Does Sewer Line Repair or Sewer Line Installation Cost More?

Sewer lines serve the critical role of removing wastewater from your home. When there is a problem with the line, your entire plumbing system goes down. When a problem arises, your local city department is not responsible for the repairs.

Homeowners are responsible for maintaining and repairing the lateral lines that take wastewater from the house to the main sewer line. If your sewer line starts having problems, you could have the option to either choose to repair or replace the line. Depending on the deficiencies found in the existing sewer line, installing a new line might be better than trying to repair the old one.

Sewer Lines Have a Lifespan

The sewer lines from most homes typically need replacing after about 50 years or so. If you own an older home, and the lines have never been replaced, chances are you will soon need to address that issue.

In fact, many municipalities are starting to require that a home’s sewer line be inspected with the sale of each home. Repairs or replacements must be done on old, root intruded, leaking sewer lines to facilitate the sale of the property. Check with your local real estate agent to see if this is required in your area.

Having an old sewer line can be a pain, and you may need to consider a repair or replacement of your sewer line at some point in your lifetime. Let’s compare the costs.

Typical Cost of Sewer Line Repairs

For the purpose of this article, the estimated costs are based on the following assumptions:

  • 40-foot-long sewer line with an average depth of 5 feet at the property line
  • No major landscaping and or hardscaping is required to access the underground piping
  • Using the trenchless pipe bursting method to eliminate most of the trenching
  • A depth of 3 to 5 feet and replacing up to 3 feet of piping with newly rated ABS sewer pipe

Sewer line repair will require job site prep and permitting. This will include marking 811 utilities, pulling permits, setting up the dig site, and getting equipment to the job. Cost: $800-$1,000.

Next is the excavation of the old pipe. This process will demand tools and equipment rental as well as dirt removal. Cost: $1,500-$2,000.

After prepping the site and excavation, it is time for pipe repair. Cost of materials and labor: $700- $900. (Add another $500 if the job required a cleanout – parts, labor, and new Christy box.)

Labor, equipment rental, and crushed rock will be needed for put back/compaction. Cost: $500-$700.

At the end of the job, the site must be cleaned up. There will be sweeping, pressure washing, and equipment/tool removal. Cost: $100-$200.

Based on these estimates, the average sewer line repair cost in the Morgan Hill and San Jose area is between $3,100 and $5,200. These costs do not represent a quote but are a good guideline for homeowners to use as a reference.

Many factors can add or subtract from the cost:

  • Depth of line
  • Length of line
  • Permitting costs
  • Pipe access
  • Put-back requirements
  • Materials used
  • If clean is required
  • Location of repair
  • Whether the job must be dug by hand or if equipment can be used

Now that we’ve established a general idea of the cost of repairs, let’s see how that cost compares to a full replacement.

Average Cost of Sewer Line Replacement

The same assumptions listed earlier in this article are being used here in the estimate for sewer line replacement.

Like repair, sewer line replacement will require the same preliminary steps. Job site preparation includes marking 811 utilities, pulling permits, setting up the dig site, and getting equipment to the job. Cost: $800-$1,000.

So far, there is no difference in price between repair and replacement. Let’s dig further (no pun intended).

Costs are going to start changing. With replacement, the entire pipe (not just 3 feet like in our repair example) must be removed. Tool and equipment rentals and dirt removal will be needed. Cost: $2,800- $3,500.

The pipe replacement will include two clean-outs (property and foundation line) and require labor, materials, and equipment. Cost: $3,500 - $4,000.

Put back/compaction will also have associated costs for labor, equipment rental, and crushed rock. Cost: $1,200-$1,600.

The job site clean-up will be like the repair process. Cost: $100-$200.

When all the costs are added, the average sewer line repair cost in the Morgan Hill and San Jose area is between $8,400 and $10,200. These costs do not represent a quote but are a good guideline for homeowners to use as a reference.

As noted in the repair estimate, other factors can add or subtract from the cost of replacement, too.

When to Pick Replacement Over Repair

There is no denying that replacing your sewer line costs more the repairing it, based on this example. If you have two or more deficiencies in your line, multiple repairs will make a bigger dent in your wallet than replacement.

The older the line, the higher the likelihood that another problem is just around the corner. In these situations, proactively replacing the line might make sense.

You can trust the experts at Bailey Plumbing Inc. for all your sewer repair and replacement needs. We are available 24/7 to handle plumbing emergencies and offer same-day, after-hours, and weekend appointments. Contact us at (408) 752-5195.

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