Sewer Line Repair & Replacement

Main Sewer Line & Sewer Stoppage Clean-Out, Repair, and Replacement

Plumbing Van
 

You can trust your sewer line repair needs to Houston’s best and most recognized plumbers since 1965.

John Moore plumbers and trained sewer line technicians are fully equipped to solve all of your stoppage problems, including sewer repair and sewer line replacement. We are the residential plumbing company that local homeowners have trusted with sewer and drain cleanings and repairs since our founding in 1965. Give us a call and see why. And be sure to ask out our In-House Financing Options.

 

Call 877-730-2525 and schedule a Main Sewer Line Specialist.

Quality Guarantee

Signs of a Main Line Stoppage

Does foul smelling water come out of your tub or shower drain when you flush your toilet? Do you notice a gurgling sound coming from your toilet when you take a shower?

Does your toilet overflow when you use your washing machine? It may seem like your home has lost its mind, but these are all just signs that there is a stoppage in your home’s main line.

Backed-up Sink

What is a Main Line Stoppage?

Main_Line_Stoppage

Every drain in your home – your sink drains, shower drains, tub drains, washing machine drains, and toilets- are connected to your home’s main sewer line.

When you wash something down your sink, take a bath or shower, wash clothes, or flush your toilet, that waste water goes down a vertical drain line that ties into a larger horizontal main line.

Main lines are sloped so that gravity carries waste water down your main line and into a public sewage or septic system. But if your main sewer line becomes clogged, your waste water will eventually have nowhere to go except for up through another drain in your home, referred to as sewage backup.

First floor tub drains and first floor standalone shower drains are almost always where homeowners first notice sewage backup because they are the closest drains to the main line. If your home doesn’t have a tub or shower on the first floor, then the toilets on the first floor of your home will make gurgling noises, and possibly overflow with water whenever you take a shower, use a sink, or wash clothes or dishes.

Having sewer water come back up through a fixture is a nightmare for some, but John Moore is here to stop the problem and prevent it from ever happening again.

What Causes a Main Line Stoppage?

Main line stoppages are always caused by an obstruction in your main line, and there are several main line obstructions we see over and over again:

Belly

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Build-up in a Bellied PVC Main Line

Remember how we said that main lines slope so that gravity carries your home’s waste water to a public sanitation system? Well, sometimes this slope gets a belly, or dipped section of pipe, especially if it’s a main line made out of PVC.

How does PVC main line get a belly? A main sewer line is usually one of the first things built when a home is being constructed, so when the foundation of a home is being poured, the weight of all that concrete pushes down on the foundation’s footers, which puts pressure on the ground above where the main line is. Sometimes, this pressure is enough to create a belly in what would otherwise be a perfectly downward sloping main line.

Why does a belly lead to a main line stoppage? Well, we put a lot of sticky things down our drains: petroleum found in soap; toothpaste; and, well, poop.

Usually, water and gravity accompany these waste items so that your main line becomes a water slide of sorts. If your pipe has a bellied section, then the water starts to pool in that area.

Because the sticky unmentionables we mentioned above float in water, they get stuck to the top of the pipe in bellied areas where they build up overtime, which eventually turns into a complete main line stoppage.

channel-rot

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Channel Rot or Broken Cast Iron

Before it became standard for main lines to be made out of PVC, they were mostly made out of cast iron that tied into a concrete main line before reaching the public sewer system. If your home was built before the 80s, it more than likely has a cast iron main line.

The major issue with cast iron main lines – and why home builders switched to using PVC – is that cast iron is prone to rotting and snapping. When too much pressure is applied to a cast iron pipe, instead of bellying like PVC, it snaps in half, leading all your sewer water into the ground, which eventually stops your main line with mud.

Cast iron is also prone to “channeling” or rotting from the inside out. The average lifespan of a cast iron pipe is 25 to 30 years before it completely bottoms out. When a cast iron pipe rots all the way through, your waste water will mix with the dirt underneath the pipe, creating a buildup of mud, which can eventually turn into a stoppage.

Tree_Roots

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Tree Roots Intrusion of Main Line

In older homes, it was common to have a cast iron or ABS main line that turned into a concrete main line after passing the edge of the home. Concrete main lines are made out of sections of concrete pipe that connect using bell and spigot joints.

Essentially, one end of each pipe flares out so that the diameter is wide enough for the spigot end of another concrete pipe to go in. After they were laid underground, concrete would be used to seal each section of concrete pipe together. Unfortunately, this method of attaching concrete pipes together leads to offsets, which get worse and worse as the ground swells and shifts over time.

There are two types of offsets: positive offsets and negative offsets. A positive offset is when a section of concrete pipe is lower than the previous section, creating a step down that functions like a waterfall, allowing the waste water to cascade down the pipe. A negative offset is when the bottom of the next pipe is higher than the bottom of the previous one, creating a step-up that prevents waste water from easily moving through the pipe. But no matter if the offset helps or prevents the flow of waste-water, it creates a hole in the main line, which can become a major problem if there’s a tree nearby.

Tree roots naturally seek out fertile soil and nutrients, and the waste you flush down your toilet is rich in nutrients, so it’s not uncommon for tree roots to seek out holes in main lines. Once tree roots find their way into a main line, they will grow and cause a lot of problems like breaking other areas of pipe, and eventually, they will completely obstruct the flow of waste-water, leading to a stoppage.

John Moore’s Main Line Stoppage Solutions

Just as there several things that cause a main line stoppage, there are also several solutions that John Moore has, some that fix the immediate problem, and others that prevent main line stoppages in the long-run.

Clearing a Main Line Stoppage

When there’s nasty water coming out of your tub drain or your toilet is overflowing, the first thing you want is to make that go away, which is why main line stoppages are a priority call here at John Moore. John Moore’s immediate solution- and one of the first things we do at any job where we’re fixing a main line stoppage- is clear the obstruction to allow your home’s waste-water to flow through the main line again.

Before we attempt to clear the stoppage, we try to identify roughly where the stoppage is occurring in your main line, either under your home, or under your yard or driveway. We do this by noting the location of each fixture that’s backing up and by opening the two-way cleanout outside of your home. If the two way cleanout is also backed up, then we know that the stoppage is somewhere past that point in the main line and can run a snake cable from there. If the two-way cleanout is not backed up, then we run our main line clean-out cable through a drain in your home.

When we run a cable in an attempt to poke a hole in the stoppage, eventually one of two things will happen: 1) We will hit the stoppage, poke through it, and then the water from your backed up drain will begin going down or 2) We will hit a tough spot indicating to us that we have either hit mud from channel rot or a root ball. If we hit a tough spot, we can usually tell if it’s mud or roots. And if it’s roots, we will use an attachment and attempt to pull some of the roots off, allowing water to drain. If it’s mud, we know we’re probably dealing with channel rot or a hole in your pipe and will recommend a reroute.


Sewer Line

Visually Inspect the Main Line by Running a Camera

After we have poked a hole through the stoppage and allowed water to start draining again, we will ask to run a camera to make a visual inspection. A visual inspection will give us a better idea of where the stoppage is occurring and what’s causing it so we can find the best solution.

Hydrojetting

Sometimes when we do a visual inspection, we find that there is a lot of grease and other build-up on the sides of the pipe. This build-up not only decreases the inside diameter of your pipe, but also makes it difficult for us to identify the actual problem, whether it be a bellied pipe, tree roots, or channel rot. So our solution if we find a lot of build up is Hydrojetting, a second cable that shoots water out at up to 4000 psi, effectively clearing out any grease, gunk, and other goop getting in our way.

Typically, after doing the above three, we will have solved the immediate backup issue and identified what caused the main line stoppage in the first place. After this, John Moore highly recommends moving forward with replacing or fixing your main line so that a stoppage won’t happen again anytime soon.


Hydrojetting

After this, John Moore highly recommends moving forward with replacing or fixing your main line so that a stoppage won’t happen again anytime soon.

Main Line Repair and Replacement

To permanently fix a main line and prevent recurring stoppages, we have to dig.

Now, whether we’re simply digging a trench or actually tunneling under your home depends on where the problem area is. For instance, if we find out during our visual inspection that the cause of your main line stoppage is tree roots, then we will dig a trench, remove the concrete pipes, replace them with schedule 40 PVC, and tie them into the city line. But if we find that the problem is a bellied PVC pipe or channel rot occurring underneath your home, then things get a little trickier.

Tunnel Repair

To fix any length of pipe under your home, we have to dig an access tunnel. Sometimes, all that’s needed is a spot repair, which is when we fix a little section of pipe. For instance, if we determine from our visual inspection that your main line stoppage is occurring right next to a fixture, like a tub or a toilet on the edge of your home, than we only have to dig a small access tunnel. But if your main line has a belly in the middle of your home, we need to dig a long access tunnel and either reslope the pipe or completely replace it. In instances where the problem is cast iron channel rot, we will replace sections or the entire main line with schedule 40 PVC.

Main Line Reroute

When we’re running a cable down your pipe to clear the stoppage, if we hit mud, we recommend a reroute. Why? Because mud indicates that there is a hole in your main line, and it’s almost impossible to patch a hole in an underground pipe. So the easiest solution is to reroute.

For a reroute, we cap the old line and build a new one running from your fixture to the outside of your home and then back underground. We either tie this rerouted line past the area that’s rotted through on your main line, or we reroute and replace the main line completely. John Moore always uses schedule 40, solid core PVC in our reroutes, and we try to use a thicker diameter pipe with steep slope to ensure your waste-water can easily flow down your main line and get where it’s going.

New Sewer Line
 

Meet Your Plumber

What Our Customers Are Saying

  • Came on Saturday to reinstall toilet that had been removed to work on flood damage to house. Very competent and knowledgeable. Did an excellent job.


    - Plumbing
    Houston, TX - 09/23/17
  • I was pleased with his honesty and with the repipe work that I needed done. And was able to give me a final quote and not just an estimate .


    - Plumbing
    Houston, TX - 09/23/17
  • I was looking for Dave Smith and Brandon Jones in here and I do not see their names. They both worked very hard and I was impressed by their team work.It was efficient until Brandon had an emergency and left Dave to do a two man job alone for the rest of the 2nd day. Dave was really committed to getting the the bathroom up and running for me each night before they left. I was pleased with their kindness in answering questions that I had while they were doing the work. I would call them again though I hope I don't need to.


    - Plumbing
    Houston, TX - 09/23/17
  • Darrell Kresta from John Moore Services provided excellent and friendly customer service in fixing my water heater due to a leak in my attic from Hurricane Harvey this past week in Houston and would recommend to other customers.


    - Plumbing
    Houston, TX - 09/03/17
  • John Moore Company is terrific. They were on the spot to help us with a major plumbing leak, sent in a remediation team, removed defective piping and replaced all plumbing piping in the attic, all with great attitudes and consideration.


    - Plumbing
    Houston, TX - 09/04/17
  • Had a clogged drain line in my upstairs bathroom. Called John Moore Services and made an appointment for the next day. Edwin G. was the Field Technician to come out to my home. I explained to him the problem and then he explained the options to me. I told him to go with the best option. Drain line was unclogged. He was very professional and very knowledgeable. He explained what he was going to do and also took pictures of the repairs once he was done. Overall it was a great experience and I have to give Edwin G. and the John Moore Services a 5-Star for a job well done. Couldn't ask for anything better, and will be using them in the future. Thank you Edwin G./John Moore Services.


    - Plumbing
    Houston, TX - 09/14/17
  • Excellent service by Edwin G., field tech was professional and efficient. Problem was assessed and I was advised what was needed to fix the problem. Price was quoted. It was nice the fact that he entered my home wearing plastic booties over his shoes. I am very satisfied with my experience today with John Moore. In the event I have plumbing issues in the future I will definitely call John Moore. Thanks Edwin G. for a job well done!


    - Plumbing
    Houston, TX - 09/14/17
  • Excellent service from the plumbing side ,the plumber assigned to do the work was thorough and both flues were not reinstalled by the roofing company , the field service rep found the problem and then coordinated the repair with your roofing division. Awesome job that made my new home safe again.


    - Plumbing
    Houston, TX - 09/14/17
  • Derick was awesome he cleared the drain in about a 1/2 hour. Unlike the first tech sent he acted like he didn't want to be here.


    - Plumbing
    Houston, TX - 09/24/17
  • Russell Herd with John Moore Services did an excellent job in replacing my toilet. Would recommend.


    - Plumbing
    Houston, TX - 09/19/17
  • Excellent customer service! Russell Herd and John Moore Plumbling


    - Plumbing
    Houston, TX - 09/03/17
  • The service people that represent John Moore are excellent at what they do. Their quick and knowledgeable. Thankfully my dad had the funds to pay for the water heater that he wanted installed.


    - Plumbing
    Houston, TX - 09/13/17
  • John Moore sent Rey out when my water heater bit the dust. Very attentive and worked with me so my needs were met perfectly. A pleasure.


    - Plumbing
    Houston, TX - 09/12/17
  • Our Field Technician Mark W was thorough, professional and very helpful. He snaked our drain from our washing machine to the end of pipe and all was done quickly, very professionally, the work area was cleaned and he provided valuable information on how to keep our drain clean for the future. We have used John Moore for complete A/C and heating installation to routine plumbing needs and could not be happier with their overall quality of service and pricing. Would highly recommend their services to anyone, especially my family and friends.


    - Plumbing
    Houston, TX - 09/01/17
  • Derick was terrific. He did a great job on my backyard drains. My house did not flood.


    - Plumbing
    Houston, TX - 09/06/17
  • Troy Gallow came out to our condo to fix our stackable washer and dryer that had a leak behind it. He arrived on time and quickly diagnosed the problem. He was very professional and courteous. I hope that I can request him to come out next time I have a plumbing issue. I would definitely recommend John Moore to my friends and neighbors. And may I add this was about one week since Hurricane Harvey and the company was extremely busy but , nonetheless, Troy remainded mild mannered and calm. Great job!


    - Plumbing
    Houston, TX - 09/17/17
  • Kevin with John Moore Plumbing did an excellent job on our home. Great service. I highly recommend John Moore!


    - Plumbing
    Houston, TX - 09/14/17
  • John Moore Services and Service Pro Joey W. did an excellent job repairing and correcting a drain problem from my washer. Excellent service, thorough explanation of the problem, several possibilities for solving the problem. Fast, efficient work and problem solved. Thanks.


    - Plumbing
    Houston, TX - 09/25/17
  • Darrell is a very professional plumber. He is knowledgeable and detail-oriented and knows how to diagnose and fix a job.


    - Plumbing
    Houston, TX - 09/21/17
  • Had a repair done to my hot water heater. Russel Herd was the Service Tech sent to perform the repair. Mr. Herd was very professional, personable, and highly competent. He was on time and made sure I fully understood what he was doing and why before he started the job. He was not only thorough, but he also made sure he cleaned up after he was finished making sure my house was just as it was before he arrived. He did an outstanding job. I would highly recommend John Moore Services to anyone. Thank you Mr. Herd and John Moore Services.


    - Plumbing
    Houston, TX - 09/10/17

 

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