Clay sewer pipe problems

Sewer pipes don't last forever. The ravages of time, seismic shifting, and other influences can cause sewer lines to slowly disintegrate and become unusable. Not too many years ago, the only option for handling a failed sewer line was to dig it up and replace it. However, a relatively new technology known as trenchless pipe repair, sometimes called pipe relining, makes sewer line replacement a lot less complicated and potentially less expensive. Trenchless pipe repair allows plumbers to refinish the interior of failing sewer lines without having actually to remove existing pipes.

The process is trenchless because plumber doesn't need to conduct an extensive excavation to reach an affected pipe. As a result, there is less need for disruptive and invasive digging, and your lawn and landscape should remain largely intact. In a trenchless pipe repair scenario, the plumber accesses the interior of a failing line, cleans it and inserts a liner that effectively provides a brand new pipe for sewage transit.

Once you finish the process, you restore the line, and little above-ground evidence remains of the job.

clay sewer pipe problems

Trenchless pipe repair involves several steps including preparation and installation of the liner. While the exact sequence varies depending on the particular method and materials employed by the plumber, here is a general step-by-step procedure:. The first step for any trenchless pipe repair is to gain access to the interior of the failing sewer line.

Some homes contain a drain cleanout, which is a vertical or angled access line that permits plumbers to insert drain-cleaning tools into the mainline easily. Drain cleanouts can be useful in that they may provide a ready access for installing a pipe liner. For homes without a drain liner, a small hole may need to be dug to reach the affected sewer line.

This hole doesn't need to be particularly wide; it just needs to be large enough to permit access to the sewer line. Once the sewer line is accessed, the plumber will cut an opening into the line and begin preparing the interior for the liner.

That means you will cut and remove invasive tree roots, and you will also need to clear all other obstructions from the pipe.

How to Tell if a Sewer Pipe Is Clogged or Broken

In addition, the interior will be scoured using mechanical and water-powered tools to provide a fresh, relatively clean surface. After cleaning, the plumber may use a robotic camera to inspect the interior of the pipe to ensure it is ready for the liner.

The plumber will begin the liner preparation process after cleaning the interior of the sewer line.

clay sewer pipe problems

Liners are usually made from a fabric sewn together to form a sleeve in the exact diameter of the existing pipe; you then cut this sleeve to length, depending on the amount of pipe that will need to be relined.

Next, the fabric sleeve is dipped into a special epoxy that saturates the threads and forms the hard shell of the liner once cured. The saturated sleeve is then positioned in front of the opening to the sewer line and will be either blown or pulled into position, depending on the exact method used.

Compressed air will inflate the sleeve liner and hold it against the pipe surface until the epoxy cures.South Florida homes are experiencing a large wave of cast iron sewer pipe problems due to the year life span of cast-iron pipes. If your cast iron sewer pipes are 25 Years old or older, they could fail at any time. Your drainage lines may already be damaged by tree root intrusion, cracks, channeling, or misaligned connections before you experience complete sewer line failure.

Do not let your plumbing get to the point where it fails! A failed or collapsed sanitary sewer line will cost you tremendously more to repair than proactive maintenance and repair will.

This article highlights 10 tell-tale symptoms that your sewer line is deteriorating and possibly broken. Sanitary sewer backups usually occur in the lowest open drain. A sewage backup is typically caused by a blockage somewhere in the line.

If you experience a backup every time you flush or run water down your sink or bathtub drain, then the problem is likely in your main sewer line since all drains rely on the main sewer line to drain properly. However, if backups are limited to only one drain then your problem is likely isolated to that drain. If you experience backups or blockages regularly even after having the pipes cleaned, then you may have an underlying issue such as tree root intrusion, channeling, cracks letting surrounding soil in, or a misaligned pipe connection.

These issues can be detected by getting a sewer video inspection. If you can smell sewer gas in or around your home or building, this is a tell-tale symptom that there is a crack somewhere in your sewer system. A sanitary sewer should be airtight everywhere with the exception of vent stacks on your roof which allows for the sewage to move downhill.

This means that you should never smell sewer odor unless there was a crack or opening in your sanitary sewer lines. In addition to sewer odor, mold growth may also be a sign of a break in your sewer lines behind your walls.

Considering that, a cracked sewer pipe behind a wall can cause the humidity levels to rise to a point suitable for a mold problem to begin.

If you notice mold growth in your home accompanied by sewer odor then you likely have a break in your sewage drain pipes. A slow drain may be a symptom that a blockage is forming which will eventually lead to a sewage backup. If your toilet, bathtub, or sink is draining slowly even after attempts to clear the line, you may have issues such as tree root intrusion, channeling, or cracks, mentioned above in the beginning stages.Few, if any, homeowners ever elect to dig up their yard to take a look at their sewer pipe.

Pipe assessment is never an elective activity; it's usually forced upon you when the toilets refuse to flush and wastewater comes up instead of going down. Digging up and replacing your sewer pipe is that dreaded activity that destroys landscaping, costs a bundle, and accomplishes nothing other than letting you return to life as usual. Often, the type of sewer pipe running through your yard corresponds with the age of your house.

In older properties built before the s, you might find clay pipe, cast-iron pipe, or a fiber conduit pipe called Orangeburg. Clay and cast-iron are older types of sewer piping and can remain in the ground as long as they are still moving waste with no leaks. Orangeburg sewer pipe is worth replacing if you have the ground opened up, even if the Orangeburg appears to be in good shape.

Even older homes might have newer plastic sewer pipe. As the years wear on, sewer systems deteriorate. When replacement happens, it typically will happen with plastic pipe. If you're wary about the condition of your sewer pipe, you can always order a non-invasive video pipe inspection. Homes built from the s onwards tend to have plastic sewer pipe. In some rare instances, you may find older cast-iron or clay sewer lines at a new house. The new house and even some remodeled houses will often have new pipe installed within the house envelope itself and extending a few feet into the yard.

The yard area is where the old sewer pipe will start up again and continue all the way to the city sewer main. In most new sewer line installations, you may find yourself being steered in the direction of PVC or ABS plastic pipe over clay and cast-iron.

While the plastic pipe is undoubtedly easier to work with, clay and iron have strong points, such as longer lifespans and strength for the iron.

Cutting Clay Pipes with a Sawzall

Both types of pipe have smooth interiors for excellent carrying capacity of solid waste matter. The smooth exteriors also help resist root anchorage. Plastic sewer pipe is usually the material of choice for do-it-yourselfers since it is lightweight, easy to cut, inexpensive, and available at all home centers. As an added benefit, plastic pipe can be tied into cast-iron and clay pipe. Cast-iron sewer pipe, like clay pipe, is associated with older homes, yet it is still installed today.

One of the best things about cast iron pipe is that it is incredibly strong. A four-inch diameter sewer pipe can withstand well over two tons of pressure per linear foot.Buying a new home is one of the biggest steps any of us will ever make.

We at See Inside Sewer Scope want you to know for sure that the choice you make has no hidden surprises. Because Colorado has a soil composition that is prone to settling, there are a few common problems we look for in our inspection process. In older homes that have clay tile pipe, this settling can cause offset unions, roots, bellies and structural damage.

In newer homes, settling, while usually not causing major structural damage, can leave large belly areas in a sewer. Most of these issues can be solved or mitigated by simple appropriate maintenance while only a few require repair.

The key is to have all the information you need before purchasing or listing a home, to know what action to take. We will give you that information. Root Penetrations: Roots have entered main sewer via either an offset or a damaged area of the sewer pipe.

Roots can cause sewer stoppages and can lead to further damage at offsets or broken areas. Typical preferred maintenance is sewer cable cleaning. Offsets: An offset is a separation in a sewer pipe usually made of clay tile where two sections of pipe come together. An offset may or may not cause problems depending on the size and the type of the offset. Some offsets are severe enough to require repair.

In a belly, water moves too slowly and waste will separate from the water causing a build-up in the belly area, leading to sewer stoppages. Typical preferred maintenance is sewer jetting. Typical preferred maintenance is sewer cable cleaning Offsets: An offset is a separation in a sewer pipe usually made of clay tile where two sections of pipe come together. Sample of Root infiltrations:. Sample of a Belly:. Sample of an Offset:.A broken sewer line can be stressful, hazardous to your family and a confusing problem.

There are many variables associated when determining if the sewer line is broken or clogged, what caused the problem and how to fix the broken or clogged sewer line.

A foul odor may become apparent starting in your basement. You may hear a bubbling noise when flushing your toilet or using your sink; in this case you most likely have a blockage as the air is having trouble when trying to escape your sewer system. Your Sewage is starting to backup into your home caused by an obstruction in-between your house trap and the city sewer. The average life span of a sewer line is years in NYC, it is very common for old clay sewer pipes to crack or separate after many years of usage.

The sewer line may have been invaded by roots from a tree located near your home. Roots in clay sewer pipe Broken clay pipe 3.


The sewer line has not been maintained for many years, a periodic cleaning should be performed as a preventative step to avoid any major sewer main problems. Utility companies have performed work in the roadway causing additional stress to you sewer system.

The sewer cleaner may encounter an obstruction where the snake cannot pass; this is usually a strong sign of a cracked or broken sewer pipe. At this point you may want to have a camera put in the sewer pipe to assess all details of the obstruction, a camera will be of no help if the sewer line is not running and there is sewage sitting still in the pipe.

You may also want to consider a Hydrojet cleaning method of the sewer line however; this may serve as a temporary fix to a larger issue which can result in a complete failure of your sewer line leaving you without any usage of sinks, toilets, showers etc. The Hydrojet method may also cause additional stress to what may be a fragile sewer line resulting in more damage the the pipe.

By this point you should have an idea of what is causing the sewer line to malfunction ; these details should be provided to a Licensed Master Plumber who will provide options on how to resolve your issue. If it has been determined that the pipe is broken, cracked or separated, you should consider whether:. The existing pipe is a clay pipe, repairing a clay pipe is very risky as the remaining sections of clay pipe are expected to break at some point in the near future.

The cost of replacing a sewer line at different points in time can be 3x as expensive than if you were to replace the entire line from the house to the street at one time. Have you already had repairs completed on your sewer line? Did the previous repairs include connecting to old pipe?

Is your pipe properly flowing on gravity or is your pipe back pitched? Can a repair on your sewer line resolve the pitch problem or is a full sewer line replacement the only way to resolve your problem the right way? Is the broken pipe near the foundation wall or the city connection in the roadway?Tree roots are the antagonist of sewer and drain pipes in Puget Sound area. This is mainly common in older homes, where there are chances that eventually one will have to deal with the tree roots invading clay sewer pipes.

During prolonged drought seasons this has been proven to be a common nuisance; this is as a result of the tree roots searching for any source of moisture which includes the water flowing through the sewer pipes. The problem of tree roots and clay pipes are really a menace that needs to be addressed appropriately. When the roots have infiltrated the pipes, they continue to grow in diameter. Hence it further creates or worsens the gaps in the pipes. The roots can break the pipe entirely in severe cases which would lead to the replacement of the pipe.

At times the intrusion might not be significant enough to break the pipe, but the roots are likely to obstruct the flow of water and waste in the pipe this will cause backups in fixtures, showers, and toilets.

When Is the City Responsible for Sewer Lines?

It is important to note that removing the tree with the damaging roots is not the solution to this problem, as the roots can continue to grow even after the tree has been cut down no matter how long it will take. Even more important is knowing when you need to call a professional plumber. Repipe Articles. November 1 Problems associated with concrete and clay sewer The sewer pipes joints were rarely watertight. This is as from the first time they were installed.

The spigot which is the narrow end is inserted into the bell on the larger end of the next section of the pipe. The installer runs a bead around the spigot and the bell in order to seal the sewer pipes he uses concrete or mortar. To get the sewer to the required height, the process is repeated. Water can find its way to the roots as the joints were not waterproof, as a result, water seeps out and will find its way to the roots, therefore, attracting the tree roots.

The concrete and clay pipes are heavy as a result; as the ground moves and shifts over a long period of time the pipes can end up sinking into the soil thus creating gaps or worsening them.

The concrete pipes and clay pipes are brittle hence when moving and shifting they can crack or even break leading to entry points for the roots. Pipe replacing or pipelining is the best way to prevent roots from growing further in the sewer, once they begin to grow. Another solution to this problem is pouring a chemical tree root killer down your toilet and let it eradicate the roots for you. The various root killers chemicals are available in a local hardware or plumbing supply store.

The chemical contains the corrosive property that kills the roots when they come in contact with the drain pipe.The use of clay drainage pipes dates back to those marvels of plumbing, the Romans. The clay pipe system was easy to manufacture, straightforward to lay and, for the most part, reliable.

If correctly installed with a solid base, clay drains could last up to years. However, due to the rigid and brittle nature of clay or terracotta pipes problems can begin to occur over time. Terracotta drainage pipes sometimes referred to as clay or vitrified clay pipes can experience issues just like other types of pipes. Some complications which can occur with clay drain pipes include:. Clay drain pipes are especially susceptible to tree root ingress. Roots work their way into the drain via couplings experiencing mortar shrinkage, cracks or fractures.

This is especially prevalent if an effective root barrier system was not installed when the pipes were laid or large trees have been planted too close to the drain pipe. The good news it there's a lot you can do to extend the life of your clay sewer pipes. Modern pipe relining and pipe patching techniques offer 'no dig' drain repair options which remove the need for extensive digging to replace broken drain pipes.

Even badly cracked or broken pipes, as well as joint damage and misaligned pipes, can be fixed with trenchless pipe repairs. The new pipe patch or reline will provide a strong layer inside the terracotta pipe adding up to 50 years to the life of the drain.

Removing potentially damaging trees from the area around the drain will prevent roots from causing blockages within the pipes. Worried about the health of clay drain pipes on your property?

Our team of pipe relining specialists use the latest in drain camera technology to uncover any issues with your drains plus we offer 'no dig' drain repairs so you won't need to remove large area's of garden, driveway or road. Give Reline Solutions a call on or complete our service request form today. Call: Get Quote. Clay drainage pipe and sewer pipe problems Tuesday, November 17, Problems with terracotta pipes Terracotta drainage pipes sometimes referred to as clay or vitrified clay pipes can experience issues just like other types of pipes.

Some complications which can occur with clay drain pipes include: a slight movement or settling in the ground around the pipe can disturb couplings and potentially create water leaks subsequent water loss can wash away pipe bedding causing more drain movement because of the shatter-able nature of the clay, cracks or breaks can occur from shocks or impact damage misalignment allows debris to be snagged on the inside of the pipe eventually causing a partial or full drain blockage one misaligned pipe can then nudge the next pipe out of place and so on, causing more and more issues along the drain length heavy vehicle movement over pipes under driveways or roads can cause cracks or even total drain collapse Tree root ingress in clay pipes Clay drain pipes are especially susceptible to tree root ingress.

Repairing clay drain pipes The good news it there's a lot you can do to extend the life of your clay sewer pipes. Keep your terracotta drainage pipes healthy Worried about the health of clay drain pipes on your property? Request Pipe Relining Quote. Previous Next.

clay sewer pipe problems

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