My sewer is plugged. Will I have to replace it?
Probably Not! A plugged sewer is normally caused by the following:
- Roots that grow through cracks or joints in sewer pipe
- Femenine hygene products (Tampons, Pads)
- Paper towel (it does not dissolve and will dam the sewer)
- Some thick toilet paper brands
- Baby Wipes
- Cleaning wipes
These blockages can all be removed with the tools that Duke Sewer uses.
If your sewer does need to be replaced, it will be because it has broken
What causes a sewer to break?
The 2 most common breaks are collapsed no-corrode and broken cast-iron (usually under the footer of the home)
Regina and surrounding area have 4 kinds of sewer pipe, and it is common that a home or business will have 2 or even all 3 types on their sewer system. Homes built after 1976 typically have 100% ABS sewer on the private side of their sewer line.
ORANGEBURG PIPE AKA NO-CORRODE PIPE:
From the 50’s until mid 70’s, most sewers were built with this type of pipe which is wood fibre and coal pitch. Some people say it looks like thick tar-paper. See http://www.sewerhistory.org/grfx/components/pipe-orng1.htm
This pipe deforms under pressure over time. In Regina, it is normally 4 inches in diameter. It can and will pinch down from 4 inches to completely pinched and every variation between. At Duke Sewer, we recommend replacing No-Corrode pipe after ½ of the diameter is lost. When a 2 ½ inch sewer cutter will no longer pass through, then replacement is recommended. A sewer will still function when the No-Corrode is significantly pinched, but very frequent cleaning with sewer cutters is required and there is always the risk of flood and sewer backup.
Most homes in Regina have 3 or 4 inch cast iron sewers under the basement floor and extending 8-12 feet from the footer. Cast iron does not pinch like no-corrode pipe. It usually breaks in 2 ways: #1Complete deterioration starting with a breakdown of the top of the pipe (it develops holes and large cracks) #2 Complete clean break which causes the sewer to offset (usually happens under the footer of the home).
Most of the City or Town side of your sewer line is made of clay tile pipe which is 6 inches in diameter. There are some homes and buildings that have clay tile pipe under the lawn or front of the building. It is normal for roots to penetrate the joints of this type of pipe. Cracks and offsets in Clay Tile pipe on the private side of a sewer line are not common but do happen.
Homes built after 1976 usually have and ABS sewer line. Thick wall ABS is approved for underground use and is still what builders use today. There are a few areas of Regina that have ABS sewer (under their basement floor and footer) and No-Corrode sewer (under the lawn). We have seen this in certain developments built between 1972 and 1976.
Thick wall ABS is the preferred type of sewer.
NOTE: Some excavating companies who are not trained in sewer work have replaced no-corrode with white PVC and thin wall ABS. Neither of these are code-approved types of underground sewer.
Are there really certain types of toilet paper that can clog a toilet or even a sewer?
Yes. There are certain brands of toilet paper that do not dissolve very quickly in water. Because of this, they can dam a sewer or a toilet (especially low-flow toilets)
My sewer is broken. What are my options?
If your sewer is broken under the lawn, we recommend that you have the sewer replaced from the front cleanout inside your home, to the city connection. If only the no-corrode or clay tile is replaced under the lawn, it is still possible to have a break occur under the footing. This will cause you to have to dig up the sewer again.
Sewers can be re-piped with new sewer pipe, or a liner can be installed inside of the old sewer. We do not recommend lining.
Re-pipe under a basement floor involves jack hammering of the concrete floor, removal of old pipe, and installation of new pipe.
Re-pipe under a footer and lawn can be done in several ways: full excavation, plug pulling, pipe bursting, or directional boring.
Full excavation involves excavating and exposing the entire sewer from the home to the city pipe. This technique is quite invasive, but is occasionally the only option when a pipe has a very significant sag. Duke Sewer provides full excavation
Plug pulling involves a small excavation of the sewer where the private and municipal lines meet. The front cleanout is hammered up and removed. A plug is then pulled THROUGH the old sewer, creating a large tunnel between the exterior excavation and the front cleanout. A new sewer and water line are then pushed into the basement from the exterior excavation. We have several videos showing how this is done,and they can be viewed here (link). The excavation is then backfilled with sand and a topsoil cap. This is the preferred way to replace sewers because there is minimal digging in the yard, and the sewer is renewed to ABS or PVC. Duke Sewer provides plug pulling
Pipe bursting is very similar to plug pulling. The only difference is that when the plug is being pulled through the sewer, a device is connected to the plug that pulls an HDPE pipe and PEX water line behind it. Here is a link to a video showing this technique. Pipe bursting is done instead of plug pulling when there are exterior elbows in the sewer, or when a basement wall has been waterproofed. Duke Sewer provides pipe bursting.
Directional boring is rarely needed, but can be employed when a sewer has completely failed and there is no way to use a cable to plug pull or pipe burst the old line. Duke Sewer does not currently provide this service, but we can provide the names of companies that do should you have a need.
What does sewer replacement cost?
The answer is “depends”. Duke Sewer provides free quotes for sewer replacement. We will come to your home to look at the site and then provide you with a written quote.
Why a quote? Don’t most contractors provide estimates?
Duke Sewer has done so many sewer replacements that we are confident in giving quotes. A quote is a solid price. We don’t charge more than our quote*. Estimates allow for extra billing. With a quote, you know exactly how much it will cost, and we stick to that price.
*There are circumstances where additional problems are discovered after beginning work. These are problems that could not have been foreseen. EX: Leaky water line, sewer covered in concrete, or footing was poured over the sewer. In these circumstances, additional costs may be incurred by the home owner.