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Sewer Repairs In Calgary

In Calgary, often homeowners do not know they need a sewer line repair until there is an emergency. Read on to understand when sewer repairs are needed, and what options are available.

How do you know if you have a sewer line problem?

The best way to find out if your sewer line is damaged is a camera inspection of the main sewer line or main drain.

What’s the main drain?

The main drain is the sewer line that connects the drains in the home to the city sewer lines. 

sewer backup

The main drain is often called the main sewer line, main drain, floor drain, or sewer.

Signs That You Need Sewer Line Repair or Replacement

Until there is an emergency, often homeowners don’t know they need a sewer line repair.
In Calgary, sewer lines in several feet below the ground. Consequently, indications that there are sewer problems are few but include:

Slow-draining toilets, sinks, tubs, showers, and appliances on the lowest level of the home
A sewer backup.

A sewer backup is when the wastewater in the sewer line returns back into the home. The wastewater will return to the home in the lowest level of the home. In Calgary, most likely sewage will back up into the basement drains, such as a shower, or basement floor drain. 

A sewer back is an indicator that there is a problem with your sewer line. It could indicate there is a belly in the pipeline or a clog caused by roots. Roots are an indicator that there is a crack, leak, or breach of some kind allowing roots to grow in the sewer line. Pipe misalignment or collapse could also lead to a sewer backup. A sewer backup could also indicate that there is something wrong with the slope of the sewer pipe.

How do I know if I need Sewer Repairs?

A sewer backup indicates something needs to be fixed in your main sewer line. Instead of waiting for an emergency backup of sewage into your basement to indicate a problem, schedule a camera inspection. A camera inspection of your main sewer line can reveal issues that are developing. There are various ways to repair or maintain your sewer line.

Sewer Maintenance Vs Sewer Repair

Some problems such as clogs can be removed with sewer line maintenance. For example, if roots are growing on the sewer line, maintenance could include having a:

  • Chemical treatment (to kill roots)
  • Auger to clear away clogs (including roots)
  • Hydro Jet to clear away clogs (including roots).

These options will keep your sewer line flowing freely, and until the roots grow back.

Sewer maintenance is considered a short-term solution, more like a band-aid fix.

Sewer repair, on the other hand, is a long-term fix that will mitigate the need for regular maintenance.

For example, if tree roots growing in the main sewer line are causing clogs, a repair is needed to ensure the pipe is sealed so roots can not grow back. Cracks or leaks can be fixed by replacing the sewer pipes, or a section of the sewer line. This would provide a long-term solution that addresses not only the symptom of the problem, root growth but also the problem, the crack or leak in the pipe.

clearing pipe comparison

Sewer repairs include:

  • Pipelining
  • Trenchless pipe replacement
  • Full pipe replacement
  • Partial pipe replacement.
Pipe Lining

Pipelining (Link To Pipe Lining) repairs the pipe by inserting a sleaving inside the sewer pipe with Epoxy. The epoxy is cured in place inside the pipe wall, forming a new pipe lining. The process requires no digging and is ideally done in warmer temperatures.

A pipe lining is a great solution if the sewer pipe is holding its shape and there isn’t an issue with the slope or has a pipe belly. Pipelining is ideal when the sewer pipe runs underneath structures that would have to be demolished if excavation was required, such as a deck fence or driveway. 

pipe liner
Trenchless Pipe Bursting

Trenchless Sewer line replacement can be done without major excavation. It requires a hydraulic machine to burst the existing pipe and while at the same time insert a new pipe, a high-density plastic pipe. A small excavation is required.

trenchless pipe bursting
Sewer Replacement

Some sewer problems require excavation and full sewer pipe replacement. Major pipe bellies, slope problems, and collapsed pipes require a pipe replacement. Pipe lining can not be done in the winter months in Calgary, so in an emergency, a sewer pipe replacement often is the only choice.

Pipe replacement is ideal when replacing older sewer pipes. Older pipes break down over time. Joint seals leak, and depending on the type of sewer pipe, they can crack, rust, or crumble. A new sewer pipeline is designed to last another 50 to 100 years. 

Sewer Partial Pipe Replacement

A partial sewer pipe replacement is ideal when there are only a couple of problematic areas in the pipe. For example, if there is a crack or break in the pipe, but the rest of the pipeline is in good condition, a transmitter at the end of the camera can locate where the probelm is.

A particle pipe replacement will require excavation where the new pipe needs to be installed.

Why do I need Sewer Repairs?

Several issues require replacement or repairs on sewer lines. When a pipe cracks, leaks, misaligns, bellies, or collapses repairs or replacement is necessary.

Sewer repairs are more often needed in homes that are more than 50 years old. Before 1970, cement, clay, cast iron, and Orangeburg (bituminous fiber) pipes were commonly used. After 1970 most often plastic PVC or ABS pipes were common. PVC and ABS pipes, when properly installed, have a longer life span. They are less prone to clogs because of the smooth interior. Although less common, PVC and ABS pipes may still have issues. Schedule a sewer line camera inspection to ensure your sewer pipes are healthy and flowing.

How do I know if my sewer line is broken?

Often you don’t know there is a problem with your sewer lines until it becomes an emergency. It is important to do an annual inspection, especially on an older home, every year. Sewer issues can occur on new homes too, so be sure to have a sewer inspection to ensure everything is functional and there are no problems.

If problems are developing it is better to catch them earlier, because more options for repair may be available. It also allows you time to budget for the expense.

How do I know if my sewer line is leaking?

A common indication that sewer pipes are leaking is root growth. Even a leak the size of a hair can allow roots to establish inside the sewer line. Roots are in search of water and fertilizers and the wastewater inside your sewer line provides both.

In Calgary, because sewer pipes are deep in the earth, it is hard to detect a leak unless your sewer is backing up, or you have a camera inspection. Don’t wait for an emergency backup! Schedule a camera inspection to learn about the health of your sewer line.When is the best time to do sewer pipe repairs? In Calgary, It is easier to excavate in the summer when the ground isn’t frozen, but excavation can be done year-round. If you have a sewer line emergency, pipe replacement can be done at any time of year. A pipelining on the other hand can not be done in the winter. Ideally, if you know you need to have a major repair done, it is typically better to do it in the warmer months.

Who is responsible for sewers in my area?

You are responsible for the sewer line on your property. Even if the city or a neighbor has a tree that is sending roots into your sewer line, you are responsible for the sewer line within your property.

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