Our plumbing lines are essential to ensuring that we receive fresh water on demand; many of us struggle to think what it was like prior to the advent of indoor plumbing. While modern plumbing is surely a convenience many of us appreciate, proper drain cleaning and pipe maintenance is necessary to keep the water flowing. Those who have purchased a new home or have neglected their plumbing for some time may want to take a look at their pipes to ensure that their home is free from costly leaks and related plumbing issues that can end up costing homeowners hundreds or even thousands of dollars in water loss and costly repairs; here are some tips to decrease your water waste and ensure that your pipes are free from leaks.
The Price of Leaks
Chances are, there is some form of leakage in your home whether it be a dripping faucet, leaky toilet, or cracked pipe. A faucet, showerhead, or other fixture that drips at an average of just 10 drops per minute can have the potential to leak hundreds of gallons of water every year, contributing to a fast-growing water bill. It is estimated that nearly half of all residential toilets have some degree of leaks as well from improper installation or through regular use; this not only leads to water loss but eventual damage to homes that can cost significant amounts of money to repair or replace. Pipes that lack proper insulation may freeze during the winter time: since water expands as it freezes, this can place additional strain on a pipe and result in cracks. A crack as small as an eighth of an inch has the potential to leak up to 250 gallons of water in a single day, potentially destroying furniture, floors, and personal property if left untreated. Many homeowners make regular drain cleaning a yearly habit as drains can quickly clog up given the amount of use a typical home has on a drain.
What Lurks Beneath Your Home?
While many of the above issues can easily be repaired, some of the most serious plumbing issues take place away from where eyes can see. Sewers that are clogged and in need of professional drain cleaning may experience backflow from the line; the Environmental Protection Agency lists a number of bacteria and other pathogens found in human waste that could prove to be a serious health concern for homeowners. Experts in the industry recommend that new home owners have their sewers inspected prior to moving into their new homes to prevent this health risk; an inspection typically costs between $250 and $350. In many cases, the culprit behind clogged pipes are tree roots; since most pipes laid prior to the 1980s were constructed with clay they are easily penetrated by tree roots on their search for water. Tree root systems typically grow between 12 and 36 inches below the surface of the soil and can span up to three times the dimension of the tree’s canopy.
Trenchless Sewer Line Repair and Replacement
A breached sewer line can cause backflow and significant water loss. Although sometimes a drain cleaning can fix the problem in the case of tree roots, it is likely that some form of sewer repair and replacement may be required to avoid more water loss. Traditional sewer line repair and replacement methods require significant excavation to get to the pipe, destroying homeowner’s yards. Trenchless sewer repair and replacement methods however eliminate the need for extensive excavation, sparing homeowner’s yards from the need for costly landscaping fees. While trenchless methods may cost 30 to 50% more than traditional excavation, many homeowners feel that they save in the long-run when it comes to landscaping. If you are experiencing backflow or your sewer line is nearly 40 years old, consider calling a professional to have your sewer line inspected to ensure that your home isn’t costing you in water losses.