Repairing & Replacing Clay Sewer Pipe

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Life Expectancy of a Sewer Pipe

The average lifespan of a sewer pipe depends on the material it’s made of. In Cleveland, OH, sewer pipes are overwhelmingly made of two materials: clay and PVC.

Old homes, or homes built prior to 1980, will most likely have clay sewer pipes. Clay sewer pipe life expectancy is approximately 50 years.

PVC pipe, which became more prominent after 1980, typically lasts longer – approximately 100 years.

clay sewer pipe with root infiltration

Regardless of the type, all pipes wear over time, and while they are estimated to last a certain amount of time, that does not mean they necessarily will. For example, clay pipes are awfully susceptible to root invasion. The tiniest root can enter the joint of a clay pipe and as it grows, eventually break the clay.

Similarly, if the earth around the clay pipes shifts substantially, the sewer line can break. Clay pipelines consist of small sections of pipe formed in the shape of a bell at one end. The smaller end of a section fits into the bell end of another to form the line. Mortar is packed around the joints to hold the sections together. Over time, as the earth moves, these joints can break, causing leaks.
 

Signs it May Be Time to Replace Your Clay Sewer Pipes

Small signs can let you know when it may be time to schedule a sewer line inspection to determine if your clay pipes are nearing the end of their life. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Foul odor in your yard or home. Inside, the odor could be coming from drains in the bathroom or from air vents.
  • Strange gurgling sounds coming from pipes in bathroom, kitchen or laundry room.
  • Organic material in bathtub or sink.
 

Calling a professional as soon as you notice any of these signs can help to prevent further damage to your home or yard. A licensed professional will walk you through a discussion of the condition of your clay pipes and whether you should consider trenchless sewer replacement.

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