Sewer Line Replacement Under Garage

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PS241
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Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:49 pm

Sewer Line Replacement Under Garage

Post by PS241 »

We've had some sewer problems and the plumber is recommending we replace the main sewer line. Our home was built in 1963 and the main sewer line from the house is made of Orangeburg pipe. The plumber described this as basically a paper and tar pipe that slowly collapses over time. We had him run a camera down the pipe and there are portions of the pipe that are quite oval shaped. The biggest issue is a 3 foot section of pipe that was hit by a utility at one time and was replaced with PVC. This portion has some rocks in it and does not fully drain away, and he figures this is the main thing causing our problem. The plumber also mentioned every time he unclogs the pipe it damages the pipe more and more.

Now this is where things get questionable for us. Our 2 stall garage was added to the house later and installed over the sewer pipe. I got a quote from a local excavating company and they gave me a verbal estimate of $2000 for the outside pipe and $1500-2k for the pipe under the garage. They thought we could probably replace the outside pipe and be fine and likely leave the pipe under the garage as is.

Are we being cheap if we only replace the outside portion of the pipe? I really do not want to have to do deal with this again. You don't realize how vital your sewer system is until you have a problem with it.

We have been saving up for this pipe replacement and the birth of our second child. We have about $25k in the bank and expect the bills from baby to be about $5k. Normal emergency fund is $15k.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
thewizzer
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Re: Sewer Line Replacement Under Garage

Post by thewizzer »

I'd do the whole thing. You have the money saved. And like you said, you don't know how vital it is until it's not working properly. I'd think longer about it if it was going to be a hardship, but it sounds as though you have the money.
Khanmots
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Re: Sewer Line Replacement Under Garage

Post by Khanmots »

Where in the line is the misshappen and partially obstructed parts at? If that's all out in the yard, and the section under the garage you're primarily worried about stabilizing against future degradation you might look into simply doing an epoxy lining for that section. I'm not an expert or anything, but I suspect it should stop damage from snakes and the like and be significantly less expensive than replacing. Might be worth at least asking about.
johnubc
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Re: Sewer Line Replacement Under Garage

Post by johnubc »

Look into the cost of a Pipe Liner - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhE8UhWOnM0 - you can 'repair'/'replace' the damaged pipe without digging it up.
MathWizard
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Re: Sewer Line Replacement Under Garage

Post by MathWizard »

I'd replace it all, making sure that put something quality in. Will the be pulling through the existing hole, or will they
jackhammer the concrete slab in the garage?

Also make sure that the weight of the garage is not causing the problem, and will do the same thing to the next pipe.

I'd also check whether it is possible to have them install a sewage backflow preventer ahead of your cleanout. (After
would cause problems with cleanout.) Nothing says drop in house value than sewage backup, and many homeowner's
policies do not cover this.
Boglegrappler
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Re: Sewer Line Replacement Under Garage

Post by Boglegrappler »

What's the nature of your sewer problems? If you're going to spend thousands to replace pipe, it would be useful to be very certain that the pipe was the source of the problems. From your description of the pipe, it isn't clear to me that it would be causing any problem.

Re reading it sounds as though you're implying that your sewer line is not draining the waste. BTW, I'm no plumbing expert, but I am surprised that orangeburg pipe would have been used for a sewer line. I've only seen it used in footing drain applications. Most sewer lines of that vintage would be cast iron pipe.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Sewer Line Replacement Under Garage

Post by ResearchMed »

How did rocks get into the sewer line?

This suggests something a bit strange wrong with the line.
Is there an actual breach somewhere?
(Or might this have occurred during the previous repair?)

One other thing, in case there's a breach: Are there any trees whose roots might be affecting the sewer line?

We had a very old tree that was apparently too close to the ancient sewer line (house almost 100 years old now), and no amount of root killer was being effective.

So with some regret, we took out the tree, which wasn't particularly healthy or attractive - but it was still a living thing...
We replaced it with a lovely cherry tree, and we spent a bit extra to get something larger than a sapling.
And we planted it further from the sewer line.

It is now a gorgeous, large tree, and the sewer has never caused trouble again :happy

And YES, GET A BACKFLOW PREVENTER, just in case of future problems.
And make sure that the hinge/mechanism isn't "too strong" to allow free flowing in the correct direction.

RM
Topic Author
PS241
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Re: Sewer Line Replacement Under Garage

Post by PS241 »

Update: Thanks for all the replies! Sounds like we will replace the outside portion and they will inspect the portion under the garage to see if it should be replaced or lined.
I'd replace it all, making sure that put something quality in. Will the be pulling through the existing hole, or will they
jackhammer the concrete slab in the garage?
It would be removing a portion of the floor in our utility room in house which is bare cement. Pipe is approximately 8 feet under concrete slab of garage.
What's the nature of your sewer problems? If you're going to spend thousands to replace pipe, it would be useful to be very certain that the pipe was the source of the problems. From your description of the pipe, it isn't clear to me that it would be causing any problem.

Re reading it sounds as though you're implying that your sewer line is not draining the waste. BTW, I'm no plumbing expert, but I am surprised that orangeburg pipe would have been used for a sewer line. I've only seen it used in footing drain applications. Most sewer lines of that vintage would be cast iron pipe.
It is Cast Iron in the house and orangeburg from the house to the city sewer. I believe most of the problem is the one area that has been fixed/replaced. Plumber said this was very poorly done. I am also convincing myself this area was freezing up with this very cold winter. Many of the towns in our area were suggesting constantly running water this winter to make sure your incoming water lines did not freeze.
How did rocks get into the sewer line?
From a repair job probably by a utility. There is gas line, fiber, and cable all within 5 feet of each other. One of them must have hit it at one point. They replaced approximately 3 foot section of the orangeburg with PVC. The area immediately preceding the PVC does not completely drain away.
One other thing, in case there's a breach: Are there any trees whose roots might be affecting the sewer line?


There is a tree approximately 25 feet away. It is a mature tree but not very large. Did not see any roots in the sewer camera.
I'd also check whether it is possible to have them install a sewage backflow preventer ahead of your cleanout.
I will ask about this.
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Ged
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Re: Sewer Line Replacement Under Garage

Post by Ged »

8' down ? Freezing?

Do you live in northern Canada?
Topic Author
PS241
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Re: Sewer Line Replacement Under Garage

Post by PS241 »

8' down ? Freezing?

Do you live in northern Canada?
The ground slopes away from my house. My guess is the problem area is 4-5' underground. I know as of a few week ago they were still finding frost at that depth.
stan1
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Re: Sewer Line Replacement Under Garage

Post by stan1 »

Some good insight above already. I would suggest talking to at least 4 knowledgeable experts about the issue (plumbers and maybe an engineer familiar with local houses) as the problem could be hard to diagnose. Ask them for phases: what they would do first, and what they would do next if that doesn't remedy the problem. I'd be willing to pay for some additional insight before you head off on a large project. If total cost is in the $2K-4K range you are getting off very easy. I've had friends who have had to put $50K plus into sewer issues (including a lot of repair work once the problem was fixed). In one case a friend had to replace over 100 feet of sewer line that ran down into a steep canyon in his back yard.
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Abe
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Re: Sewer Line Replacement Under Garage

Post by Abe »

I had the same problem one time. I had just built a new carport and concrete driveway when I found out I needed to replace my sewer line which ran under my new driveway. I replaced the line from my house to the driveway and put in a clean out right next to the driveway. The main sewer line was just on the other side of the driveway. I never had a problem after that. If you have too, you can always go back and replace the line under the drive way.
Slow and steady wins the race.
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