Can One Man Replace a Drain Line

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    • #272401

      A plumber has informed me that my drain line from my back two bathrooms is broken. He snaked the line from the roof vent and showed me mud on the tip of the snake. He says he hit earth about five to eight feet after making the 45 degree turn toward the main drain tie in. He estimates his company will charge between $2500 and $3000 to dig up my drain line and replace the line from the bathroom to where it ties in with the main drain line and to the city tie in. My wife and I are expecting a baby and can’t afford this. Is this something I can do myself if I dig up the line? As an alternative, if I dig up the line to save on the labor will a plumber come in and make the repairs for me? What would be a reasonable rate for replacing the line which is no more than 40 yards total?

    • #285681

      In most states the homeowner can do thir own plumbing, elect, ect. as long as it is done right. Untill the home owner gets to a meter or the city property line then is when a pro is nessary.

    • #285682

      In the States maybe you can have anybody do the work. Please note, in Australia ONLY licensed contractors can do the work.
      There are small area’s we you can do work, like in the above problem. Yhe home owner can dig the hole to save money. But its illegal to work on the sewer or water supply directly.
      This goes for electrical work too.

    • #285683
      RJ MUheim

      Mr. Jones I dont know what area you live in but the state I live in and the states around me do not allow anyone who is not licensed to do this type of work, before you start this I would check with the local code office. The other thing to keep in mind is depending on the depth of the trenching that will be required for the new line you may have to install shoring per osha regs., what you dont want to happen is you start this on your on and be stopped due to permits etc. and you land up paying more then if you would have a contractor do it. Iam not tell you this scare you but it is something to keep in mind.. Good Luck

    • #285684


      Oh course you can do it yourself however, I seriously doubt the entire line needs to be replaced that would be incredibly rare. Get a second opinion.

      Snaking your main line should cost approx $75/ballpark. Get a reccomendation of a local drain cleaner and discuss on phone before having work done. If you’re comfortable with his attitude hire him to snake sewer. If line really does need repair his opinion should be consistant with first guy as both will have hit the same spot and had trouble getting thru or unable to clear.

      This does not mean 40 yards of sewer line need to be dug up and replaced! Chances are the line is ok up to that spot and ok beyond that spot. Roots cause almost all of these problems.

      Line can now be camera’ed and exact problem spot located. Total cost for camera and location in my area is $150, this is a very simple procedure. Now dig up and expose the pipe. Do it yourself or hire a laborer. Once pipe is exposed hire a plumber to make repair, again this is a very simple job and might take about 2 hrs, parts approx $50. Once pipe is cut open visually inspect the inside of pipe (lie on your stomach with a strong flashlight) or again hire camera to inspect remaining pipe.

      Have a cleanout installed at this spot for future access making any problems in the future much easier to clear.

      The profit in this job is for the plumber to handle the entire job and accept all liability and responsibility for a job well done. I can almost guarantee you he will not be digging the hole himself rather he will bring in laborers at $10 per hr and charge you $60 per. If you’re willing to accept the bulk of responsibility the price for entire job will be a fraction of his bid.

      Forget about permits, licenses, regulations! Nobody can restrict you from digging a hole on your own property that I’m aware of. Good luck, Lane.

    • #285685

      Hi Charles, A lot of times ILL tell many of my accounts that in order to save money they should expose the piping for me. If im paying an employee upwardsof$25 per hr you know I have to charge a min of $125 for each man hr worked.
      By you exposing the sewer line the plumbing contractor can actually how much piping has to be replaced and charge accordingly.

      Many of the home owners will expose either the drain line or water lines for me and this is a win win for both of us. This allows my to keep my mechanicson mechanic work and allows the home owners to get a price much lower.

      Material is normally half the labor cost so any digging you do is bound to save you atleast $1,000
      Good luck . If you have time try to go to the top of this page and click on “PLUMBVIEWS” top left hand corner and look for articles by me Sylvan Tieger as to what a home owner should be able to do and not to do.


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