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Septic field pipe repair can be one of the most complex plumbing repairs you may be faced with as a homeowner. This is not necessarily because the repair itself is difficult, or complicated – after all, it is just a pipe. The difficulty is in finding the location of the problem itself… the place where the repair needs to be made.
If you read our article on absorption fields, you should have a good idea how they work. We also go into a little bit about how to know when you have a problem with yours. In this article, we will touch on some of the ways that an experienced plumber can go about finding the problem, and go about fixing it for you.
How to find a septic field problem
Keep in mind that septic fields can be laid out in a number of different ways. The simplest ones just have a single pipe that goes the length of the field. The more complex ones start with a single line, go into a distribution box, and then branch out from there. Still others will branch off even further into a number of other lines.
Having direct access to the line that is having a problem is always best. If you can access a single line, or the distribution box (to find which “branch” has the problem), things become much simpler. In these cases, the best course of action is to access the line with a hydro jetter to get the line unclogged (if possible), and find the problem with a sewer camera.
Bear in mind that using standard drain cleaning equipment is not a good idea with septic field pipes, as there is a chance of damaging the pipes, or getting stuck. Hydro jetting is the best way to go usually). The goal is the get the pipe to drain enough to be able to see the problem with a sewer camera. Then, with the location equipment attached to the camera, you will know exactly where the problem is.
This does not always work, or course… especially with more complex layouts, but it is a good place to start. If this is not a viable option, manual searching is pretty much the only other alternative. This is usually done by introducing more water into the lines, and carefully using a “tile probe” to find where the water bubbles to the surface the most. This can be very time consuming, and is a mixture of art and science. Still, it can often get you close enough to the problem that a shovel and some detective work can the plumber the rest of the way there.
While there are several reasons that a septic leach field may have a problem, there are really only a couple options for fixing them.
One of them is to make a repair to the pipe itself. The other is to relocate the leach field. Leach field pipe repairs are fairly straight forward, once the problem is found. That is not always the best course of action to take, however. Sometimes the best way to go is to relocate the field entirely.
An experienced plumber will be able to explain your options, including the pros and cons of each option. At Gogo Rooter Plumbing, we have professional plumbers that are highly trained and experienced with septic absorption fields. Call us today, and we will come out, take a look, and give you a free, no obligation estimate for diagnosing your septic field problems for you.