Sewer Backups – A Homeowner’s Nightmare

Did you see the news story on Channel 9, KMBC, recently regarding the homeowner whose sewer was backing up in the basement?  According to the plumber (serviced by Bob Hamilton Plumbing) who cleaned out the line, the cause was tree roots.  Due to the dry conditions we have been experiencing for the last year, trees are searching for water and one source is your water lines.  It can turn into a homeowner’s nightmare.

 This incident confirmed what happened at our home recently.   The house was built in 1960 so we have clay pipes and large trees.  Having lived in the house for 17 years we learned it was necessary to have our lines cleaned out annually to prevent backups – which can easily happen when there is a lot of rain too.  So the lines were inspected and rooted out late in the summer. Despite this, an issue arose on January 1st with water backing up in the basement.  Tree roots were again found in our clay pipes and one of the theories was that because of the drought, our big old maple tree in the front yard was desperate for moisture, thus infiltrating the line.  This experience demonstrates how dry it is and how aggressive trees can be. It had only been 4-5 months since the main line had been cleared.

 What can be done?  Clay pipe is very durable but when you start having serious, consistent issues it may be best to replace the lines.  What I learned from the news report above is that there is a way to replace underground sewer lines without digging up the yard or tearing out concrete.  According to the Bob Hamilton website, it’s a trenchless pipe line that creates a new permanent pipe inside the old existing pipe.  The material of the pipe is polyethylene and is stronger than current pipes, guaranteed to last 50 years.  Other advantages for this type of repair is that it can be done more quickly, with less expense and tree roots cannot penetrate the new pipe as it is “jointless”.

 All houses require maintenance, and the older the home, the more there is to update.  So here’s another project we need to plan for, but it will give us peace of mind for years to come.


(Disclaimer:  Gutter Cover Kansas City® is not endorsing Bob Hamilton Plumbing.  While Bob Hamilton Plumbing is a reputable company there are other plumbing companies that perform a similar service.  The choice of a plumber is up to the consumer.)