Unlike old soldiers who never die, sewer pipes have long, but limited, lifetimes.
Sewer pipes aren’t something homeowners usually think about: They’re out of sight and usually out of mind–until they clog or break down. As with many things, good maintenance is the key to avoiding a nasty sewer surprise. If you get your pipes regularly inspected by an experienced plumber, you’re likely to catch any problem before it becomes a smelly and expensive emergency.
Average pipe lifetimes range from 50 to 100 years or more, depending on the pipe materials. But tree root intrusion, accidents of nature, or poor maintenance can shorten pipe life. The good news is that when your sewer pipes need repair or replacement, new technologies are available to do the job quickly and cleanly.
It used to be that replacing a sewer pipe required digging up the old pipes, and jack-hammering the driveway, lawn, sidewalk, and street to connect your sewer pipe (called a side sewer) to the city sewer line in the street. This is a costly and time-consuming procedure. In the last 25 years or so trenchless (no-digging) technologies have become more widely used for sewage systems. These eliminate the jack-hammer and the mess.
The trenchless technologies began to be developed in the 1980s as cities in Japan and other countries needed to install more sewer systems. In the United States, the oil industry developed the technologies for horizontal drilling. Key to the new technologies was the ability to use a remote camera to see what was going on inside a pipe.
Here are some of the different trenchless methods for replacing or repairing pipes.
* A new pipe, slightly smaller in diameter than the old one, can be pulled through the old pipe.
* Water or air can be used to insert a fabric tube impregnated with resin inside the old pipe Then steam or hot water is used to “cure” or harden the resin to line the old pipe. The resin fabric will fill in any cracks that may be in the old pipe. This is called “cured-in-place” pipe.
* Slip-lining inserts a new pipe into the old one, and grouts up the space between the new and old pipe.
* A mortar or resin lining can be sprayed into the old pipe with a remotely controlled sprayer.
* The pipe can be replaced section by section, at the same time that the old pipe is destroyed by bursting.
Is Trenchless for You?
When you need new sewer pipes, check with a professional plumber to see whether the trenchless technology is the best method for replacing your sewer pipes. Going trenchless is more expensive than the conventional method, but you have to consider the time involved and the additional costs of replacing what’s dug up. These costs can be considerable, depending on where your side sewer is and how much lawn, driveway, sidewalk, and street you have to replace.
Drain Pro Plumbing is experienced in sewer maintenance, repair, and replacement. We’ll discuss with you the best option for your situation and give you a free estimate for the work. Our prices are fair, and we’ll beat any other estimate by 5 percent. Call us at 253-236-5000.