Tips for a Successful Sewer Line Installation, Replacement, or Repair

Margaret Wack
Written by Margaret Wack
Updated September 28, 2021
Row of houses in arts and crafts style
bauhaus1000 / iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Keep these tips in mind to make sure your sewer line installation goes smoothly

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

You may not think about sewer lines too often, but they play a vital role in your home. By transporting wastewater to a local sanitation facility for treatment, this large system of pipes keeps your home’s plumbing humming along. Not only is this system essential, but it can also be costly to repair and replace. Here are five surefire strategies for ensuring your sewer line repair or replacement maximizes your time and money.

1. Shop Around for Quotes

You should speak with several contractors to make sure you get the best possible deal for this project. The cost to repair or replace a sewer line can vary greatly depending on your home, contractors' schedules, and any unique considerations your home may have, such as previously being on septic.

Typically, a sewer line is connected when a home is new. The initial installation is usually less expensive than for an existing home because landscaping, driveways, and walkways are not in the way and building materials and heavy machinery are already on site. New sewer installations cost up to $3,000 on a home already hooked up to the sewer. 

However, connecting older homes to a sewer line after a septic system can cost more due to logistical challenges. Plus, pipes can deteriorate over the years due to frost, groundwater, soil changes, roots, and hard water.

2. Wait for Warm Weather

You can’t always control your home repairs and their timelines, especially for items concerning wastewater. However, if you can hold off on a minor repair until the weather warms up and there's no snow on the ground, it’s usually worth the wait. It typically costs $3,221 on average to install or connect a sewer line, but prices may be cheaper, since a contractor won’t have to thaw the ground in order to access your sewer line.

If you require an emergency sewer repair in less-than-ideal weather, some contractors run discounts to help them pick up business in the colder, slower months. It never hurts to ask if they can offer a price break when looking at an expensive sewer installation bill.

3. Review Your Landscaping

Tree roots can be especially dangerous to pipes containing wastewater. If root infiltration was to blame for your sewer replacement or repair, have a landscaper look at your yard before the sewer installation project ends. They can evaluate which trees and plants may pose a problem to your sewer system, and recommend that they be removed.

You should not plant certain plants and trees, including figs, mulberries, elms, willows, ashes, sycamores, and some oaks, within 10 feet of pipes. Keep any plantings a minimum of 5 feet away.

4. Make Sure You’re In Compliance with Local Regulations

Local codes for sewer repair and replacement vary. Because violating codes can result in fines and penalties, make sure you comply with all of the relevant regulations. Working with an experienced and knowledgeable plumber near you can help to ensure that your new sewer line doesn’t run afoul of any rules.

You’ll also need to secure the relevant permits and paperwork for the project. Check with the municipality that regulates sewer improvements about any paperwork or fees required to perform work and reconnect to the system. Many municipalities have a list of certified sewer installers and inspectors. Check with your local city or county office to make sure you and your chosen contractor follow the rules and pay all fees.

5. Don’t Put Off Necessary Repairs

Repairing or replacing a sewer line can be costly, but that doesn’t mean you should put it off indefinitely. Sewer problems tend to worsen over time, and minor issues can become big if left untended. If caught in time, you may only need to snake a sewer line rather than replace it outright. Snaking a main sewer line costs around $300.

If you’re experiencing an issue with your sewer line, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a sewer repair professional near you. Not only can they help to diagnose the issue, but they can also treat the problem before it gets worse.

FAQS about Sewer Lines

Can a missing cap clog my sewer line?

It’s possible, although unlikely, for a sewer cap to clog a sewer line. If you have a clogged sewer line due to a missing sewer cap, a plumber may have to access the line to remove the cap.

How much does sewer line replacement cost?

Sewer line replacement costs between $50 and $250 per linear foot. Factors that influence the price include the type of pipe, terrain, and where you live.

How do you maintain your sewer line?

To keep your sanitary sewer line clear and avoid sewer line backups, never put anything down the drain that isn’t supposed to be there. You should never put grease, coffee grounds, eggshells, feminine hygiene products, or other household items down the drain. It’s also a good idea to check the ground above your sewer line. Make sure there aren’t trees or other plants growing too close.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.