Ways to avoid the most expensive plumbing repairs

Major plumbing problems are generally rare, but—when they do happen—they can take a serious bite out of your household budget. Pipe leaks, slab leaks, sewer line repairs, and other projects can run in the thousands of dollars. Your priority, when possible, should be preventing these problems from happening or, at the very least, taking fast action and bringing in a professional when they do.


No matter what their origin is—deteriorating pipe material, a home shifting, improper installation, or damage from a kitchen or bathroom remodel—water leaks are bad news for your home. Water damage can destroy floors and harm your home’s foundation, structure, and walls. 

Left untreated, water damage presents an opportunity for mold growth behind walls, in basements, and in other places. The costs of repairing water damage can vary depending on the scope of this damage: at its worst, pipe leaks involve hidden leak detection, extensive pipe repair, structural repair, and mold remediation.

While not every leak is avoidable, there are some things you can do to protect your home. Many leaks originate from a frozen pipe that has burst open under the pressure. To prevent your pipes from freezing, keep your home’s furnace in proper condition and talk to your local plumber about insulating your pipes in exterior walls. While they’re at your home, ask about the overall condition of your pipes: if you own an older home, it might be time for whole-home repiping. Fixing individual leaks when the overall pipe integrity is failing might be akin to playing a game of whack-a-mole.


Your home’s sewer line plays an irreplaceable role in your home, carrying wastewater away from your sinks, showers, and toilets to the municipal sewer. Buried under your front or side yard and connected to the street, your sewer line mostly works as intended. Problems with this line, however, can lead to disaster. Two of the most common issues sewer lines face are cracks and clogs.


Over time, a sewer line might crack or fracture due to shifting earth surrounding it, intrusive tree roots reaching around it, or the line material deteriorating. These cracks start small, but can lead to big problems. First, any leak in the line will attract nearby tree roots thirsting for water and nutrients. These roots can quickly break into the line and start to obstruct it. Most homeowners first notice a sewer line leak when they see a perpetually wet spot of earth above the line or smell the problem in their front yard.


We’ve already mentioned how sewer lines can clog due to tree root intrusion. However, far more sewer line clogs are accidentally caused by homeowners. Many kitchen staples are considered “high-risk” items for sewer lines: they have a tendency to adhere to the interior walls and start forming a clog. Infamously, this includes cooking grease, but cooking oil, eggshells, uncooked pasta and rice, coffee grounds, and flour can also be dangerous to the line. Never dispose of these in the kitchen sink: throw them in the trash bin instead.

As a sewer line starts to partially clog, you may notice your drains working more slowly than usual. When the clog completely restricts movement through the line, all of your drains will clog simultaneously. This is the final warning of an impending sewer backup. Immediately turn off the water supply and call a local, certified plumber.


If your home’s sewer line does need repairs, ask your local plumber about the potential for trenchless repairs. Apollo Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning specializes in this less intrusive and less expensive method of line replacement. 

Here’s how it works: the plumber either inserts the new line into the old one, or uses the old line to “guide” a new line—all without the need for any excavation or physical access to the line. Trenchless repairs are safer, easier, faster, and cheaper. These days, this makes them the preferred method for replacing a sewer line.


Slab leaks, water heater replacement, and pipe scaling round out the list of the most pricey plumbing repairs. Here’s what these plumbing issues have in common: you need to act fast and call in a professional. No plumbing problem repairs itself. Never procrastinate when faced with an emergency. Be decisive and call a local plumber for emergency service. This will help limit the extent of the damage—and your repair costs.

Ready to learn even more about the plumbing projects described above? Be sure to check out this infographic below. It contains a detailed breakdown of the typical costs of pipe leaks, sewer line repair, and other projects.

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    Apollo jetted the basement drain line in our old 1927 Portland house. The line has been backing up thru the floor drain for a while. The technician cleared out the line with the hydro-jet, and it’s running great now. On-time and professional!


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    Apollo Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning was on time, professional, and very knowledgeable. He took the time to inspect our rain drain to our dry well and do everything he could to alleviate the issue. I would highly recommend Apollo, they were informative and straight forward. Honesty is obviously a value they uphold for their customers.


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    I can’t begin to tell you how pleased we were with the service we received today from Anthony. He was incredibly personable and friendly. He went above and beyond and made the service call painless. Anthony took care of our clogged train in no time. Apollo and Anthony are the best! We highly recommend them.


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