Preserve Your Property With “No-Dig” Sewer Line Repair
For homeowners, damaged sewer pipes are a nightmare on many levels. Aside from the obvious disruption it causes, a sewer line problem can also wreck your yard. That’s because very often, sewer contractors dig trenches in order to access the underground pipes.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re a homeowner with damaged sewer pipes, you might want to consider the less invasive solution called “trenchless sewer line repair”. No trenches, and minimal digging — so minimal, in fact, that the industry term for this type of repair is “no-dig”.
What’s the Problem With Traditional Trenching?
There’s really no problem with the traditional means of fixing sewer pipes if you don’t mind having your property torn up.
Traditional trenching is an older but common way to safely and easily access underground pipes. It’s a proven, low-tech approach that’s older than the hills, which is why so many contractors still use it.
In fact, there are lots of contractors who aren’t aware of or who don’t have the equipment and expertise to use no-dig techniques. They still use traditional trenching. It works, but the problem is:
It truly wreaks havoc on your property!
Homeowners face the following headaches when their plumber-contractor uses the traditional method of repairing sewer lines:
- Cutting through the driveway
- Tearing apart any hardscaping you may have: patio, outdoor kitchen, retaining walls, pavers, pathways, etc
- Uprooting the landscaping on your property
- Disrupting irrigation lines
- Damaging trees and shrubs
Plus, when industrial-sized trenches have to be dug, there’s an entire slew of permits and approvals that will be required. Very often, the digging might even extend beyond your own property and into the street. When repairs call for that level of disruption, traffic will need to be rerouted and the entire neighborhood will be affected. That could also mean a temporary shutdown of services for other homes in the area.
Can Sewer Line Repair Really be “Trenchless”?
Yes, it can. Your underground pipes can be fixed using proven techniques that are non-invasive. That means minimal digging (“no-dig”) and no wide-open, gaping trenches scarring your property or the area in front of your home.
It’s a technology that’s actually been around for about two decades now.
Still, many homeowners aren’t aware of trenchless technology so to help you out, here are answers to the most commonly-asked questions that we hear around the shop at Daniel Fish Plumbing.
Trenchless Sewer Line FAQ’s
Here are some FAQ’s to keeo you in the know before having your sewer line repaired or replaced.
1. What is trenchless sewer repair?
This is an industry term referring to any time when underground drains or sewer pipes are repaired or replaced without having to dig a trench. It’s a newer technique than digging trenches and saves homeowners the hassle of having to have their property dug up.
2. Why is the trenchless method so much less destructive?
Trenchless technology doesn’t rely upon digging through your topsoil to access the sewer line. Neither does it require burrowing down through your driveway, your patio, your garden, or the root system of your trees in order to fix the pipes.
Instead, the underground sewer system is accessed through the existing pipes or sewer line. No digging. No trenches. There may possibly be an additional access hole dug but compared to traditional methods of trench-digging, the disruption is minimal (it’s a hole, not a trench!).
3. How can you work on underground pipes without digging trenches?
Depending on the type of sewer line repair or replacement that’s being done, it’s either a tube or steel cable which is pulled through the old pipes. To picture how this might work, imagine a plumber “snaking” your drains. They push a cable and tube system down the pipes to clear a blockage. Well, the method of entry for trenchless sewer repair works in very much the same way.
4. What are the cost savings of trenchless sewer repair/replacement?
For starters, trenchless technology doesn’t require that your contractor dig up the street or other public property. That represents huge cost savings because very often, the homeowner is the one who’s forced to pay for work done on city property.
And consider this: you won’t have to pay to have your driveway, hardscaping, landscaping or other personal property fixed after it’s been dug up for sewer repairs.
5. If trenchless is the way to go, then why are contractors still tearing up people’s yards to fix sewer problems?
Sometimes, in spite of the benefits we’ve outlined here, trenchless technology just doesn’t work for some situations. It may be that your pipes are configured in a way that makes them too difficult to access via trenchless methods. Sometimes it’s because of where you live.
Sometimes, pipes are so corroded they can’t be lined. And if pipe bursting is not an option because unique property circumstances render it to be not very cost-effective, a contractor will often choose regular pipe replacement (yes, with trenches dug!).
But if the reason your contractor isn’t considering trenchless technology is that they aren’t equipped or experienced to handle it, then it’s time to get a second opinion. You could save yourself a lot of hassle and your family will experience far less disruption.
6. Is this truly a “no-dig” technology?
The answer to that depends on which type of trenchless technology is going to be used on your system. But no matter which type you end up using, a small hole will usually have to be dug. In some commercial settings, no hole will have to be dug but usually, in residential properties, one or two holes are necessary.
Compare a small hole to a huge, gaping trench in your yard and you can see why the industry term is “no-dig” technology!
7. The roots of my trees have grown into my sewer lines. Can I still consider trenchless sewer repair?
Absolutely. There will be an additional step consisting of removing those roots. But once they are removed, and barring any prohibitive factors, your pipes can be repaired using trenchless technology.
8. What does trenchless sewer line repair cost?
There are several factors that dictate what your repairs will cost:
- Technique. Pipe lining and Pipe bursting have different costs
- The size of the current pipes. Pipes that are smaller in diameter will have lower material costs.
- The depth of pipes. If your contractor will need to drill an access point (a hole), the cost will vary depending on how deep your existing pipes are.
- The access point(s). Trenchless technology requires one or two access points. Some properties have additional factors that pose extra challenges when it comes to creating those access points. That can add to the cost.
- The condition of current pipes. Cast-iron sewer lines may need to be de-scaled before repairs can be done. Other pipe conditions may add to the price of trenchless sewer repairs, too.
If the city street needs to be excavated, sewer repair can really skyrocket. Typically, the range of cost for pipe bursting is $3500 to $8500. For pipe lining, it can be less, at $3500 to $5500 for repairs on the outside of your home.
A Guide to Trenchless Sewer Line Repair
If you’re a homeowner and you’re making important decisions about your property, then you may want to know even more about trenchless technology sewer repair.
It may not be enough to know that your yard won’t be dug up or you won’t be on the line for expenses related to tearing up the city street to fix your sewer problem. If you’re like lots of homeowners, you’ll need to know more about what you’re getting into so you can make better decisions. This mini guide is for you!
2 Types of Trenchless Technology
Sewer pipes can go wrong in a number of different ways. Depending on what has happened to yours, a plumber-contractor may choose one of three different types of trenchless technology to get your system working again. The two types of trenchless technology we offer are:
- Pipe Lining. The damaged pipe remains intact but is lined with new material.
- Pipe Bursting. Your old pipe is intentionally burst and broken up to clear the way for a new one, which is pulled through.
How Pipe Lining Works
The first step of pipe lining or pipe coating is a process is to assess your pipes with a video inspection. This helps your plumber-contractor pinpoint where the existing pipes have been damaged.
Then, a small entry hole is created, allowing your plumber access to the underground pipes. A flexible felt tube is inserted into the damaged area of your sewer line, inside the existing pipe. The tube is coated in epoxy and will be cured in place once the tube is put into place. A balloon inflates the tube to fill the dimensions of your existing pipe for a good, snug fit.
It takes about an hour for the epoxy to cure, at which point the balloon can be deflated and removed. And voila, your old pipe has a new life with a brand-new plastic lining.
The Advantages of Pipe Lining
Pipe lining or pip is like a makeover for your sewer pipes. The new lining is seamless, which brings several advantages, among others:
- Increased flow rate because no joints means less friction
- Only one access hole is usually required
- Preserves your yard
- Can be used when you have connecting drains
- Fast installation — usually in just one day
- The least invasive technology for sewer repair
How Pipe Bursting Works
The pipe bursting method is used when your existing pipes are beyond repair and you need a replacement. A new pipe is pulled through your old pipe, with a hydraulic head blasting the way forward. The head breaks apart the old pipe, fracturing it to make way for the new pipe.
The new pipe is made of high-density polyethylene, which is extremely durable and resistant to clogging. It’s also resistant to root intrusion so your trees won’t be a problem once you have these pipes installed.
The Advantages of Pipe Bursting
Pipe bursting is literally when your contractor blasts the way for new pipes to be laid underground to replace your damaged sewer lines. There are several advantages:
- Life expectancy is over 100 years!
- HDPE pipes are used — an extremely durable type of pipe
- Cheaper than traditional sewer pipe replacement
- Unlike pipe lining, bursting can be used when your old pipes have collapsed
- Preserves your yard
Want to Learn More? Ready to Start Sewer Repairs Now? We Can Help.
Have more questions? Call our office and find out everything you need to know about trenchless sewer repair before you schedule service.
If you’re ready now, or need immediate service, call to schedule a visit from a professional, friendly plumber.
Proudly serving Camarillo and the rest of Ventura Country including Malibu, Oxnard, Newbury Park, Oak Park, Moorpark, and Agoura, Daniel Fish Plumbing is a licensed and insured plumbing contractor with all the right experience to help you with all of your plumbing emergencies, repairs, remodeling jobs, leak detection, plumbing inspection, drain cleaning, second opinions, and more.
Be sure to check out the testimonials to find out why Daniel Fish is Camarillo’s Best-Rated Plumber. Then, call any time and we’ree there for you!