Sewer Line Repair Explained
As far as plumbing goes, people rarely give much thought as to what goes on beneath the surface. Although your pipes and sewer lines get a lot of action on a daily basis, you rarely pay attention to them until an issue arises and you have to call in a plumber. When it comes to sewer line repair, you usually have several options depending on the situation.
There are a lot of things that can cause damage to your sewer lines. These could be completely natural causes that are beyond your control such as tree roots. It can also be clogs caused by wrong practices such as flushing paper towels, and other types of foreign objects down your toilet. Some sewer lines can also break down due to corrosion and old age. No matter the type of damage or what has caused it, one thing is certain; sewer line repair can be quite challenging. Also, most times it leaves a big unsanitary mess that might require lots of invasive digging and further damage to floors and walls.
However, no matter how difficult the process is, if your sewer line ever gets clogged or damaged, you have to invite a technician in to have it checked and repaired. But how does the process of sewer line repair really work? Let’s examine it.
Inspection and Diagnosis
The very first step in sewer line repair is inspection and diagnosis. In the past, a lot of guesswork and invasive digging was involved in the process of locating the exact cause of damage in a sewer line. These days, technology has sewer line repair a lot easier. The problem is detected in no time and with no digging at all.
Using the latest video camera technology, plumbers can easily locate the source of the problem in the sewer line. A water-proof fiber-optic camera is introduced into the line to inspect and diagnose the issue. Typically, the possible types of damages that can be discovered during a sewer line inspection include the following:
Possible types of damages
- Broken or cracked pipes: Pipes can be cracked or completely collapsed as a result of shifting soil, settling, and frozen ground among other causes
- Blockage: foreign objects like sanitary towels, grease build up plastic toys and even some types of tissue can block the sewer line causing waste to back up. Also, a tree root can grow into the sewer line causing damage in the pipes and blocking the normal flow of sewage through the line
- Corroded pipes: with time, steel pipes can become deteriorated due to corrosion and will collapse leading to restricted flow
- Leakages: seals between pipe joints can become broken causing water and waste to leak from the pipe into the surrounding area
It is the work of your plumber to first identify the type of damage in your sewer line. This will determine the type of sewer line repair necessary. Sometimes, simply cabling the line will be just enough to clear any obstructions. In other cases, hydro jetting is recommended especially when you are dealing with roots and other forms of stubborn obstruction. However, in some cases, completely relining a section of the sewer line might be required.
Methods of Repair
Cabling and Hydro Jetting
If you have a sewer line obstruction, your plumber might get rid of the blockage by either cabling the line or pressure jetting it. The result of the inspection will determine which of the sewer line repair methods will be used. However, most experts agree that hydro jetting is a more effective and thorough method of getting rid of stubborn obstructions in your sewer line.
Once the exact point of clog has been determined by inspection, a Hydrojet hose is inserted into the line. This hose is able to deliver water at a pressure of 5,000 psi. This is usually done several times until the obstruction is completely scoured clean and every stubborn blockage is removed.
Cabling is also a popular method used to clear up the obstruction. However, it isn’t as effective as Hydro jetting. In some cases, cabling your sewer line will only bore a hole through the obstruction. Also, cabling is only effective for a distance of 100 ft. On the other hand, hydro jetting completely scours the line clearing out all the debris including the very stubborn ones like tree roots. So, when it’s between cabling and hydro jetting, hydro jetting is almost always the best choice.
Relining a pipe
Relining is one of the most common sewer line repair methods. The process involves creating a new pipe within your old pipe in order to restore flow. This is done using an Epoxy material which molds within the old pipe to form a smooth inner wall very much like the lining within food cans.
Relining is usually used to fix cracks and holes in old and damaged pipes. It can also be used to fill in missing pipes or seal broken joint connections in the sewer line. It typically involves a little bit of invasive digging through your building clean out access. When handled by a professional relining a pipe can be is simple and effective. The repair is quite durable with a potential of lasting you for quite a long time especially when quality materials are used.
Trench Method of Sewer Line Repair
Since sewer lines are usually located underground beneath concrete floors and slabs, repair of damaged pipe sections usually requires plumbing technicians to excavate or dig trenches to access the damaged pipe and replace it with new ones. Damage could be a result of extensive corrosion, or compressions. If the pipe has been broken severely, the best line of action is to cut a trench to reach the sewer line and carry out the repair.
Once the repair is completed, the trench is backfilled. Although the open trench method can be costly and destructive to properties, there are cases where it is the best course of action. However, a good plumber will still ensure that minimal damage is done to your property in the process.
Advanced technology has now made it possible for plumbing technicians to repair cracked or burst pipe effectively without invasive digging. Trenchless sewer line repair is a highly efficient technique for restoring pipes without destroying your landscape.
After carrying out a thorough inspection of your sewer line to identify the damaged portion, the line is accessed from the shallowest point; typically an area in your basement or anywhere outside your home. The pipe is then flushed out using a Hydro Jetting machine. A mechanical plumbing snake can also be inserted into the line to remove any debris that remains.
With the sewer line completely cleared out, a new pipelining will be inserted into the line and pulled in along the line of the previous pipe. It is then left to cure. This new line is made from a resin which hardens after a while. It replaces your old damaged line with minimal digging required. Once the replacement is done, the line is inspected again to ensure that everything is in place.
Fixing sewer line damages can be challenging. But with a good plumber like Mr. Speedy on call, you don’t need to worry. Mr. Speedy Plumbing and Rooter Inc. has state of the art equipment to handle any form of sewer line repair. With qualified and experienced plumbers handling your sewer line repairs, you can breathe easy and breathe easy at affordable prices.