How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Sewer Line?

by Team HomeServe
septic sewer line

Sewer Line Replacement and Repair Costs at a Glance

  • Average total cost: $2,500
  • Trenchless repair: $60-$260 per foot
  • Pipe-under-slab repair: $200-$450 per foot
  • Removing tree roots: $100-$600
  • Labor cost: $200 per hour

A sewer line that needs to be replaced can present several weird symptoms — like a gurgling toilet, water that's slow to drain or (ew) that telltale smell. Your cracked or broken sewer line may be showing signs outside the home, too. At worst, you might have puddles of sewer water in your yard. At best, you might notice an exceptionally thick, green patch of grass that's been fertilized by the sewage.

This May Also Interest You: Got a Clogged Sewer Line? Here’s What to Do

In any case, your next step is to repair or replace your main sewer line before things get any more out of hand. Read on for a quick primer on sewer line repair as well as how much it’ll cost.

septic sewer line

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Sewer Line?

A cracked or damaged sewer line, or one that has been breached by tree roots, could present a serious health risk to your household. According to Angie’s List, the average cost to replace or repair a sewer line is $2,500, although the actual cost can vary depending on whether it's possible to perform a trenchless repair.

What Impacts the Cost of a Sewer Repair?

Project costs vary wildly depending on a number of factors. The job may be as simple as re-lining an existing pipe, or it may require breaking the slab to gain access to lay new pipe. Because of the health risks involved, these repairs are best left to the professionals.

There are several factors that influence the cost of a sewer repair:

  • The type of pipe
  • How the line is inspected
  • Whether the pipe must be replaced or can simply be patched
  • Whether excavation work is required
  • Whether additional cleanup work required

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Leaking Pipe?

If you have a leaking pipe or a damaged drainpipe and the damage is relatively minor, you may be able to fix the issue with a trenchless repair. This method involves breaking the pipe, removing it and sliding a new one into place. It can also be done by installing and inflating a new lining within the existing pipe. A trenchless repair can be done for $60 to $250 per foot of pipe.

The total cost will increase if tree roots must be removed from the sewer lines. Performing a full sewer pipe replacement where the pipe is under the slab will be far higher than the cost of a trenchless repair. If the slab needs to be broken to access the pipe, this could add as much as $200 per foot to the replacement cost, for a total cost of $200 to $450 per foot.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Sewer Line?

Installing a new drain line will cost more than fixing one that is already in place. Replacement of a main sewer line will start at $3,000 for a small pipe. This covers the cost of the pipe, digging up the slab and replacing the concrete afterward.

Materials are a small part of the cost. Plumbers often charge around $200 per hour for this sort of job, so if the sewer line needs to be installed in a difficult-to-reach area, you can expect higher fees.

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How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Drain Pipe?

The cost of repairs depends on the extent of the damage. A cracked sewer line may be comparatively inexpensive to repair if the broken pipe can be patched or switched out easily. If there are tree roots in the sewer line, however, these will need to be removed before the line can be repaired. Removing tree roots can cost $100 to $600 on its own.

Trenchless methods are not an option if there are tree roots to contend with. This means the plumber will need to dig up the yard to access the drain line. Digging and replacement take time, so expect to pay about $250 per foot.

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Other Factors to Consider

It's a good idea to have a sewer camera inspection performed before committing to any work. Because there are so many factors to take into consideration, an inspection will help better determine whether you need a full replacement or if you can get by with repairs.

A leaking pipe may be fixed with a new sewer pipe lining. If this is an option in your case, it will likely be the least expensive.

If you have large trees in your yard whose roots may damage pipes, you’ll want to have your sewer lines regularly inspected to prevent extensive repairs or a full replacement. Make sure that you carry out regular maintenance and fix clogged sewer lines before the blockages become a problem.

Homeowners can pay thousands to fix even a small length of broken pipe, making it an unwelcome out-of-pocket expense. If the pipe runs through a driveway or a landscaped garden, the cost of restoring that part of the property to its former state could double the overall cost of the repair.

Since we’re all home now more than ever, being prepared for unexpected home repairs with a plan from HomeServe is important. Having a plan in place gives you peace of mind knowing that you can simply call our 24/7 repair hotline for covered breakdowns. See what plans are available in your neighborhood.