If you’re like most homeowners, you probably wish that your sewer line would just mind its own business without requiring any attention from you. But sewer lines can become damaged by the roots from nearby trees, or even simply crack in an earthquake or start to wear out due to age.
Fortunately, you have options when these problems arise. You should ideally learn about those options in advance so you know what to do when the time comes. Here are three sewer line procedures and why you might need them.
Sewer line inspections are the first step when something goes wrong. If your drains have started backing up or slowing down, there could be an issue such as sewer line damage or even a completely collapsed sewer line. A video inspection can clarify what the issue is and where along the pipe the problem lies. Signs you need an inspection include:
- You notice bad smells coming from your drains or marshy, extra-green spots in your lawn above the sewer line
- You’re considering buying the house and want to make sure there are no problems
While a video inspection can’t always find a leak, it can often find other problem spots such as a place where the line is broken or where tree roots enter the line. This can help an experienced technician to assess how best to proceed with repairs or replacement of your sewer line.
2. Trenchless Pipe Repair
Pipe relining is a great modern way to solve some sewer line problems that would otherwise require more invasive procedures to access the line. With relining, minimal digging is needed and no trenches are required, which is why this technique is described as “trenchless.”
Relining can involve either using an epoxy-like coating to cover the inside of the current pipe (this works best if the pipe doesn’t have huge gaps, since the coating needs a pipe surface to attach to), or placing a new pipe inside the existing pipe. Both methods can reduce flow somewhat.
You may need this type of pipe repair if:
- You have problems with leaks and pipe deterioration
- Video inspection shows severely broken pipes or lots of tree roots
Talk to your contractor about whether relining is right for you. If your sewer line is already on the small side, relining may not be the solution for you because it tends to make the line even smaller. In this scenario, you may find that you need a complete replacement. And relining doesn’t work in every case.
3. Sewer Line Replacement
Traditional sewer line replacement involves digging a trench down the length of the line in order to access and replace the pipe. Many homeowners dread this option, especially if they’ve installed a deck or elegant landscaping beds above the sewer line. However, not every sewer line replacement needs to be done via excavation.
Even if the trenchless repair options above aren’t right for your situation, you may be able to get a trenchless sewer line replacement done through a technique called pipe bursting. Some factors such as groundwater and soil type may limit the suitability of pipe bursting in some cases, so ask your contractor if it’s right for your situation.
Unlike relining, pipe bursting can work even on collapsed sewer lines in some cases (though not all). And even better, pipe bursting can actually allow the placement of a new line that’s higher-capacity than the old one. Pipe bursting typically requires digging two access holes. However, this is still minimally invasive compared to total excavation.
These three sewer line procedures can really save the day when sewer issues arise. Streamline Plumbing can help you with sewer inspections, repairs, and replacements, whether your problems arise from an aging sewer line or from a tree root infestation cracking open the pipe. Get in touch today to learn more about what we can do for you.