Protection against sewer line breakage/backup

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Cruiser
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2016 11:28 am

Protection against sewer line breakage/backup

Post by Cruiser » Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:29 am

A friend of mine had the sewer line between her house and street break and it caused about $10k in repairs. The break was due to normal wear and tear on the clay pipe.

I live in a 100+ year old house, with the city's infrastructure most likely the same age or older. I spoke with my insurance company (State Farm) and they only offer a rider on my home insurance policy for sewage backup into my basement (super cheap; $15/year). For anything that happens between the home's foundation and the city's main sewer line, however, they do not cover (in other words, I would be on the hook for).

I am doing some landscaping this year and just recently dug up two medium-sized blue spruces in my front yard, most likely right over the sewer line. Thankfully, the roots go horizontal and not vertical, but it got me to thinking about what else could be growing underground, in and around my sewer line.

As I am now staying in my home for the foreseeable future, I am curious if any others have run into this situation, and if there is any way you can protect yourself financially (I understand the likelihood of this actually happening is very low)?

coffeehubcap
Posts: 189
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:56 pm

Re: Protection against sewer line breakage/backup

Post by coffeehubcap » Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:42 am

Check with your water co. They offer insurance for $200/yr but check the fine print.

In MO our sewer company had a ballot issue which won a few weeks ago. Everybody pools in about $30 a year and the sewer company will take care the damage.

GreenGrowTheDollars
Posts: 339
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:09 pm

Re: Protection against sewer line breakage/backup

Post by GreenGrowTheDollars » Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:43 am

Funny you should ask....

We jut got a solicitation from a company that provides sewer line insurance. Wondering about the value of it. Our sewer line is close to 30 year old. (Development built at that time.)

And...get the sewer backup endorsement on your homeowner's insurance. IMO, it is a must have if you have any finished space where the sewer comes into your home.

adamthesmythe
Posts: 2082
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:47 pm

Re: Protection against sewer line breakage/backup

Post by adamthesmythe » Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:55 am

> Check with your water co. They offer insurance for $200/yr but check the fine print.

Emphasis on check the fine print. Most line-replacement insurance covers the replacement of the line but not much in the way of restoration. So if you need to remove sidewalks, driveways, plantings, etc. you are on your own for restoration.

I came to the conclusion that insurance was not going to cover the most expensive part of the repair.

By the way, before doing anything that is going to make it harder or more expensive to repair utility lines it is a good idea to think about the potential for future repairs.

Also- there are some options for non-trench repair of some utility lines. Not universally applicable but in some cases it might save money overall.

furnace
Posts: 284
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 3:38 pm

Re: Protection against sewer line breakage/backup

Post by furnace » Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:56 am

Cruiser wrote:A friend of mine had the sewer line between her house and street break and it caused about $10k in repairs. The break was due to normal wear and tear on the clay pipe.

I live in a 100+ year old house, with the city's infrastructure most likely the same age or older. I spoke with my insurance company (State Farm) and they only offer a rider on my home insurance policy for sewage backup into my basement (super cheap; $15/year). For anything that happens between the home's foundation and the city's main sewer line, however, they do not cover (in other words, I would be on the hook for).

I am doing some landscaping this year and just recently dug up two medium-sized blue spruces in my front yard, most likely right over the sewer line. Thankfully, the roots go horizontal and not vertical, but it got me to thinking about what else could be growing underground, in and around my sewer line.

As I am now staying in my home for the foreseeable future, I am curious if any others have run into this situation, and if there is any way you can protect yourself financially (I understand the likelihood of this actually happening is very low)?

How clean is the water flowing through a 100-year old pipe that disintegrates? If the city sewer is the same age or even older, replacing your own pipe from home to the street may not make much a difference in water quality. You may want to get your water tested and install a filter at the point where the water enters your home.

Also, I wonder if this is a job where you could rent a bobcat, a bobcat operator, buy the pipe, and replace it yourself with a moonlighting Craigslist plumber for a lot less than $10k 8-)

dsmil
Posts: 559
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 10:51 am

Re: Protection against sewer line breakage/backup

Post by dsmil » Wed Apr 27, 2016 9:01 am

We just had a sewer line replacement and it cost $2,500. I'm now left with a pile of dirt that is slowly settling into place. The original break was due to a large piece of cement that was underground for some reason (probably left by the old builder). The cement put pressure on the line and finally broke it, and then the tree roots were drawn towards it. We may take out the large tree in our front yard to prevent anything else from possibly happening.

davebo
Posts: 785
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 12:02 am

Re: Protection against sewer line breakage/backup

Post by davebo » Wed Apr 27, 2016 9:21 am

I'd opt for just saving a little extra in case you need the repair at some point instead of seeking out some insurance policy. If the sewer line has been ok for 100 years, it probably will be ok for another 5 until you have time to save some money. For all you know, the people that lived there before you repaired the sewer line already.

Your best insurance policy would probably be just rodding out the tree roots every year to stay ahead of a problem.

Da5id
Posts: 2035
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:20 am

Re: Protection against sewer line breakage/backup

Post by Da5id » Wed Apr 27, 2016 9:37 am

You really don't want a sewage backup into your basement. Have had it happen, not pretty. After the second time, we replaced the old clay/asbestos pipe to street with PVC. It was expensive (pipe ran under entire length of driveway alas), but not as bad as constantly wondering if the sewage was going to back up. Once roots start getting in, seems like a losing battle to have them reamed out every year or so.

That said, if it hasn't happened even once to you, not sure I'd pay to fix it proactively. If you can afford the costs if it does occur, why insure for it (though $15 is trivial enough to seem like a no-brainer, have to wonder what it covers and what your deductible would be)? You can also pay someone to look at the state of the pipe with a camera and make recommendations, preferably not the person would do the work as there is a bit of a conflict of interest involved. But getting things off the floor in a basement is not a bad idea under any circumstances. And if your basement is finished and it is going to back up into a finished area, ugh.

evarrr
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2015 7:05 am

Re: Protection against sewer line breakage/backup

Post by evarrr » Thu Apr 28, 2016 12:29 pm

Install a backflow prevention device if you don't have one. A plumber can do it for you. A broken pipe would still need to be fixed, but at least you can minimize sewage backflow into your house.

may pop
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:18 pm

Re: Protection against sewer line breakage/backup

Post by may pop » Thu Apr 28, 2016 1:05 pm

Another option is to have the existing pipe filmed.
A small camera is put into the drain and it is inspected. Couple hundred bucks.
Ron

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