When Should a Drain Line Be Replaced?

Drains are a critical component of plumbing that we often take for granted, until they stop working. Stating the obvious, drains take the used, dirty water away from the home, and when they don’t work properly, we end up with standing pools of soiled water, filled with food particles, chemicals, dirt, debris, or waste.

Whether these nasty puddles are in your sink, tub, toilet, or floor drain, they’ll attract bacteria and vermin, cause foul odors, and hinder your full use of the drains and faucets in your home.

In some cases, these drain back-ups will be due to a momentary clog, and once that clog is cleared, things will flow as they should. But more serious problems may need to be addressed through a full replacement of the drain system itself.

Call John Stevenson Plumbing to see if your drains need replacing!

Signs That Your Drain Line Needs Replacement

Slow Drains

It may be tempting to think that a slow drain merely has a partial clog that will work itself out. But if the problem persists, it could be a symptom of a bigger issue, usually speaking to some kind of damage to the pipes.

Puddles of Water

Standing water in a place where it doesn’t belong should not be ignored. If you notice puddles or moisture anywhere in your home that you wouldn’t expect, or unexplained pools of water in your yard, you may have a damaged pipe.

Bad Smells

A foul odor is a telltale sign of something gone wrong. An unexpected bad smell, either in the house or around it, will point to moisture and waste in places they don’t belong. You might even notice an unpleasant smell coming from the drain itself.

Unusually Lush Areas in the Yard

If you notice that a particular patch of grass or other plant in your yard is suddenly looking much healthier and greener than surrounding vegetation, there may be a leak in a drain pipe or sewage line. These lucky plants are benefiting from the many fertilizing nutrients coming from your drain line.


More-than-average levels of insects, followed by their predators (i.e., rodents and other vermin) can be a sign of major drain problems. Sewage and still water are particularly alluring to bugs, and once they settle in, mice and rats won’t be far behind.

Constant Drain Problems

Are you still seeing slow drainage or backed up drains after constant repairs or maintenance? This could be a sign of a larger issue with your drain than just the symptoms addressed by previous repairs.

If you’re seeing one or more of the symptoms above
in your home, contact our team to learn more.

Why Do I Have a Slow Drain?

A slow drain is one of the first symptoms of a faulty drain line that homeowners will notice. A good plumber, like the team at John Stevenson, can use their expertise and specialized equipment to diagnose the cause of a backup or slow drain and get your pipes back to working order.

The causes are varied, but common ones include:

Pipe Rupture or Breakage

For a variety of reasons, older or poorly installed pipes can break open, spilling their contents and becoming obstructed with debris in the process. Instead of continuing down the drain line, liquids stop at the breakpoint, flooding the pipe and making for a less efficient flow, causing a backup at the drain.

Partial Clog Attracting More Debris

Small pieces of debris can stick to the inside of a pipe. Gradually, these pieces of debris will snowball until the walls of the pipe are coated in sludge, which can harden and obstruct the pipe.

Tree Root Intrusion

Though they grow and move slowly, tree roots can pack a punch to pipes — either by pushing on a pipe over time, causing a break, or even finding their way inside the pipe and causing an obstruction. Root intrusion is one of the main reasons why drain lines in San Diego need replacement, along with aging infrastructure.

Shift in the Ground Around the Pipes

Whether through erosion, seismic activity, or some other means, the earth surrounding a pipe can move and shift, taking the pipe with it and breaking the drain line’s comparatively rigid shape.

If your drain line has been compromised, John Stevenson Plumbing can assist you in a full drain line replacement in the San Diego area. Our team can perform drain line replacements in a variety of conditions — including underground and under crawl spaces. We use a full arsenal of modern methods such as trenchless sewer lining or relining and pipe bursting techniques.

Call John Stevensons Plumbing today to learn more about how we can assist your home or business with expert plumbing services in San Diego, CA.


What is the average cost to replace a sewer line?

Sewer pipe replacement costs depend on how long your line is, where it exists on your property, and the type of plumbing in place. Figures from HomeAdvisor have shown that the average homeowner spends between $50 and $125 per square foot. This will vary depending on the type of pipe you put in.

    How often does a sewer line need to be replaced?

    Sewer lines are made to last a long time. Depending on what the plumbing is made of, the sewer main can last from 50 to 100 years. If you aren’t sure how old your sewer line is, you can usually determine it by the age of your home. If you live in an older house, it’s wise to get an inspection to make sure there are no current or developing issues with the pipe.

    When is it possible to patch a sewer line?

    When a sewer line springs a leak in the beginning or middle of its lifespan, it can often be patched with epoxy putty or a pipe patching kit. You’ll need an inspection to determine whether or not this is the case with your leaking sewer line.

    When does it make sense to repair a sewer line?

    If your sewer line is younger than 50 years old, you may be able to get away with a simple repair when things go awry. Sometimes, plumbing technicians can isolate the impacted segment of pipe and provide a repair in that spot. However, if you notice the signs of failure mentioned above, your line will need to be completely replaced.