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Trenchless Sewer Line Excavation Methods: Pipe Bursting Vs. Pipe Relining

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Plumbing contractors bury residential sewer lines 1.5' - 6'  underground, depending on the location. These pipes experience protection from the elements, such as water and UV rays. Homeowners also don't need to worry about seeing or tripping over the pipes. However, when a sewer line requires replacement, plumbers struggle to access the pipes. Years ago, plumbers needed to dig trenches at every affected part of the sewer line. Today, most plumbers use "trenchless" sewer repair/replacement that doesn't require extensive digging, meaning less work for the plumber and a lower bill for the homeowner. 

The two main types of trenchless sewer line excavation are pipe bursting and pipe relining. Learn more about the similarities and differences between pipe bursting and pipe relining to see if one is right for your sewer line excavation. 

Pipe Bursting

Pipe bursting refers to the process of feeding new piping through old, damaged piping. It works on almost all materials except for HPDE, iron, and concrete. As the plumber pulls the new pipe through the old pipe, the old pipe bursts. The process works with damaged pipes as long as the feed wire can get through the material. The remnants will eventually dissipate into the soil and do not require disposal. The new pipe will be as large or larger in diameter as the original pipe. Homeowners can continue to use water throughout the repair. Pipe bursting can accommodate longer distances.

Pipe bursting is not recommended when working around other utility lines or pipes. Pipe bursting is also a more difficult process than pipe relining. Finally, it's more expensive than pipe relining.

Pipe Relining

Pipe relining refers to the process of pouring epoxy resin into the old pipe and "curing" the material using heat or light to harden it, creating a new, flawless pipe inside of the old pipe. While minimal, pipe relining will reduce the pipe diameter slightly. During the curing process, homeowners need to limit the amount of water they use and may notice a minor smell. Outside of those minor considerations, pipe relining costs less than pipe bursting thanks to its simplicity and low risk of damage during the installation process, making it the more common option. Pipe relining cannot accommodate areas longer than 20 ft. 

The choice may come down to your sewer setup. However, this information can help you if you do get to choose your preferred method. Either way, you can relax knowing that both trenchless methods will cost less and disrupt you less than the digging methods we used to do.

Contact a company like Rooter -Matic Sewer Drain and Septic to learn more about sewer line excavation services.