Your plumbing system has finally experienced a catastrophic failure. Your yard reeks of sewer odor, your drains are clogging, and your basement is constantly damp. These are sure signs your sewer line has started to leak due to a cracked or burst pipe. Unfortunately, you won't be able to repair your sewer line by yourself. However, you can reduce the cost of hiring a plumber to repair your line by performing these tasks:
Locate Your Sewer Line Damage
The first thing your plumber will need to do while repairing your sewer line is to locate and inspect the pipeline. Typically, this job is done with a sewer camera—a small camera that's fed through your plumbing system's main stack. You can purchase a sewer camera at your local home improvement or hardware store and use it to perform this job by yourself.
Use a ladder to step onto your roof and locate your stack vent. Typically, plumbing vents are covered with a metal hood to prevent rain and other debris from entering the plumbing system. Use a screwdriver or ratchet to remove the vent and begin lowering your camera into the vent.
In addition to providing a video feed, your camera will also display the distance it has traveled through your pipes. Use the distance provided by your camera feed to map out the location of your main stack and sewer line. Take note of the distance at which your main stack curves into your sewer line. Continue routing your camera through your sewer line and write down the distance from the entrance of your sewer line to the damaged sections of piping. With this information, you can mark the exact location of your damaged sewer pipe in preparation for an accurate excavation.
Contact Your Local Utility Companies
In addition to your sewer line, your yard may also contain gas, electric, power, telephone, and water supply lines. If you blindly excavate your yard with only the knowledge of your damaged section of piping, you're likely to encounter and damage these additional components.
To avoid this, contact your local utility companies and have them mark the location of their infrastructure. Unless you must excavate a section of city property to access your sewer line, this service is typically provided free of charge. Once these utilities are marked, you can safely excavate your yard without fear of accidental damage to vital components of your neighborhood.
Remove Any Obstacles
If concrete slabs, floral features, or pieces of outdoor furniture are blocking access to your sewer line, then they'll need to be removed from the area prior to excavation. However, removing some of these objects (such as a concrete slab or sidewalk) will be fairly difficult.
If you have prior experience with a jackhammer, you may be able to break apart the concrete yourself. Although, if you're not experienced at breaking concrete, then it will be more safe and cost-efficient to leave this task to your plumber—a single jackhammer accident will leave you with a hefty hospital bill.
Excavate Your Line
The most effective way to reduce your plumber's sewer repair invoice is to excavate your sewer line. However, you will only be able to excavate your line after performing all the above tasks.
With the depth measurement from your sewer line inspection, you can determine whether or not you'll need to use a trenching shovel or a backhoe to access your line. The depth of your line will depend entirely upon your local climate's frost line—the depth at which surface temperatures no longer significantly affect underground terrain.
With all the previous steps already undertaken, excavating your sewer line is as simple as breaking ground until you're near the depth of your line Once you're close to your line, dig carefully until your line is revealed. If you continue digging aggressively once you're close to reaching your line, your digging tools may cause further damage depending on the type of pipes used for your line.
Once your line is excavated, your plumber simply needs to visually inspect the line and determine whether to replace or repair the damaged piping. Typically, repairing a cracked pipe with a clamp will cost less than replacing the pipe due to the lessened amount of physical labor.
Even if you aren't able to perform all of these steps, simply locating the damaged section of your sewer line and contacting your local utility companies will significantly reduce the cost of your plumber's services.
Check out sites like http://www.drainorooter.com for more info.