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A Few Useful Things to Know About Sewer Line Replacement

When you take a picture of your sewer, you may learn that it has a clog, parts of it have collapsed, or it has tree roots growing through it.

Today, cameras are being used to determine the cause of sewer problems.

Sewer Line Cameras

When the standard techniques for cleaning drains fails, plumbers often have to turn to more intrusive inspections of your main drainage pipes. This type of inspection is carried out using cameras. Drain and sewer pipe cameras have been available for around 15 years. They range in price from approximately $85 to over $7000, and some are even available on EBay.

They are helpful for inspecting a sewer line that is clogged and for inspecting a sewer line in a home you are purchasing. They are available with or without computer monitoring systems.

However, just as you would not inspect your own colon with a camera, it is not recommended that the average homeowner or home purchaser buy a sewer line camera and use it to inspect his sewage system.

What is recommended is that when you have sewer line problems, you call a plumber like Ben Franklin Plumbing.

Types of Sewer Line Replacement

The best known replacement for a damaged sewer line is the method known as trenching that involves excavation of the sewer system and direct replacement of the pipes.

This method can be disruptive, costly, and (depending on your location) even involve replacing pipes all the way to the main municipal junction.

If the trenching causes your driveway, patio, yard or garden to have to be undone so that your sewer line can be repaired, your costs will be much higher to replace or reconstruct the outbuildings involved, repave your driveway, and reseed your lawn.

There are two newer residential sewer repair techniques that offer homeowners the option to have little of their property excavated and little disruption to their homes.

Of course, preventative maintenance and good drain cleaning practices can certainly alleviate the need for a sewer line to need replacing and ensure that your lines don’t wear out for a long time.

Trenchless Sewer Repair or Replacement Methods

Pipe Lining

Known as CIPP (cured-in-place pipe), it was developed by Eric Wood in London in 1971, and patented in 1977. A tube of material like polyester or fiberglass that is impregnated with resin is pulled into a damaged pipe and inflated. The resin is cured by UV light, steam, hot water or other methods so that it hardens into the pipe.

The pipe rehabilitation is then inspected by camera to ensure its successful implantation. The new lining only take up approximately a quarter of an inch, so it will now slow the flow of your sewer system.

Pipe Bursting

Pipe bursting is often used to replace not only sewer pipes but gas lines as well. It replaces a deteriorated pipe with a new pipe that is the same size or larger. A bursting head that is cone-shaped is inserted into the old pipe.

The back end of the bursting head connects to the new pipe and maneuvers it into place. The force of the new pipe being pushed into the old pipe bursts the old pipe, breaking it into pieces.


With sliplining a new pipe liner that is smaller than the old one is placed inside the old pipe. The space between the old pipe and the new pipe is then grouted, providing a good seal and ensuring structural integrity.

Modified Cross Section Lining

This method involves folding a liner, inserting it into the pipe, re-forming the liner to expand it, and sealing it.

Your options may be limited by your particular problem, the layout of your pipes, or even where you reside. Pipe bursting is prohibited in some areas where there is high population density.

Your plumbing professional is knowledgeable about these methods of repairing or replacing your sewer line and can advise you which method will best solve the particular problem you have with your sewer system.