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Time to Replace a Broken Sewer Pipe?

Sewer lines are one of those things we don't think about until something goes wrong. You start noticing the problem when you hear gurgling noises from the toilet, or when water drains more slowly than usual, or when a smelly sinkhole appears in your yard.

So, how do you deal a broken sewer line? Who do you call? How much will it cost? We'll attempt to answer some of those questions here...

Why Do Sewer Pipes Fail?

Nothing lasts forever, and sewer lines are no exceptions. The older the pipes are, the more likely you're going to have problems with them.

Although properly installed PVC pipes are supposed to have a lifespan of well over 100 years, older pipes are usually made from clay tile, steel, or some other material that may only last 50 or 60 years. If you have an older home that was built before the late 1980s, there's a good chance you're dealing with clay pipes.

It's common for tree roots to wedge their way into pipes. Trees love the moisture! After a while the roots grow so dense and matted that they plug up the pipe completely.

Sewer pipes can also get clogged up with an accumulation of grease, muck, and other nasty stuff that gets washed down there day after day.

And sometimes sewer lines just plain break, collapse, or rot away. Tree roots have a way of hastening this process. The bad news is that every time you run a snake through your pipes to clear out the tree roots, you damage the sewer line even further.

Black & Decker The Complete Guide to Plumbing

To be honest, I don't mess with plumbing if I don't have to. I don't even like unclogging my drains--it's disgusting. But if you want to really understand the plumbing in your house and tackle some repairs yourself, you can't go wrong with Black & Decker's Plumbing Guide. Can't go wrong with any Black & Decker book, really--they're always full of photographs and excellent step-by-step instructions.

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