When your Los Angeles home has a broken sewer line, do you know how much it will cost to repair it?
If your homeowners insurance will not cover exterior plumbing repairs, you may have to pay the expense out of pocket.
Therefore you want to be 100% comfortable the repair is done by a state licensed and BBB accredited plumbing company that is affordable and guarantees their work.
Since 2008 we have repaired hundreds of broken sewer lines with 0 complaints. We stand behind our guarantee that all our plumbing repairs will comply with local city codes and permits (if required), and will meet our pledge to deliver 100% customer satisfaction. We are proud of our A rating with the BBB and want to maintain our excellent record of repairing broken sewer lines.
Cost to repair a broken sewer line
In general we tell Los Angeles homeowners to repair a broken sewer line on their property will cost from $900 to $2,000 provided the exterior plumbing repair does not require alternative sewer pipe replacement methods like pipe lining and pipe bursting.
There is no fixed price (“one size fits all”) to repair a broken sewer line because every situation is different. We have to factor the labor time and additional materials or tools that may be required. For example, if the broken sewer line is located directly underneath a concrete surface (i.e. a walking path or driveway) or vegetation obstructions (i.e. tree and shrubs) we will estimate the cost to be more expensive because of the extra time required to dig, patch or replant the obstructions back to their original condition.
Every customer wants to be told their broken sewer line is located under a smooth grassy surface area with few rocks or roots. This scenario is less expensive because our techs need to use only a common shovel to dig the hole to access the broken sewer line, and backfill the dirt after the work is completed.
After you contact us and schedule a free estimate, we will want to perform a video camera inspection to determine the exact location and condition of the broken sewer line on your property.
Sometimes customers will tell us they had a camera inspection done by a different plumbing company. They ask us to determine our estimate based on their report findings (i.e. camera screen shots or video footage). We are extremely cautious to accept this situation because we have to base our estimate from another person’s inspection research. If that person failed to detect something, we would have no idea until we are hired to begin the work.
Causes of a broken sewer line
The primary causes of a broken sewer line are tree roots. For example, if the sewer pipe joints are not tight, roots in the surrounding soil will creep inside and continue to grow because they have a steady water source. Consequently the roots grow larger and expand inside the pipe. The additional pressure from the roots (pushing on the pipe’s inner surface and joints) weakens the pipe’s integrity. The joints can fail and cause the pipes to not align correctly.
Earthquakes can also cause a sewer line to break. Every Los Angeles homeowner dreads an earthquake on a large magnitude, but they pay little attention to the fact that every day earthquakes are occurring. They are so minor to not feel them. However, over time these tremors could slowly be shifting their sewer lines underground, especially since soil is amplified by an earthquake’s shaking. After years the sewer lines can suddenly separate or break. This scenario can be exacerbated if surrounding tree roots are also moving by earthquakes’ jerky or rolling movements.
Steps how to fix a broken sewer line
When we provide a broken sewer line estimate, homeowners ask how we can fix it without digging up their entire yard and making a mess.
Assuming the sewer line break is isolated to a single location (i.e. pipe joint) and there are no additional damage signs along the line leading from the cleanout access (or continuing to the city main line) we explain the steps how to fix a broken sewer line.
We usually finish a standard sewer line repair in a single day. However it can take longer depending on factors out of our control (i.e. a Los Angeles City inspector’s availability to approve our work before allowing us to backfill the hole).
1. Inspect sewer line to damaged location
We begin with an initial video camera inspection. We insert the sewer camera’s cable into the cleanout access and slowly push it through the line. We want to identify the pinpoint the exact location and extent of line damage (i.e. breaks, holes, collapses, and offsets) due to tree roots or clogs. Our cameras can record the inspection in striking detail and color. Recording results can be important for customers who want to keep records of home maintenance repairs.
2. Dig hole to access broken sewer line
Once the broken sewer line is located, we measure its location from the cleanout access to know where to begin digging. In this example, the location of the broken sewer line is 40′ from the cleanout access and buried underneath an unobstructed grassy section. Our tech digs a small hole 4′ in circumference and 5′ to 6′ in depth until he reaches the broken line. He is careful not to touch any other lines or cables that may be a couple of feet underground, such as sprinkler lines.
3. Remove broken sewer pipe section
Eventually the broken line is revealed. At this time we tell the customer don’t flush water while we are working. In this example, the customer’s 4″ wide cast iron pipe is separated from a 6″ wide clay main line. In order to remove the broken section, our tech uses snap cutters on the clay main line and a grinder saw on the cast iron pipe. After he removes the broken pipes from the hole it becomes clear that extensive tree root infiltration has contributed to the pipe separation.
4. Inspect sewer line to City main line
Before we begin replacing the broken pipe section, we need to inspect the customer’s line that continues to the beginning of the City of Los Angeles’ main line. In this example, this distance is an additional 30′ from the broken section. If the camera inspection reveals no additional line damage or obstructions, we then proceed to the next step.
5. Replace broken sewer pipe section
Once the damaged pieces have been removed, they need to be replaced with new parts. In this example we begin by cutting a 27″ long certified ABS pipe. One end is attached to the 4″ wide cast iron pipe with certified couplings and ABS glue. The other end is attached to the 6″ wide main line with a certified matching pipe elbow and ABS glue. All connections are secured tight. At this time we tell the customer it’s okay to flush water again.
6. Inspect entire sewer line
After the new parts have been connected, we perform a final camera inspection. In this example, the customer’s entire sewer line is 70′ in length. The first 40′ is from the cleanout access to the location of the original break. The last 30′ is to the beginning of the City of Los Angeles’ main line. The line should be clear all the way through and show no signs of damage.
7. City inspection approval
If the customer required we obtain a permit on their behalf from the City of Los Angeles to perform the sewer line repair, then a City of Los Angeles inspector is required to approve everything has been completed up to code before we can backfill the hole. There is an extra fee to get a City of Los Angeles permit. It is worth paying for it. A permit can protect the customer from any unforeseen lawsuit made against him by the city or neighbors.
8. Refill Hole and Cleanup
After the city inspection gives the okay that everything is up to code, the last step is to refill the hole with all the original soil we preserved on a tarp. We guarantee our cleanup meets our customer’s satisfaction before we leave the job site.