Why You Should Avoid a DIY Sewer Line Repair


As a homeowner, it’s important to have basic knowledge about repairing and maintaining common issues that arise over the lifetime of a house. Many homeowners become extremely adept at managing household projects and repairs.

But there is one DIY project that is definitely not basic and best left to the plumbing professionals: sewer line repair. Sewer repairs can become very complex, which will quickly frustrate homeowners with little or no experience with sewer plumbing. While it may seem like a good way to save money, there are numerous compelling reasons to avoid attempting a sewer line repair yourself. A better solution is to hire a licensed, experienced, professional plumber.

Why DIY Sewer Repairs Go Wrong

While there are many reasons why a DIY sewer repair may go wrong, here is a list of the most common reasons:

  1. Lack of Experience & Proper Equipment
    The most obvious reason why any home repair project goes wrong is that the person doing the project doesn’t have the right knowledge, experience, or tools. The same can certainly be said for a DIY sewer line repair; although it may seem simple, there are many nuances to sewer repairs that require specific knowledge and experience. Most homeowners don’t have the experience to understand important details, such as avoiding underground utility lines and understanding soil conditions. Nor are most homeowners  aware of the various methods available for sewer repair. There’s also more to completing a project than just the proper know-how. High-quality results are achieved when a project is performed using appropriate materials and all of the necessary equipment. A licensed, professional plumber exercises good judgment when choosing the right materials, has the right tools available, and knows how to use them. The expertise of a professional sewer repair plumber like Pipe Spy will ensure that your sewer repair project is done right and done well.
  2. Additional Damage
    Without the proper experience and equipment, there are many things that could go wrong in a sewer line repair project, in potentially expensive and unpleasant ways. What may start as a “simple” issue can turn into a much larger problem if “fixed” incorrectly – your leak in the front yard could become a sewer backup event inside your home, or a spill into your neighbor’s yard. A professional plumber has the expertise to prevent a sewer project from going wrong, has insurance that will cover the cost of accidental damage and should offer a warranty or guarantee as a part of their service. Pipe Spy offers a three-year warranty on all of our sewer repair projects, providing you with the assurance that if any issues arise after project completion, the Pipe Spy professionals will address them.
  3. Potential Safety Hazards
    There are health and safety risks one must prevent while working on a sewer line project. Methane gas, salmonella, e. coli, giardia – all are found in sewer pipes and may expose workers during the sewer repair process. If your DIY dig hits a natural gas line, breathing the gas can harm your body, and there is a risk of fire or explosion damage to your property or your neighbor’s. Another risk in sewer repair projects is the collapse of earth from the walls around the dig site. Your safety and health are too important to risk in a DIY sewer project! Avoid these safety hazards by hiring a professional plumber.
  4. Higher Costs
    Homeowners often expect big cost savings when they take a DIY approach to household repair projects. Sewer repair estimates may seem high-cost, but incorrect repairs by an inexperienced, DIY plumber can lead to a whole host of added costs, which transform your low-cost DIY project into an expensive do-over. Skilled plumbers are able to correctly diagnose and fix your issue, which truly will minimize the total cost of your project.There’s another cost you may not have factored into your DIY project plan: your time. Doing a project correctly is always the priority, but an experienced plumber will be able to complete your project correctly and efficiently. When you hire a professional plumber, you not only control the total cost of the project, you will also significantly reduce the downtime of your sewer line. At Pipe Spy, most of our private home sewer repair projects are completed in one day.
  5. Code Requirements
    A DIY sewer project may violate local building and public works codes. These codes are enforced by inspections, which require a permit before work begins. You can apply for your own permit, but sewer work is not as simple as it seems. Securing the correct permits or certificates can be a lengthy and difficult venture, and the process requires knowledge of the ordinances that apply in your sewer jurisdiction. In particular, the East Bay Private Sewer Lateral Program requires homeowners to comply with specific rules. An experienced plumber is educated about these rules, and will make sure that your sewer line repair project is compliant with all local requirements and ordinances.What happens if you do a DIY sewer project without a permit? If your city learns about the project, you will be penalized: you will be required to pay to pass an inspection, the permit costs will double, and if the inspection fails, you will be required to hire a licensed plumber to repair the project. In Pipe Spy’s experience, fixing incorrect work can cost more than doing it right the first time.

Contact Us to Schedule an Inspection

There are many reasons to avoid DIY sewer line repair. Remember that this isn’t an exhaustive list – there are several other reasons why you should choose to hire a licensed & insured professional plumber for your sewer repair. To learn more about the best way to complete your sewer project, contact a qualified plumbing professional for more information.