Sewer installation

Are Sewer Liners Really The Right Fix?

Are you having sewer line problems where you’re calling a plumber periodically to unclog your main sewer? Has a plumber told you a sewer liner is the best alternative method to fix your sewer because there will be less excavation? Here’s what you need to know first about having a sewer liner installation done and why you should consider otherwise about having one installed because you may not be getting the proper fix for your sewer problem.

What is a sewer liner?

Let’s stop beating around the bush and get to the facts about a sewer liner. Realistically a sewer liner is just a “band-aid” that’s’ all. It’s nothing more than a coating inside of the original sewer pipe. If you’re under the impression a liner becomes a new pipe your mistaken! A sewer liner shouldn’t be compared to the installation of schedule 40 sewer piping used in the replacement of either sections or an entire damaged sewer line.

Before it can be installed

A sewer liner will not correct the following:

  • crushed pipe
  • disjointed pipe
  • improper connections to the public sewer tap
  • sewers with back fall

Before a sewer liner can even be considered for a sewer repair, it must have a solid pipe to be inserted into. Most sewer lines in Pittsburgh are a good majority of ancient terracotta pipes that were installed without any mechanical seals. If you find a terracotta sewer that has cement joints holding it together, you’ll be lucky! Just about all of them were just pushed into one another and kept together with the dirt backfilled around them. After a period of time, the unsealed terracotta joints settled and pulled apart, and most of them allow roots to grow inside the pipe.

Cast iron pipes can have the debris cleaned out with various cutter heads that will shave off the corrosion and make the inside smooth. That way the waste won’t collect on the humps and bumps. When it comes to lining a cast iron pipe, it’s a waste of money and not necessary, because if the pipe is cracked it would fall under the exclusion above of a crushed pipe and that would eliminate a sewer liner installation as a proper fix.

Sewer liners don’t get inspected!

Sewer liner installations are not an acceptable method of  sewer line repair in Allegheny County. A plumbing inspector from the Allegheny County Health Department plumbing division will not approve or inspect the actual sewer liner he will only examine the removal and replacement of conventional building drain or building sewer for gaining access with the liner into the existing pipe. Also, a sign off sheet has to be signed by the plumber and either the home or building owner(s) releasing the health department from any liability for the use of a sewer liner. I bet you didn’t know that huh?

For more information contact the Allegheny County Health Department plumbing division.

There’s been a big push recently selling sewer liners as a viable option to a proper repair in the Pittsburgh area. As far as I m concerned a sewer liner is technically not an approved method of sewer repair. Let’s be realistic here. If the plumbing inspector won’t inspect it, and a waiver of responsibility has to be signed, why would you roll the dice and have it installed?

New sewer pipe is better!

While it may be more involved and a bit more expensive, getting the job done right means you don’t have to come back and do it re-do the job right. Having the sewer replaced properly (excavated and replaced with new pipe), will last as long as the original, or even longer. Plus you don’t have to worry about any further problems there.

What you save can seem like a substantial amount in the short term. If it has to be redone right, is that really worth it? When you get a sewer liner, you still have an old pipe that can damage the liner.

Get your sewer fixed right

Do you need a second opinion on your sewer line? Having your sewer line replaced correctly may not be as much as you’re being told. Schedule an appointment with Vince to make sure you’re getting the right fix for your sewer problem.

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