Plumbing Tips from an Avid DIY-er

What Steps Will Your Plumber Take When Lining Your Sewer Pipes?

Traditional sewer repair is not a fast, pretty, or cheap process. In the past, plumbers would typically repair sewer pipes by digging up the affected section of piping and replacing it. The process was essentially the same as replacing any other part of your plumbing, with the added complication of requiring a foot or deeper trench for access.

Many plumbers now use trenchless lining methods to repair sewer pipes without the need for digging. Although these methods are not particularly new, you may not be familiar with their details. If you are considering hiring a trenchless repair plumber to line your pipes, these are the steps they will need to take before beginning their repair.

1. Access and Inspection

Depending on the trenchless lining method your plumber is using, they will require either one or two access points. Once they have established at least one access point, your plumber will use their diagnostic equipment to assess your sewer lateral condition. In most cases, this means using a fiber-optic camera to inspect any damaged or leaking areas.

The purpose of this initial inspection is twofold: to locate the damage and to determine the best pipe lining method. The best option for repairing individual cracks or intrusions will be different from the best option for repairing an old, highly corroded pipe. By inspecting your drain, your plumber can determine if you are a good candidate for sectional repair or if you need more comprehensive methods.

2. Drain Cleaning

Most methods of trenchless repair require clean drain lines before the process can begin. Since these repair techniques use the existing pipe as an outer layer, any blockages in your drain will prevent proper installation. Lining installers will typically use hydro jetting or similar technology to blast out any debris in your sewer lateral and create the cleanest surface possible for installation.

3. Digging and Installation

Although sewer lining methods do not require trenches, they do sometimes require digging. All lining methods require access points with a minimum diameter for inserting material into the existing pipe. For some techniques, such as pull-in-place liners or pipe bursting, your plumber will require two separate access points.

If your sewer line's clean-out access does not provide sufficient diameter, then you may still need to dig to provide proper access. Fortunately, digging two access holes is a significantly less involved process than digging an entire trench and replacing large portions of your pipe. In most cases, plumbers can complete the entire procedure in a day or two, even if they must dig their own access points.

For more information about sewer pipe lining services, contact a local plumbing service.