Underground pipe repair is necessary whenever an underground pipe is cracked, pierced, or severed. Without the proper skills and equipment, fixing the damage can be costly, difficult, and dangerous. Water supply pipes must be kept free of contamination. Sewage pipes are messy and unsanitary by nature.
When Is Underground Pipe Repair Necessary?
Pipe repair or replacement may be necessary if you experience abnormal changes in your utility service. You may suspect a water line leak if your water bill is unexpectedly high or there is low water pressure. If your yard has soft, swollen, or recessed areas, the problem may be under your feet. Extremely green and lush patches of grass and the odor of sewer gas may indicate a break in a sewage pipe.
How to Prepare for Pipe Repair and Replacement
Once you identify the worst part of your leak, you can trace the problem to its source. In cold regions, water lines can be buried over four feet deep, but generally speaking, they are usually closer to the ground’s surface than sewage pipes. In some cases, you can dig up the ground to reveal the problem pipe yourself. More serious breaks will require the services of a professional excavator. Before attempting underground pipe repair, it’s important to consult your local authorities about permits and building codes. Check your property title, insurance policy, and any other relevant documents to determine if and to what extent you should attempt to fix the leak on your own.
Before you begin any work, have your local utility differentiate and mark potable water lines in blue, electrical cables in red, and sewage pipes in green. Gas, oil, and steam pipes should be marked in orange. Consider your ability, capacity, and skill set carefully. Pipe repair can be challenging. A trusted, capable, and the experienced plumber could save you time and money in the long run. Deep trenches, rusty pipes, and raw sewage are just a few hazards that can create serious safety liabilities for humans and pets.
What Are My Underground Pipes Made Of?
The process of planning pipe repair and replacement accounts for the material composition, age, and function of the broken plumbing pipe. Underground potable water lines are commonly made from copper, galvanized steel, high-density polyethylene (HDPE), chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC), or cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) tubing. They may be joined by solvent welding, compression threading, threaded fittings, or solder. When it comes to sewage pipes, you can typically predict their material composition if you know the age of your house. If your house were built before 1950, the sewage pipes would be clay, cast iron, or Orangeburg’s fiber compound. Newer sewage pipes are typically polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). Once exposed, corroded cast iron, broken clay, and deteriorating Orangeburg will need to be replaced with cast iron, vitrified clay, PVC, or ABS.
The Key to Successful Underground Pipe Repair
If you attempt to tackle pipe repair yourself, you must be able to recognize, acquire, and handle the necessary tools and materials. A pipe cutter, shovel, tarp, hammer, soldier, and torch are just a few required tools. You may want to consider having a non-invasive pipe inspection before digging into the ground. For skilled and experienced homeowners, underground pipe repair can be a cost-saving and rewarding experience. There’s nothing better than hiring a professional to get the job done for everyone else.