Back to Blog

a man in the dirt replacing a residential sewer

Warning Signs Your Sewer Line Needs to Be Replaced

March 16, 2023

A well-functioning sewer system is crucial for the sanitation and comfort of your home. However, like all infrastructure, sewer lines don’t last forever. Knowing when your system requires main line replacements or repairs can save you from costly and unsanitary problems down the line. In this blog, we’ll explore the signs of sewer line problems, delve into the longevity of sewer lines, and discuss specific conditions like a sewer line belly to understand if it needs to be replaced.

Understanding Sewer Line Lifespan

One of the first questions homeowners ask is, “How long do sewer lines last?” The answer varies depending on the materials used. Older clay and cast-iron pipes, common in homes built before the 1980s, can last 50 to 100 years but are prone to cracking and corrosion. PVC sewer lines, used in modern installations, can last indefinitely if properly installed and maintained. Despite these general guidelines, several factors can accelerate the need for main line replacements, including tree root intrusion, ground movement, and improper usage.

Signs of Sewer Line Problems

Detecting sewer line issues early can prevent a full-scale emergency. Here are some critical signs that your sewer system might be in trouble:

  • Unusual Noises: Gurgling sounds from your toilets or drains can indicate a blockage in the sewer line.
  • Slow Drains: If your drains are consistently slow, despite attempts to clear them, the problem might be in the main line.
  • Unpleasant Odors: An obvious sign of a sewer line issue is the smell of sewage in or around your property.
  • Water Damage: Unexplained moisture or mold growth in your basement can signal a leaking sewer line.
  • Frequent Backups: If you’re experiencing regular backups, especially in the lowest points of your home, this is a clear sign of sewer line problems.
  • Lush Patches in Yard: Sewage leaking underground can lead to unusually lush or green patches in your yard.
  • Indentations in Landscaping or Paving: Sewer line leaks can cause soil to dissipate, leading to indentations or sinkholes on your property.

If you notice any of these issues, it’s crucial to consult with professionals like Lickety-Split to diagnose and address the problem promptly.

Does a Sewer Line Belly Need to Be Replaced?

A sewer line belly — a sag or low spot in the pipe — disrupts the normal flow of wastewater, leading to stagnation and blockages. Not all bellies require immediate replacement, but if it causes frequent backups or violates local code requirements, repair or replacement might be necessary. Advanced techniques, such as pipe bursting or relining, can address these issues without extensive excavation in some cases.

When Replacement Is Necessary

While repairs can resolve minor issues, there are situations where main line replacements are the only solution. Significant tree root intrusion, extensive corrosion, or collapsed pipes necessitate a complete overhaul of the sewer line. Modern trenchless technologies can make this process less invasive and more cost-effective than traditional methods.


Ignoring the warning signs of sewer line problems can lead to significant inconveniences and health hazards. By understanding the signs of sewer line distress and the lifespan of different piping materials, you can make informed decisions about maintenance and replacements. If you suspect your home needs a main line replacement or if you’re dealing with a sewer line belly, it’s essential to act quickly.Lickety-Split is here to help. Our team of experts can assess your sewer line’s condition, recommend the best course of action, and provide professional and timely repairs or replacements. Don’t wait for a full-blown emergency. Contact us today to ensure your home’s plumbing system is in top shape. Remember, a proactive approach can save you from the headaches and costs of major sewer line issues down the road.


Home Services You Can Trust

When solving problems in your home, you want the people you trust most to be on the job.
Click to Call