Sewer lines are the long pipes that are used to carry sewage away from your home. The problems with sewer lines are difficult to detect due to their enormous size. It is not until you see stinky wet patches in your yard, that you detect something wrong with them. At times, you may get away with a small repair work that comes for a few hundred dollars. However, if your sewer line is old or the problem is of a large magnitude, you are left with no choice but replacing the entire sewer line. The cost of replacing a sewer line is determined by several factors, such as type of sewer line, mode of replacement, and the other complications involved.

Sewer Line Replacement Cost

You should expect to shell anywhere between $2,000 to $10,000 towards replacement cost. The cost is likely to be affected by several factors, which are as follows:
  • Trees:
    If you are required to cut down some trees and grind up some stumps in order to access the sewer lines, you should expect a steep rise in total cost. You will most likely hire labor to do this job, which can further increase the cost.
  • Utility Lines:
    If you have any utility lines lying closely to your sewer line, the replacement work can cost you a fortune. You should particularly look out for gas lines, which might end right at the top of your sewer line. In that case your replacement cost can shoot up by at least $5000.
The cost of replacing sewer line is also dependent upon the mode of replacement.

Traditional dig-and-replace method:
It may cost you about $50 - $60 a foot, which comes to around $5,000 - $6,000 for a 100-foot sewer pipe. However, if the line is difficult to access or deeply set, then the cost can go as high as $7,000 - $15,000 or more.

Pipe bursting:
It is a mechanical process in which a machine bursts the existing line and pushes the new line in its place. Average cost for replacing sewer line by this method is about $40 - $80 a foot or $4,000 - $8,000 for a new 100-foot pipe.

It is a comparatively cheaper method which includes securing a new sewer line inside the existing one. It costs about $18 - $65 a foot or $1,800 - $6,500 to install a new liner inside a 100-foot sewer. Although, this technique reduces the diameter of sewer line, it is still efficient and reliable.

One must also consider the additional expenses involved in transporting and hiring machinery. Besides, the inspection of sewer line with the help of special camera for identifying the problem areas, consumes $250 or more.

When to Replace a Sewer Line

Although sewer lines are sturdily built and designed to last long, they are certainly not meant to last forever. The older the line, the more problems you are likely to have with it. Sewer lines were earlier made from clay tile or steel. These lines were expected to last for 50 to 60 years. Thus, if you have an old home, that was built before 1980, then you are very likely to come across a sewer line that is made of clay. The newer sewer lines are manufactured in PVC and can be expected to last for 100 years.

Trees are primarily responsible for most of the sewer line problems. The moisture inside the pipes attracts the tree roots and forces the roots to wedge their way inside the pipe. Eventually, the pipe becomes clogged up by tree roots. Also, the muck, grime and filth that gets washed in the sewer pipes everyday, tends to get accumulated inside it. The older sewer pipes simply collapse, break or rot away. You might try to run a snake through your sewer pipes to remove the debris stuck in the line. However, one must understand that running the snake inside the sewer line does more damage to the line. As you must have realized, replacing the sewer line is the only solution in such a situation.

All in all, sewer line replacement is not a job you can go for unless you have at least $10,000 at your disposal. If you routinely maintain your sewer lines you may enhance their life, thus avoiding the need for replacement.