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Do You Have Home Sewer Line Coverage?

Home Repair.

Did you know that you are responsible for the sewer line from your house to the street? What happens when a tree root infiltrates your sewer line? Most home owners in the Des Moines area know they can purchase water line insurance coverage from the street to their house but the sewer line is not included in that coverage.

Depending your home’s age, your sewer line could be made of one of the following:

Clay – From 1900 to about 1920, clay was often used in home sewer line construction. Generally very porous, clay has a tendency to soften and crack, which leads to problems with tree roots growing inside the pipes and clogging them. 

Concrete – In the 1920s and 1930s, concrete was often used. Very prone to cracking and breaking, this material also resulted in problems with tree roots and leakages.

Cast Iron – Cast iron has been used almost since the beginning, but was very popular in the 1950s and 1960s. While extremely strong, it has a tendency to rust and corrode over time. 

Orangeburg – A very popular sewer line material from the 1950s to the 1970s, Orangeburg was made of layers of compressed layers of coal tar and wood. The trades virtually abandoned Orangeburg when it was deemed too soft and apt to deteriorate underground.

PVC – Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, is the most commonly used material in modern sewer pipes because it’s durable, relatively inexpensive, resistant to chemicals and easy to joint. It is a plastic derivative that comes in either white or grey. 

ABS – Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, or ABS, is also a plastic derivative, most often seen as a black pipe. It, too, is extremely durable and heat resistant, although it can be affected by ultraviolet rays. While similar in dimension, ABS and PVC should not be used together in sewer lines because of their different expansion rates.

Most municipalities now have codes that dictate the type of material that should be used for your sewer line, usually PVC, ABS or sometimes cast iron. It is important to check with your local building department or sewer septic contractor before doing any sewer line installation or repair.

If you own a home or are buying a home built prior to 1970, you may be wise to purchase Sewer/Septic Line coverage. One company in our area that provides this type of insurance is HomeServe.

Click To Download contact and coverage information from HomeServe. Currently annual coverage only costs $120/year.





About Les Sulgrove

Les is an Iowa native born in Des Moines and raised in the southwest Iowa town of Bridgewater. He has been a resident of Des Moines since 1982 and has been married to his wife Linda for over 35 years. Together they have 3 grown children, 7 grandchildren and make their home on Des Moines south side. He has been a licensed REALTOR® since 1990 and is Vice President at VIA Group, REALTORS®. Les is the 2011 Past President of the Des Moines Area Association of REALTORS® (DMAAR) and received the award of Salesperson of the Year by DMAAR in 2007 for his involvement and service to the Association. Additionally, he is active at the Iowa Association of REALTORS® and serves on local, state and national committees. He also owns and operates the national technology networking group CyberProfessionals. This group of real estate professionals meets twice annually across the United States to learn from each other and share new marketing ideas with heavy emphasis on current and future technologies and their use in the real estate business. Les’ hobbies include golf, photography and sarcastic humor. He and Linda spend many Saturday mornings from Spring to Fall at the Des Moines Downtown Farmers Market. He enjoys spoiling his grandchildren at every opportunity.

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