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A Homeowner’s Guide to the Pipe Bursting Process

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Having to replace sewer lines is one of many homeowners’ worst nightmares. It often begins with the misfortune of having a back up of raw sewage in the yard and the unexpected expense of sewer line repair costs. Additionally, having to have work done on sewer lines usually involves digging a huge trench through the property, right? Not exactly. Though most homeowners don’t realize this is an option, there is a way to replace sewer lines without digging an enormous trench in the yard It’s called pipe bursting, it’s a method of trenchless sewer line replacement, and here’s how the process works.

1. Evaluation
The first step in the pipe bursting method is to evaluate just what the problem is. Most of the time, homeowners find some indicator or other that they’re home is having sewer issues — like a foul smell, a damp yard, or stopped drains. Since sewer lines are underground, it’s pretty much impossible to see what’s wrong with them so the first step is to investigate using a camera (which should be done before buying a house, for the record).

2. Access
After figuring out where the problem is and creating a plan for fixing it, the access points are dug. The pipe bursting method does require a bit of digging — sewer lines are underground, after all. Two small pits are dug at either end of the length of pipe that needs replacing, instead of digging a large trench the full length of it. This is why the cost of pipe bursting is often less than that of traditional methods of sewer line repair.

3. Pipe Bursting
Pipe bursting is referred to as such because the old pipe literally bursts. There are five parts of a pipe bursting operation: the expander head, pulling rods, a pulling machine, a hydraulic power pack, and a retaining device. The way that pipe bursting is trenchless sewer line replacement is that the new pipe is pulled, underground, through the existing pipe, which fractures the old pipe outward.

Do you have any other questions about pipe bursting? Feel free to ask us in the comments section below.

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