The Homeowners Guide to Sewer Taps

The Homeowners Guide to Sewer Taps

Metal Sewer Cover

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When you’re already using it, the city sewer system is a convenience that’s easy to take for granted. Tap into it for the first time, though, and you’ll find there’s more to it than flipping a switch.

Whether you need a sewer faucet for a new home or because you’re tired of your septic tank, understanding how these accessories work can save you time and hassle.

Reading: How to connect to sewer system

the role of the sewer tap

A sewer faucet is the connection between your home’s lateral sewer (waste line) and the municipal sewer system. The pipe fitting that forms this connection allows wastewater from your home to flow into the sewer system, so you don’t need a septic tank to contain it. it also forms a seal that prevents wastewater from escaping into the ground.

If you are building a new home or switching your current home from a septic tank to the municipal system, you will need to apply for permits and hire a plumbing contractor to connect your home to a sewer faucet.

installing your sewer faucet

Connecting to a municipal sewer system is not a cheap or quick project. The cost of permits and labor varies widely by location, but typically ranges from $3,000 to $10,000.

Most likely, the sewer faucet on your property has already been installed by the municipality, capped and waiting until someone needs it. in this case, you will need to apply for permits to use the faucet and then hire a contractor to make the connection.

If there isn’t a sewer faucet, your city water utility or your contractor may be able to install one for you. however, there is a limit to the number of taps a city sewer line can support, so you may not be able to access your city’s system. this is one of the main reasons many homes end up using a septic tank.

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Before considering connecting your home to the sewer system, call your local water utility and ask if a sewer faucet is available for your address, where it is located, and the cost of the faucet fee.

When you’re sure you’ll be able to use the city’s system, you can start looking for licensed plumbing contractors to do sewer hookups. your city’s water utility might even be able to give you a list of licensed contractors. while some contractors handle all the permitting for you, others require you to do the paperwork yourself.

If you need to do the permits yourself, you’ll usually need to first apply for a sewer faucet permit and wait for the city to do an inspection. The contractor may also require you to obtain a right-of-way permit before you can begin work.

Once all the paperwork is in order, your contractor will come in to install a sewer lateral that runs from your house to the municipal main sewer. The job requires the contractor to dig a trench for the pipe, so be prepared to damage your lawn.

if your sewer lateral is already in place, the contractor will try to line it up with the sewer faucet to avoid having to move it.

If you have a septic system, the contractor will shut it down, usually by filling it with sand or gravel. most of the work can be done in a day, although it can take more than eight hours.

After the work is done, the faucet should be inspected by the city health department or other competent authority to ensure that your home’s sewer lateral and sewer faucet are properly installed and that the septic system, if there is, it is well closed.

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maintaining your sewer faucet

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Your sewer faucet is considered part of your home’s sewer lateral, so it’s up to you, not the city, to maintain it. For the most part, however, the faucet itself requires almost no maintenance. protecting it from damage is primarily a matter of keeping its side clear of obstructions.

Over time, even well-maintained sewer faucets wear out or become loose and need to be replaced. When this happens, you may not realize something is wrong until you get a letter from the city inspector.

In other cases, a plumber clearing a clog or repairing a leak in your sewer lateral might spot a problem with the faucet. This is one of the reasons an annual plumbing inspection is so valuable.

Your plumber can use video inspection equipment to check your plumbing system and report any problems with your sewer faucet or other parts of the system. this way you will have time to plan the repairs. The plumber can also tell you what may have caused the damage, so you can prevent it from happening again.

If the sewer faucet fitting needs to be replaced, a licensed contractor can do the job and then arrange for city inspectors to come in to confirm everything is up to code.

Tapping into your city’s sewer system can save you the hassle of maintaining a septic tank. While the job itself only takes a day, you may need a few weeks to get through all the red tape involved.

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If you’re thinking of installing a sewer faucet, start by talking to your local water utility to find out if it’s possible and what kind of permits you’ll need.

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