Pros and Cons of Sewer Line Repair Methods

Most people rarely think about their drain and sewer lines until a problem develops. Like all plumbing components, age and wear and tear take a toll on sewer systems. Since sewer lines are buried underground and hidden inside walls and floors, identifying a developing problem before it becomes an emergency situation can save property owners both time and money. 

How Sewer Systems Work

It’s important to understand how your sewer lines work. If you’re connected to a municipal sewer system, there will be a large pipe that runs from the street to your home. This is your main sewer line, and it’s usually the homeowner’s responsibility to fix any problems that develop. Since sewer lines are buried deep underground, locating and repairing problems has traditionally been a time-consuming and expensive process.

Under normal conditions, a properly installed sewer line should last between 50-100 years. But even the best sewer lines can sustain damage from tree roots, shifting ground, or poor drain maintenance. When your sewer line needs repair, there are two common options to consider: traditional open-top excavation and trenchless repair methods. 

Sewer Line Repair Options

For traditional sewer line repairs, the existing pipe is removed and replaced with a new one. This involves gaining access to existing sewer lines. Interior repairs usually involve tearing out drywall and flooring to reach hidden sewer lines. Exterior repairs require digging a trench to access buried sewer lines. Repairs can take several days to complete depending on the amount of excavation that is needed. Traditional excavation sewer line repairs are time-consuming, invasive, and expensive. 

Trenchless technology uses modern techniques and equipment to install or replace underground pipes. There are two primary methods of trenchless sewer replacements: pipe lining and pipe bursting. 

  • With pipelining, a new pipe is installed inside the interior of the existing sewer line by inserting an epoxy-coated sleeve into the sewer drain. The sleeve is then inflated and allowed to cure, which creates a new pipe within the old one. 
  • With the pipe bursting method, a device is inserted into one end of the sewer line which breaks up the old pipe as it moves forward. Attached to the back of the device is a new, flexible sewer line that instantly occupies the space the old sewer line once took. 

Trenchless sewer line repairs offer several benefits for both residential and commercial property owners. With trenchless repairs, all that is usually required are a few small access points. Trenchless repairs are faster, less invasive, and often less expensive than traditional sewer line repairs.

Selecting the Best Sewer Repair Option

Each type of repair has pros and cons to consider. In order to select the best sewer line repair option for your property, you need to consider the location of the sewer line problem and the extent of the damage. It’s also important to consider what type of sewer lines you currently have.

Pros of Trenchless Sewer Line Repairs

  • Repairs are often completed in a single day.
  • Enhanced safety since no open trenches are required.
  • Lower overall repair and restoration costs.
  • Less invasive process.
  • Long-lasting repairs.

Cons of Trenchless Sewer Line Repairs

  • Relining could reduce the size of sewer lines.
  • Some sewer lines may be too old or damaged for relining/trenchless repairs.
  • Only properly trained plumbers should be hired to handle trenchless repairs. 

Pros of Traditional Sewer Line Repairs

  • Ensures old sewer lines are replaced with new ones.
  • Eliminates environmental and health concerns associated with lead pipes.
  • May be an ideal solution if only a small section of pipe needs to be replaced.
  • Corrects problems where original sewer lines were incorrectly installed.

Cons of Traditional Sewer Line Repairs

  • Outdoor repairs are more invasive and require digging up landscaping, hardscaping, and even structures depending on where sewer lines are located.
  • Indoor repairs can be invasive and often require tearing out sections of drywall and flooring to access sewer lines.
  • The total sewer repair cost can be significantly higher since repairing landscaping, driveways, interior walls and flooring must be factored into the final cost.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both traditional excavation and trenchless sewer line repairs. The best way to determine which is best for your situation is to schedule a sewer line camera inspection with a qualified plumber. They’ll be able to quickly identify the exact location of a clogged or damaged sewer line and recommend the right repair option.

Trust a Professional Plumber for Sewer Line Repairs

The professionals at Simply Green Plumbing, Sewer & Rooter have the training and experience to handle all of your plumbing needs. If you’re experiencing sewer line problems, we are pleased to offer trenchless technology repair to eliminate property damage and reduce the time associated with sewer line replacement. Call us at (408) 716-1686 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

Our technicians have over 30 years of plumbing experience. We understand that plumbing emergencies can happen at any time, that’s why we offer emergency plumbing services at no extra cost.

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