No one wants to hear that their sewer lines need to be replaced. In the traditional sense, it means having some heavy equipment show up at your home to dig a nice massive trench through the middle of your beautiful yard.
By the time the trench is dug and the crews are finished laboriously removing the old pipes and replacing them with new sewer lines, you can expect to be on the hook for $20,000 or more. Much of this cost comes from the price of the heavy equipment combined with several days of labor charges.
There’s gotta be a better way, right? Fortunately, the answer is yes.
It’s called trenchless sewer line replacement and more plumbing contractors are offering this service today. While the technology has been around for about 15 years, the service is really just starting to gain steam. That’s because the equipment needed for trenchless sewer repairs or replacement are more readily available to plumbing contractors than it was just a few short years ago.
There are actually two different methods of trenchless sewer line replacement: trenchless pipe bursting and trenchless pipe lining. Each have the benefit of being minimally invasive, so you don’t have to worry about a backhoe ripping your lawn apart.
With pipe bursting, crews will dig two pits at opposite ends of your sewer line. This pits leave a much smaller footprint than traditional line replacement methods.
There’s an entry pit and an exit pit. A pipe bursting head fed into the entry pit and pulled from the other side by a device called the undertaker assembly (is that a cool name or what?). The pipe bursting head is a cone-shaped instrument, which is fed through the existing pile.
Pulling the head through the old pipe has the effect of smashing it to bits, while brand new HDPE piping is dragged into place behind it. The end result is a brand new sewer pipe that flows like a dream, all done with less equipment, labor, cost and time. In case you lost count, that’s a win, win, win … win.
The job is typically completed in less than a day and when it’s all said and done, there are only two small pits to fill instead of a massive trench. You can expect to pay anywhere from $80 to $250 per foot of new pipe, resulting in $3,500 to $20,000 for an entire repair.
Unlike pipe bursting, only one small pit needs to be created with the pipe lining process when the inversion method is used. Your old sewer line will also remain intact, but will have a new lining in place. It’s basically like putting a brand new sewer pipe inside your old one.
This is done by pumping a tube sleeve coated with resin into your sewer line. The resin will harden and create a jointless pipe lining. This is the most cost effective solution and runs most homeowners between $6,000 and $12,000.
Both trenchless pipe bursting and trenchless pipe lining have the benefit of being less expensive and evasive than traditional sewer line replacement. Pipe bursting has the advantage of completely eradicating your old sewer line and replacing it with high quality HDPE piping that will last for decades to come.
Pipe lining is a little more cost effective than pipe bursting and also provides a reliable fix, which typically includes a 10-year warranty.
You’ll want to consult with a professional plumbing contractor to determine which method will work best for your home. Speak with a licensed, bonded and insured company with plenty of experience performing this type of work. It’s also a good idea to get information about what kind of warranty you’ll get on parts and labor.