First, the bad news. Perhaps the worst plumbing nightmare you can experience is a broken sewer line that results in sewage backing up into your living space or into a yard. In many cases the problem may be solved with a simple rodding to clear a blockage. However, in the worst case scenario your sewer line may be broken, usually caused by tree roots, and in need of repair or replacement.
In the bad old days a sewer line repair was a costly and complicated job that involved digging up your yard (goodbye landscaping) or, even worse, a concrete patio or driveway to get at the broken line. Then came the laborious and disruptive work of removing a large section of the old line and laying new sewer pipe in its place, then refilling the trench with the dirt that had to be removed – or replacing the concrete. This job could last for days, with heavy equipment rolling all over your property. The expense often could run to tens of thousands of dollars.
Now for the good news. One of the greatest advances in plumbing technology in recent times has been the development of trenchless sewer repair that involves little or no digging on your property. It saves great amounts of time and expense and leaves all or most of your landscaping intact.
Not every plumbing company has this capability. Many still repair broken sewers the old-fashioned way because trenchless sewer repair involves some sophisticated equipment and training, and not every company is willing to make the investment. We’re proud to say that we at Dutton Plumbing have embraced trenchless techniques with a passion. This has saved some of our customers thousands of dollars and countless headaches as a result.
There are two basic methods of doing trenchless sewer repair. One involves inserting a flexible tube coated with special resin into the damaged pipe and inflating the resin. After several hours the resin hardens, forming a sturdy substitute pipe within your broken sewer pipe. Lining reduces the pipe diameter by only around a quarter-inch, which has no effect on sewage removal capacity. Lining may require digging a small access hole on your property, but that’s a big improvement over a massive trench.
At times lining may prove impossible due to collapsed pipe or offset lateral joints. Then a second trenchless technique known as “bursting” comes into play. Don’t worry, bursting is not as bad as it sounds. It involves pulling a new pipe through the damaged one and pushing the damaged one outward. This can be done even with collapsed sewer pipe as long as there is enough room to drag a cable through the damaged pipe. This technique may require digging two holes on either end of the broken line, still a big improvement over digging up your entire yard.
It’s also worth noting that our plumbing technicians use a state-of-art, remote-controlled sewer camera to pinpoint where cracks, blockages or root penetrations may occur in a sewer pipe. This allows us to property diagnose problems and tailor the most economical treatment with minimal disruption to your property.
If you are planning to move into a new home in our area, it’s a good idea to give us a call for a sewer inspection. This is something most home inspectors don’t do, and our modest service fee could end up saving you thousands of dollars and an unpleasant experience after you move into your new home.
Finally, I’d like to conclude by reminding you of the old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The best kind of sewer repair is no sewer repair. That’s why our plumbing technicians carry with them an amazing product called RootX™. It’s a safe and effective foaming chemical that attacks and dissolves tree roots that come in contact with sewer pipes before they can break through the line.