Trenchless Sewer Replacement — How It Works + Pros and Cons

May 06, 2020

If you live within city limits, your home is probably hooked up to your city’s sewer lines, rather than a septic tank. 

And while the city will maintain the main sewer lines from the street to the treatment facility, the sewer line running from your home to your street’s sewer system is your responsibility to maintain.

Unfortunately, like all things mechanical and plumbing, those sewer pipes don’t last forever, and will eventually clog, leak, or otherwise run into problems. 

When & How Sewer Lines "Break Bad"

Sewer pipes — which are commonly made from cast iron, concrete, or clay — run into problems through build-up, corrosion, cracking, and root intrusion.    

Any blockage or break can cause drains to back up, and possibly foundations to flood and, in a worst-case scenario, sewer contamination of your home.

For blocks and build-ups, your home’s sewer line can be cleared with mechanical cabling or hydro-jetting, which generally isn’t an expensive or labor intensive repair. In fact, Plumbline Services offers exactly this kind of sewer clog clearing for only $93.

But cracks, heavy corrosion, and sever root intrusion require more intensive repair.

Traditional Sewer Replacement and Repair

Traditionally, this meant the difficult and messy job of digging up the sewer pipe (aka trenching) and either replacing the pipe entirely or, if your home has a cast iron sewer pipe, replacing the broken section. 

Think about the time and expense involved in digging a foot-wide trench three to five feet down all the way from your foundation to the sidewalk. Now factor in the possibility of that trench running through expensive landscaping or paved walkways or even your driveway.

This process can take the better part of a week, while your home is essentially without running water the entire time.

How Trenchless Sewer Repair Works

Fortunately, modern technology has provided a better way: trenchless sewer replacement.

Here's how it works:

  1. We run a camera through your sewer line to diagnose the problem.
  2. We clear the line of any obstructions by cabling or hydro-jetting
  3. We spray a plastic liner along the entire length of your sewer line.
  4. The plastic liner cures into a new plastic pipe, free of any joints (aka points of failure or root intrusion) and impervious to corrosion.
  5. Because we are able to work from both sides of the sewer line, we don't have to dig up your yard, harm your landscaping, or destroy your walkways or driveway.
  6. We complete the job in 24 hours rather than 7 days.

This is a huge advantage, saving you a ton of mess and inconvenience.

In fact, trenchless sewer line replacement doesn't just provide one advantage — it provides five...

Trenchless sewer replacement in Denver

Example of what a rusty and cracked cast iron pipe would look like with a new trenchless liner. 

The 5 major pros of Trenchless Sewer Replacement & Repair:

  1. Saves Time — From a week down to 24 hours
  2. Saves Landscaping, walkways, driveways — No trenching = no damage
  3. Possibly Saves Money — Trenchless costs about the same for the actual repair, but overall costs are often lower due to point #2
  4. Higher-Quality & Longer Lasting Repair — The new piping is jointless, impervious to corrosion, and comes with a 50-year warranty. Compared to replacing a section of cast iron pipe, the quality of repair is head and shoulders above traditional methods. If you're paying the money to fix your sewer line, you might as well fix it right and for the long term.
  5. Works with any common sewer pipe material, regardless of whether your current sewer line is concrete, cast iron, "orangeburg," or clay.

Possible Cons and Contra-Indications for Trenchless Sewer Repair

While trenchless piping is a fantastic option in the vast marjory of cases, there are rare occasions when it might be already too late to rehabilitate a pipe system using the trenchless method. 

  • The sewer line could be irreversibly damaged or collapsed, leaving not enough intact pipe to properly line.
  • The original pipe could have been improperly installed, with a bad pitch or slope and issues with sag, belly, and deflection of your sewer line could also pose significant concerns with a trenchless solution.
  • And if your pipe burst, it could have done damage to other utilities that require trenching.

Lastly, while trenchless piping is a fantastic new technology, it doesn't install itself — who you hire to do your trenchless sewer repair or replacement matters.

In fact, trenchless sewer repair requires more skill and expertise to do right than traditional trenching and replacement, with a large part of that skill involved in correctly diagnosing the real problem with your sewer line.

That’s why Plumbline Services always scopes your line with advanced technology fiber-optic cameras and shows you the pictures, so you’ll know exactly what you’re dealing with.

So be sure to hire a plumbing company you can trust.

To that end, Plumbline Services has been doing trenchless sewer replacement for over 15 years and provides the most experienced and best-trained sewer experts in the Denver area.

Want an estimate and/or free second opinion on your sewer replacement job? Plumbline Services is happy to help.