increasing the sewer line replacement cost, doing so will ensure that everything is up to code. There are only a few situations where the section of the sewer that needs repair or replacement is actually on the city's property rather than your own, like in the street. In this case, the city would be responsible for the repair and not you. You should always check with the professional to see about the permits and whether they or you should obtain them.
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