When your sewer line fails, you need to call a plumbing service to get it fixed as soon as possible. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't take a few minutes to learn about the different styles of sewer line repair. In most cases, you will be able to take the advice of your sewer specialist, but understanding their recommendation can go a long way to give you confidence about your decision.
Traditional Sewer Repair
When most people realize they are facing sewer repair, they think of the traditional method. This involves digging a large trench along the sewer line, which allows the workers direct access to the pipes. Tearing up the front yard is a proposition that few are interested in, but it has often been the only choice for homeowners. While this choice is considered destructive, allowing direct access to the pipes allows for complete replacements, enlarging pipes, and adding better support beneath the pipes.
In addition to these types of repairs, there are other reasons a plumber might recommend this method. In some areas, this may be the only method allowed for other types of repairs. In addition, soil conditions or the type of pipes installed might require more intervention than would otherwise be needed.
Trenchless Sewer Line Repair
Trenchless sewer line repair is a newer method of fixing broken and leaking sewer lines. It is especially effective if the line has a simple break or is blocked by tree roots. It also used for replacement of lines that may not have failed, but need to be replaced due to age or size. Because these situations make up the majority of sewer line repairs, there is a good chance that this is the correct option for you.
In trenchless repair, a line is run through the old pipes. Once the line is run, it is used to pull through a specially designed pipe. This pipe starts smaller than the original, but expands quickly, replacing the old line with a minimal amount of disruption. Once the new line has time to harden, the plumber can do a final inspection, and you are ready to go. The materials in these new lines hold up better against normal wear and tear, as well as things like tree roots, so you shouldn't need any additional work for a decade or more.
Making the Decision
The first thing the plumber should do is run a camera down the line to see the extent of the damage. Once you know what you are dealing with, the plumber can make a recommendation on what to do. Unless the line is severely damaged, trenchless replacement will be quicker, less expensive, and doesn't involve digging up your yard. For this reason, you should always ask extra questions when a plumber suggests traditional repair for a minor issue. It does not mean that traditional repair won't be the right choice (there could be other factors involved that prevent traditional repair), but you need to make sure that the reason is valid.
In some cases, the plumber may suggest additional intervention, such as removing a tree that is too close to the sewer line. It is up to you whether or not you take this advice, but you should at least consider it. While new pipes will be harder for tree roots to break into, it will still happen eventually, reducing the life of your sewer lines. The cost of tree removal is usually less expensive than the cost and hassle of constantly getting your sewer line repaired.
Now that you know how sewer live repair works, you can make a decision with confidence. Neither of these options is right for every situation, and knowing which one to pick is crucial to the success of the repair. Sit back, let the pros do their job, and enjoy a worry-free sewer line for years to come.