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Is Trenchless Sewer Replacement a Good Idea?

Most sewer pipe repairs are made by digging trenches around pipes and fixing the issues at hand, but there are a lot of problems with this method. For starters, it can cause extensive property damage. Additionally, the costs can be enormous.

Trenchless sewer replacement is sometimes a much cheaper option, but many people don’t know it exists. Using this method can be the better choice for a lot of homeowners. If you’re considering trenchless sewer replacement, here’s what you need to know.

What is trenchless sewer replacement?

Traditional sewer repair requires digging trenches around pipes to get to the problem. Depending on where your pipe is located, this can be a very destructive procedure. But trenchless sewer repair, on the other hand, can be compared to a non-invasive surgery.

There are several trenchless methods plumbers use for this type of repair. These include slip lining, cured-in-place (CIPP) lining, and pipe bursting. Slip lining was the first trenchless technique developed. To perform this method, plastic sewer pipe lining is usually threaded through the damaged pipe to line its interior.

Cured-in-place lining uses a fiberglass liner drenched in epoxy and inserted into the damaged pipe. Once inside, a special rubber balloon is inflated, pressing the liner against the inside of the pipe. It’s then cured for several hours and the balloon is removed.

Pipe bursting is a method through which entrance and exit holes are dug on either side of the pipe, where it’s damaged. A bursting head attachment is then inserted into the pipe, using a cable. As this head is pulled through, it bursts the pipe and pushes it out of the way. Finally, a new pipe is inserted in its place.

What are the advantages of trenchless over traditional sewer replacement?

Digging trenches to get to the sewer pipe can wreak havoc on the surrounding property. Depending on where it’s located, you may have to dig up landscaping, concrete, and sometimes even pavement. If the pipes are located under a street, you’ll have to involve your city officials. This could mean having to pay people to re-route traffic, repair the roadways, and work overtime.

The main advantage of trenchless sewer repair is that none of that is necessary. Any of the methods used only require small openings that are easily covered back up. You’ll also avoid the added cost of repairs should you have to tear up any surfaces.

Another advantage is that you can sometimes prolong the life of old pipes. These older pipes can contain lead or corrosion that is unsafe for your water supply. But using a method like CCIP or slip lining will provide a seal to keep those materials out of the water. Trenchless sewer replacement also adds durability to these old pipes, prolonging their usefulness for up to 50 years in some cases.

Is trenchless sewer replacement always an option?

Unfortunately, there are times when trenchless sewer repair is simply not an option. In such cases, the damage may be too extensive to be repairable. As such, completely new piping often has to be installed. Another situation where traditional repair is needed is if the pipes are too old. Even though trenchless techniques can help seal old pipes to prolong their life, sometimes the corrosion damage is just too extensive.

Trenchless sewer replacement takes a highly-skilled professional with extensive knowledge about the technique. It requires much more accuracy and precision than traditional plumbing. This means it’s not always easy to find a plumber who performs it. If you live in a small rural area with one plumber, for example, it may not be an option. Or, you may have to pay someone a lot more to come from further away.