What do I do with failing sewer lines?

If your property was built before 1975 your sewer lines are likely to be cast iron. These are prone to becoming damaged. These plumbing lines are buried under the house and take all your waste water out to your septic or sewer system. When your sewer lines fail they can cause raw sewage to back up into your property. This can lead to evacuating the property and to seeking somewhere else to work or live.

How long do cast iron sewer pipes last?

Wear and tear is a common form of a denial an insurance company will use when things go wrong.  A lot of times the adjuster who works for your insurance company will hastily deny a claim. After all it's only his opinion and it makes his job easier limiting any real investigation. 

Cast iron sewer lines should last anywhere from 50 to 100 years. Unfortunately they have been known to fail prematurely and have been found that only after 20 years these pipes have deteriorated. Call The Claims Boss to see if you qualify to have your lines replaced by way of your insurance policy.

How would I know if my sewer lines went bad?

If you never had your sewer lines inspected and your home was built in 1975 or older it likely you have a problem but just don’t know about it. With today’s technology plumbers have run inspection lines fitted with lights and cameras to actually see your lines. If the lines appear rusty, decade, discolored or cracked the plumber will inform you of the actual condition of your sewer lines. Sporadic leaks in the system can cause raw sewage which is a bio hazard to seep into the home through cracks in the concrete floor slab. It can also result in waste material to back up into the property. Many times problems with your drains will start to appear and an odor associated with sewer type smells may become a recurring problem.

What do I do if my Plumber says my sewer lines need to be replaced?

Know that replacing the sewer lines on an existing home is a huge and expensive job. It involves a combination of digging under the structure and even breaking the concrete slab. Things like you shower drains and sinks can be effected and may have to be redone as a result of replacing the old sewer lines.

What are the symptoms of a failed sewer system?

  • Slow  or no draining of sinks, tubs or toilets
  • Back up of sinks, tubs and toilets
  • Foul sewer smells
  • Presence of roaches and bugs
  • Disfigured / warped wood floor
  • Wet tile or carpet
  • Loose or broken floor tiles
  • Lifted or moved floor tiles
  • Discolored tile grout

Is sewer backups a health hazard?

Yes, having sewage breach the interior of a building is a huge health concern. Many diseases are associated with biohazard wastes. There are airborne pathogens that spread, and can be ingested causing deadly consequences. People in the field of bio hazardous material have specialize shots to protect them from contracting a disease. The general public and property owners should avoid contact and being in spaces where waste material is known to be prevalent to avoid becoming ill.

Will damage to sewer lines affect the price of my home?

Yes, of course property value is diminished with any damage or delayed maintenance. Repairing or replacing sewer lines is a costly endeavor, it is a dangerous job as well. Left unrepaired will only compound damages. Repairs should be made as soon as possible. No good will come from having sewer and drains malfunctioning. Getting the work done will stabilize  the property value. Any party buying a property will think the repairs to be in the worst case scenarios. Because the cost to replace these systems can be very expensive, buyers and sellers should be aware of the high costs to address these kinds of problems.

Why is my sewer line failing?

Elements found in the soil itself can attack the iron material causing accelerated corrosion from the outside in. Soil can have high levels acidity, contaminates and even electrical currents promoting rapid decay from the outside elements. The rust seen on the outside is not necessarily a concern but depending on your particular plumbing and dirt may be a sign of something worse happening.

The bigger issues can be found on the inside walls of the cast iron drain lines. The material passing through the drains are corrosive. Waste that is common in sewer lines have a tendency to turn into hydrogen sulfide gas which oxidizes and turns to sulfuric acid, the enemy of iron. Many of the drain cleaners on today’s market have sulfuric acid as a key ingredient for their products. This is okay with more modern plastic drain lines used in today's construction but a problem in older sewer systems.

Is corroding drain lines common?

More and more properties in the United States have seen a surge in sewer line failure. In moist, salty environments sewer lines fail faster. Florida has the perfect environment to promote corrosion. The bigger problem is dealing with the issues of sewer lines; they are often hidden and out of sight. Failure can go undetected for years leading to major costly  failures. When possible property owners should inspect their plumbing drain lines. Even having the lines inspected by camera with a trusted plumber periodically can catch a problem before the building floods with raw sewerage that in return creates a biohazard.

Will my property insurance cover the cost to replace my sewer lines?

Water damage is generally covered by property insurance. It’s never a good idea to fully trust your insurance company as a point of reference. Your insurance company hires adjusters to represent them. They are obligated to protect the insurance companies that hire them, not you. With that said a good public adjuster can inspect your loss and review your policy. Insurance policies have many exclusions and you can bet if your insurance company can find one that limits or denies your claim they will use it. Insurance is tricky especially when so much money is in play. Each policy is unique in what and when coverage is extended. Insurance is a contract of trust. However, policy holders need to understand their limitations when having to deal with savvy insurance representatives. One key reason for a denial is to have knowledge of a problem and doing nothing until it effects or causes a bigger problem. Knowing a public adjuster is always the first step in making sure you recover what you're owed and more importantly that you're not taken advantage of by restoration services, contractors, attorneys or your insurance company.

Will my property insurance pay to fix water damage caused by sewer backups?

In most cases, once you establish coverage, your insurance will pay for the damages caused by the sewer or water loss. Your insurance should pay to replace the damaged system but have rules to the process. In fact, your insurance will not pay for the actual damaged pipes, but they will pay for what it takes to get to them. The plumbing pipes are generally not very expensive but the labor to get to them is. Also the damage caused by the escaped water is covered. Keep in mind sewer water is different than clean water and should be treated differently.

Will my insurance cover the cost to replace sewer damaged furniture?

Once coverage is established any personal property like furniture, fabrics and household or business items are covered. Having good documentation of the property is key to getting paid. You should take pictures of the damaged area and items. If you have receipts or invoices for the items or products those should be made available. A list of items should be made that gives the place where you might have bought the item, how old the item is, the quantities, the brand names, and the cost to replace the items. Once you have done this you should file all of this material in conjunction with a proof of loss. A public adjuster can do these tasks for or with you. Once sewer water touch’s porous materials it will absorb bio hazardous material into them making them unsafe to keep even if you can clean the item.