Replacing Clay Sewer Pipe Below Your Property – A Great Home Sewer Guide

underground sewer pipe

Sewer pipe issues can cause problems for your entire building. Persistent clogs, sewer backups, and other inconveniences may all be rooted in a clogged, damaged, or broken clay sewer pipe below your property. If you have a badly damaged clay sewer pipe, you will need to get involved with replacing clay sewer pipe to resolve the issue. However, it is vital to exhaust every possible drain-clearing resolution before you start to dig.

NYC commonly uses clay sewer pipes due to the vital importance of a healthy sewer system in our dense urban landscape. Clay sewer pipes are non-toxic, they do not corrode, rust, or release metal particles into the water. They are resilient against drain chemicals and can last over 60 years with proper care. However, a cracked, disjointed ceramic pipe, or one that is full of roots, needs replacement.

Roots inside old clay sewer pipes.

As NYC’s premier sewer pipe experts, Balkan Sewer & Drain Cleaning Service is here to provide a helpful guide on how to resolve issues with your sewer pipes and how to know when a clay sewer pipe replacement has become necessary.

Common Types of Sewer Pipes

Ceramic pipes are among the best for sewer construction because they don’t suffer from the usual problems that stem from metal pipes or even plastic. Clay sewer pipes are referred to as vitrified clay and terra cotta pipes, this type of pipe is impervious to chemicals. Clay pipes were popular all over the country until about the 1960s. However, in NYC, ceramic sewer pipes are still in steady for the public sewer system use for the benefits and long-lasting performance they provide. 

Ceramic pipes withstand chemicals and extreme changes in temperature, and the thick ceramic is highly durable. On the other hand, clay pipes are also more prone to root growth and cannot be repaired once they crack. which they are more prone to do. Most home sewer lines utilize extra heavy cast iron pipe, a highly durable and long-lasting material.

Sewer Problems? Exhaust All Drain-Clearing Options

Highly populated regions like New York City frequently deal with sewer problems. Between the issues of older buildings, older plumbing systems, frequent road work, subsurface repair work, and the high traffic on top of buried sewer lines, sewer repairs are commonly needed. As sewer and drain experts, Balkan can attest that often what seems like an unfixable problem with your sewer just needs the right drain-clearing solution to get your pipes flowing the right way again.

It is important to try all possible drain-clearing options before you jump to pipe replacement. This one rule will help to minimize the disruption to your property and ensure that you never replace a pipe that doesn’t need replacing. Once you know you have a recurring sewer clog issue, it’s best to schedule cleaning before the clog occurs again – be pro-active.

Here’s what to do before you start replacing clay sewer pipe, especially if you suspect you have a damaged clay sewer line, or sewer pipes full of roots.

Sewer Snaking

Drain snaking is the process of sending a long and flexible rodding with cutting blades down into your drain and sewer pipes. Household drain snakes can free up a clog a few feet below the drain using rotational force and an end that often looks like a whisk. Professional drain snakes, however, are more powerful and have a far longer range.

Professional drain snaking can find and a clog deep within your property’s drain lines or even into the buried sewer pipes. The cutting blades at the end help to penetrate and break up clogs by forcing them to come apart and flow properly down the drain or sewer line. Drain snaking is often the solution when multi-material clogs have formed a partial or total stoppage in your drains and can help resolve issues inside your clay sewer pipes. Most professional drain cleaners have an assortment of drain machines depending on the size fo the pipe in question, or the length of the run of pipe.

High-Pressure Water Jetting

High-pressure jetting, also known as hydro-jetting, can help break up clogs in a drain and can cut through as well. This process uses the dissolving power of high-pressure water against an array of clogs, including grease stoppages. High-pressure jetting combines the physical force of the high-pressure spray with the natural effect of water to break up certain materials, including roots, that often accumulate in drain and sewer pipes. Jetting can frequently put off or eliminate the requirement of replacing clay sewer pipe.

Hydro-jetting not only breaks up clogs, it also removes the scale that builds up inside both metal and ceramic pipes. Scale is mineral deposits from hard water, often accumulated deposits of calcium or magnesium. As scale builds up on the inside of pipes, the pipes effectively become narrower and more prone to clogs. Hydro-jetting can clear out the scale to stop a current clog and make future clogs less likely.

HD Sewer Camera Inspections

Sewer camera inspections can help in instances when conventional drain-clearing methods have not worked. A camera on a flexible post will push down into the drain and sewer lines to take a digital look at the problem. Sewer camera inspections help identify unexpected clogs such as lodged debris, lost items, or growing tree roots. Likewise, HD imaging from the camera clearly shows broken pipe, backpitched pipe, or crushed pipe.

Root Desiccant Treatment

A clay sewer pipe is more prone to root growth compared to other materials. Depending on the root’s entry point, it may be possible to use a root desiccant treatment to clear the pipe without irrevocable damage. Desiccant is a special type of chemical that is harmful to the roots of plants, as is copper sulfite. It will cause any intrusive roots in your sewer pipes to shrivel up and retract so that the pipes are clear and your sewers will function normally again.

Never Rush in Replacing Clay Sewer Pipe – Dig as a Last Resort

When you experience sewer problems, never rush to have your buried sewer lines replaced. This step is often unnecessary and highly disruptive when it does need to be done. Sewer digging and pipe replacement can also become a very involved process. Often, more conventional sewer and drain-clearing methods will suffice.

The best way to know when you need to start replacing clay sewer pipe is when you have already exhausted every other option to fix your drains. A sewer camera inspection should have also revealed a problem that can’t be fixed. A sewer camera inspection will also determine whether a clay pipe sewer line repair or a full sewer line replacement is needed.

Secure a Licensed and Insured Sewer Contractor

A clay sewer pipe that is damaged, cracked, disjointed, or full of roots cannot be rehabilitated, lined, or coated. If your clay sewer pipe is beyond repair, secure a professional sewer contractor to perform the replacing clay sewer pipe on your home sewer system. Choose a team that knows exactly what they are doing, as sewer pipe replacement can influence the quality of drains and safe sewage for your entire building.

Licensed and Insured

Every sewer contractor should be fully licensed and insured, but not all are. Always be sure to ask to see the license and insurance policy to verify for yourself. A credible service will quickly provide the necessary credentials for your approval, or in many cases, a license check can be done online.

Assessment and Planning Before Replacing Clay Sewer Pipe On Your Home

Once you are confident that you have found a reputable sewer contractor to take on replacing clay sewer pipe on your property, other steps are needed before the excavation commences. This typically involves a sewer camera inspection or pipe locating equipment to pinpoint the problem, the extent of the problem, and the location of the existing sewer pipe itself.

Another vital and required step is calling the nationwide 811 call-out service to have all underground utility lines marked out to avoid damaging them. Additionally, in many cases, city records exist that also provide location details and the type of connection that already exists to the city sewer.

Replacing Clay Sewer Pipe Requires Proper Equipment

Sewer pipe replacement requires the right equipment. The dig and replacement process is delicate and must be done with great skill and the right equipment. This includes digging, pipe removal, pipe installation tools, as well as access to high-quality replacement sewer pipes to replace the cracked or otherwise damaged clay sewer line below your property.

The Correct Expertise

Check the work history of the sewer contractors that you choose to hire. A reputable sewer services team will have a list of previous sewer projects they have worked on. This proves their expertise to swiftly and flawlessly perform replacing clay sewer pipe, or any other type of pre-existing house sewer material.

Installing a new house sewer is not complicated one way or the other by what the pre-existing material is, whether it is clay sewer pipe or another material. This is especially true if your building is in the heart of the city where any digging or utility work must be done with extreme skill and caution.

When Replacing Clay Sewer Pipe or any Plumbing Work, Get a Long-Term Guarantee

Whether doing a repair or a replacement, whether a sewer or other plumbing work, always get a written guarantee before work commences. As an example, Balkan Sewer And Water Main Service guarantees all water line and sewer repairs for 2 years and full replacement work for 10 years.

You Are Within the Service Area of the Licensed Plumber

Lastly, make sure that your chosen contractor has a service area that includes your property. Local plumbing and sewer services understand the regional challenges of your home. This ensures that they can reach you to provide service and that they understand the structure of the sewer lines that serve your property.

Workers digging in a NYC roadway for a sewer replacement.

Contact Team Balkan for Replacing Clay Sewer Pipe or Drain Cleaning Services

The clay sewer pipes below your property serve a very important purpose. Providing durable sewer performance while resisting the usual hazards is what they do best. However, if your drains simply won’t clear and you fear that your clay sewer pipe might be the answer, you can count on Team Balkan to properly assess your drain and sewer situation and suggest the best course of action.

Our team can schedule a highly skilled team of NYC sewer line experts to remove the damaged pipe and replace it with a new one capable of lasting several decades of sewer performance for your property.

Over 70 Years of Sewer Service Built On Trust

Balkan has been serving NYC for over 70 years, keeping your pipes clean and your drains clear. From simple clog maintenance to serious matters like installing a new sewer line pipe, we have you covered. We work for residential, commercial, and even city property and are one of the oldest, most trusted, and most established drain and sewer services in the greater metropolis.

Contact the Balkan Team for a consultation on your drain problems. We’ll gladly take care of the rest with swift precision to minimize interruption to your busy life.