Trenchless Sewer Repair: A Sacramento Homeowner’s Guide

There are a lot of unexpected problems that can cause a homeowner to need to have sewers repaired—and this winter in Sacramento I think we saw them all. Here in the capital, we got pounded by rain, ending our long-standing drought and setting a few records for precipitation in January and February. This is all great for the produce and farms and wonderful trees that our area is known for, but it’s not so great for our sewers.

I took calls from dozens of homeowners who were dealing with sewage backup in their basements, ruptured sewer lines spewing into their yards, and tree roots and rocks shifting in the soft wet ground causing pipes to break. The remedy I usually suggested was trenchless sewer repair, which was often met with a blank stare. It’s important for homeowners to know why trenchless sewer repair in Sacramento is often the best solution to plumbing and pipe problems, though, as our Mediterranean climate makes sudden and unexpected rain likely to strike each winter. And I think you’ll agree with me once you understand why.

What Is Trenchless Sewer Repair: A Sacramento Homeowner’s Guide

trenchless sewer repair in sacramento, CATo understand what trenchless sewer repair is—and why it’s a great option in Sacramento—homeowners first need to know a bit about traditional trenching methods.

Typically, when there’s an issue with your home’s connection to the sewers, you’re forced to dig up the street in front of your house, as well as long stretches of your yard, driveway, and landscaping, to access and repair your lines. Costs for something like this can run from a few thousand bucks up to as much as $20,000 or more. Obviously, this is all costly, time-consuming—and messy.

Plumbing experts started offering a much less invasive method, trenchless sewer repair, about 15 years ago, but most homeowners are still unaware of this procedure.

Plumbing experts started offering a much less invasive method, trenchless sewer repair, about 15 years ago, but most homeowners are still unaware of this procedure. Basically, there are two very common types of trenchless repair and replacement for sewer pipes, and it’s best to learn about both. They are:

  • Pipe lining: A pipe liner, which is also sometimes called a cured-in-place pipe, is a deflated, flexible tube that gets coated with resin and then pushed with air into your damaged sewer pipe, where it is then fully inflated. This hardens the resin, which becomes a new pipe within your ruptured or broken one. If, for example, Sacramento’s wet winter caused your sewer line to back up when it rains, it may be on account of a cracked pipe. With a pipe liner, you can essentially replace that damaged pipe. The lining reduces the diameter of your pipes by only about a quarter of an inch, which won’t greatly reduce its ability to function.
  • Pipe bursting: If your sewers have joints in them, though, or a pipe that has fully collapsed, pipe lining won’t be a viable solution. The twists in the joints will require more precision, and, of course, you won’t be able to line a pipe that has collapsed as you won’t be able to insert the lining. Pipe bursting then becomes a trenchless repair option. Pipe bursting involves pulling a new pipe through an old broken one, simultaneously fracturing the old destroyed pipe outward. While it won’t be as invasive as digging the long trenches standard repair techniques require, pipe bursting does call for digging access holes to either side of the busted pipe.

The Top Reasons for Trenchless Sewer Repair, Sacramento Edition

I almost always advocate trenchless sewer repair to homeowners in Sacramento for a few reasons, including:

  • Sacramento’s beautiful neighborhoods: One of my favorite things about Sacramento is how pretty the landscaping here tends to be—there’s a reason we’re known as the city of trees. There are entire blocks in the city covered with beautiful trees, shrubs, and grasses. A traditional trenching repair method can often rip these yards up. Opting for trenchless sewer repair instead keeps our city’s natural beauty intact.
  • Higher quality pipes: Trenchless sewer repair methods generally involve higher quality pipes than their counterparts. This is great for Sacramento where many of our historic homes have sewer pipes that are really starting to feel their age. To give you an idea of how much better the pipes involved with trenchless sewer repair are, let me just tell you that pipe bursting uses high-density polyethylene piping which has been shown to last up to 100 years, while cured-in-place pipe lining methods provide similar, if not quite as lengthy, longevity.
  • Greater time efficiency: Consider that, in some cases, pipe bursting can be done in a day, and cured-in-place pipe replacements take between 12 and 24 hours to set. Both of these repair windows are far shorter than trench sewer repair, which involves time to dig a literal trench in your yard, work on the underground pipes, and then refill that trench inspection. You will also need to get municipal approval and follow through on other lengthy steps that could take up to a week or more to complete. We may not be as go, go, go as a city like New York or L.A., but we do value our time here in Sac, so this efficiency is a plus.

Our sewers in Sacramento definitely took a beating this winter with the massive deluge of rain; I don’t know if I’ve ever had so many homeowners asking me what to do when a pipe bursts at the same time. Hopefully, we won’t have to answer that question this much again anytime soon, but it’s still good to remember that trenchless sewer repair for Sacramento homeowners is the way to go when you run into underground pipe problems.

Even though it’s less obtrusive and more efficient, however, trenchless sewer repair is still a technique best left to a plumbing expert. Really, any time there’s a pipe that has busted in your backyard, or sewage starts flowing up through your bathtub or toilet, it’s a good idea to call a pro. I’m sure anyone who has had either of these things unexpectedly happen to them would agree.

Trenchless sewer repair in Sacramento is the perfect fix for most sewer problems. Contact the trained professionals at Bell Brothers to schedule a consultation for your home.

Image courtesy Unsplash user Joao Silas