Leaks in your home’s main water line or sewer line can be a severe problem. Over time, all of the water can cause parts of your yard to settle or even potentially lead to a large sinkhole forming. Underground water or sewage leaks can also threaten the building’s structure. Whenever the ground gets wet, the soil begins to expand. This soil expansion can put lots of pressure on the foundation and may lead to it cracking or even buckling. Similarly, the water can cause part of the foundation to settle and create major structural problems.
In the past, the only viable option for fixing a leaking sewer or water line was to dig a large trench in the yard and then repair or replace the damaged pipe. Having to dig up a damaged sewer or water line is not ideal since it is both costly and takes quite a bit of time. Once the damaged pipe is repaired or replaced, you will need to pay to have your lawn and landscaping fixed.
The good news is that digging up the damaged pipe isn’t always necessary. Depending on the extent of the damage and how badly the pipe is leaking, it may be possible to repair the problem using a process known as pipelining. Pipelining is an excellent option because it is much less invasive and requires minimal digging. The process is also much quicker than digging up the pipe and can save you money in the long run by ensuring your sewer or water line continues to function correctly for years to come.
Inspecting the Pipe for Leaks
If you suspect that your sewer or water line is leaking, the first thing you’ll need to do is hire a plumber to inspect the pipe. This is sometimes done by running a camera through the length of the line to find any damage or areas where it leaks. Another possibility is that a professional will use electronic leak detection equipment to quickly determine exactly where the leak is and how badly the pipe is leaking.
Having a technician inspect the pipe is essential to determine whether pipe lining is an option. If the pipe only has small cracks or holes and is otherwise intact, then pipelining should be able to quickly and effectively fix the damage and prevent it from leaking. In cases where the damage is more severe, such as if a section of pipe is partially crushed or has a large hole, the pipe lining won’t work. Unfortunately, in this scenario, you will need to have your sewer or water line completely replaced.
How Pipe Lining Works
Pipelining is most commonly done on damaged sewer lines, but there are potable water pipe lining products available that can be used to repair your main water line as well. The process creates a new pipe inside the existing pipe to ensure it no longer leaks.
Pipe lining involves a flexible polyester or fiberglass tube coated in a special epoxy resin. A professional inserts the tube into the existing pipe, and a bladder inside the tube is inflated to push the tube up against the sides of the pipe. Once the tube is inserted in the length of the pipe, hot water is run through the line. The heat works to help the epoxy begin to harden, and then the tube is subjected to ultraviolet light so that the epoxy fully hardens and cures. Once the resin fully cures, the bladder is deflated and pulled back out of the pipe. At this point, the plumber uses the camera again to inspect the line and ensure all the damage has been repaired.
To access the pipe, it is usually necessary to dig a small hole at the edge of your property or possibly out in the street, depending on where the leak is. For instance, if the upper sewer lateral from your house to the property line is damaged, the hole will usually be dug in your yard. If the damage is in the lower sewer lateral that extends from the property line to the municipal sewer main, it will usually be necessary for the plumbing company to excavate a small part of the street. There are cases when no digging is required as it is sometimes possible to access the pipe and run the tube through it by going in via the sewer cleanout outside the home.
Before a professional can repair the pipe, it is necessary to completely clean it out to return it to its original dimensions. A plumber usually does this by using a rooting machine to remove blockages. The next step is usually hydro jetting the pipe, which involves spraying a high-pressure blast of water to clean the pipe’s insides thoroughly. This process will also cut through large tree roots or other significant obstructions. Hydro jetting is vital as the pipe’s interiors must be clean for the resin to attach and fully seal the line.
Once the pipe is cleaned, another camera inspection is then performed just to make sure that the pipe is ready. The length of the pipe is then measured, and the technician cuts the tube to fit the line. Lastly, the tube is inserted and inflated and then left to sit until the resin fully hardens and cures.
Advantages of Pipe Lining
The fact that pipe lining is fairly inexpensive and doesn’t require a major excavation is a significant advantage compared to digging up your yard and replacing the damaged pipe. Another thing to consider is that pipe lining isn’t just a temporary solution. Even if you have an old cast iron sewer line, pipe lining can repair leaks and ensure that the sewer pipe continues functioning for decades. This is because the epoxy forms an extremely hard coat that stands up to the test of time. Pipe lining will make the pipe stronger than it was before. The pipe-lining process saves you money and provides peace of mind because it is a long-lasting solution.
Pipe lining is also a great option for preventing issues with tree roots clogging your sewer line. Roots can easily get inside if your sewer line has even minor damage. Once inside, it won’t be long before the line becomes completely clogged because the water and nutrients in the waste flowing through the pipe will nourish the tree and quickly cause it to grow more roots. Pipelining will work to first remove any roots from the line and then repair the damage and create a hard coating that prevents new roots from getting inside.
Contact the Professionals
At John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, and Air, we specialize in a full range of sewer and drain cleaning services, including pipelining, hydro jetting, and sewer excavation. Our team can also handle any of your other plumbing needs or help with heating or cooling repair, maintenance, or installation services. For more information on pipe lining or to schedule plumbing or HVAC service in the Lincoln area, contact us today