$12,000 to Replace a Sewer Line... too expensive?

10 Replies

Recently purchased a rental built in 1910. We had the sewer line scoped before closing so we knew there could be potential problems and that $12k would be the worst case scenario if we had to replace it. Well, we have to replace it. We would like to hold this property long term (10 years or so) so we want to fix it right. I’m just wondering if 12k is a bit high? This is a bid to pipe burst and replace the old clay pipe with one piece seamless brand new pipe. No digging up of the yard or concrete patio required. 20 year warranty. If the existing pipe collapses before we have the job done the price goes up. The advantage of doing it now is that we can roll the cost into the renovation loan. If we wait, we’ll have to figure out where the money is coming from. The downside is we don’t get to charge higher rent for a new sewer line so keeping that cost down is the concern. I’ve never had to deal with sewer line issues so am grateful for advice.

Get more bids.  I've had bids on the same sewer line replacement job vary as much as $9000 vs. $4000.

Replacing the sewer line isn't going to let you get higher rents.

@Tania Kenner Our rule in the company is below $2,500 one bid, below $8k, two bids, below $20k 4 bids, above $20k 7 bids. Why are you worried about paying the 12k? You already discounted that while making the offer right? Or did you tweak the numbers to make it work? It should be if the numbers work at worst case scenario.

Before investing that much money I would get multiple estimates without informing each company about this estimate. Then you can make an educated decision about if this cost is needed and within the normal costs for your area.

I've had several bids for similar work in the past and pipe bursting seems to be a fairly expensive option. Is there a reason you're going that route? That said, I agree with the posters above- with a job that costly, I'd get a minimum of five bids. Good luck!

I just had my sewer line replaced at my primary residence last week.  This was not a pipe bursting job.  Rather they dug a trench and put in PVC.  No work was done inside the home, that is, the pipe was replaced in the front lawn from the home to the curb.  Cost:  $6,521.00

The cost depends a lot on how many feet are being replaced.  With this info you may be able to get rough quotes without them coming out. Photos of the land would be helpful especially if you want to price the digging method as well as the burst method. Digging is generally pricier.

Consider yourselves lucky you don't live in the Bay Area.  Cities are routinely requiring inspections of all sewer lines as part of the sale of all houses.  Since most houses are older pretty much every single one fails their test and the seller is then required to replace the line.  

It's funny, you can now tell exactly which houses will be coming up for sale based on the triangle patch job in the street from the repair.

Get more bids. Go to your Sewer Districts website for a list of qualified contracts accepted by your municipality. Also, ask your sewer district if it has a rebate program. I got a $2k grant/rebate.

Had to replace 150 LF when I bought my Bay Area home. Seller had a $13k bid. I found a bid for $9k. Get more bids.

At one of my rentals, the town came through and put in municipal sewer. The homeowners were required to hook up to it at their expense. It cost me $2500. That included emptying the septic ($300ish). I had about 25 feet dug up and pipe run. They also fixed the lawn and laid seed/straw down.

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