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Trenchless Tuesdays #4 - Pipe Bursting - What is it?

Water and sewer lines are buried beneath the ground, so it's often a case of "out of sight, out of mind" - that is, until a pipe failure causes a catastrophe on your property. Whether you're dealing with burst water pipes, cracked sewer lines, corroded channels, or pipes that aren't big enough to accommodate the needs of your family, trenchless pipe repair is an option you should definitely consider.

What is Pipe Bursting?

Pipe bursting is one of the most-used methods of repairing pipes without digging trenches. Mr. Rooter® uses a pipe bursting method called Pipe Pull. This technique replaces sewer or water lines with the use of small access points. A replacement pipe is threaded into place following the path of the existing damaged pipe. On its way in, the replacement pipe bursts the old pipe out of the way. The end product is a code-compliant, leak-proof, root-deflecting, chemical-resistant pipe that you can expect to last the next century. Choosing pipe bursting has a number of benefits:

  • Minimal excavation required
  • Less expensive for replacing pipes under paved areas
  • Reduced pavement removal if the pipe is under the sidewalk or driveway
  • Possible to increase the diameter of your pipes for greater water capacity

How does Pipe Bursting Work?

  • A technician begins trenchless pipe repair by digging small launching and receiving pits. Many times, the process can begin from a manhole in the street and end at a receiving pit dug near the home's foundation, with no need for extensive trenches that destroy your lawn.
  • The bursting process can be completed using Pipe Pull, pneumatic or hydraulic methods. Whichever method is chosen, 200 meters is the maximum length of pipe that can be repaired with this method.
  • The new pipe is fitted with a conically shaped bursting tool, or bursting head. The type of head the technician chooses depends on what the damaged pipe is made of.
  • Vitrified clay, concrete or cast iron pipes are broken up with a bursting cone and sleeve. As the replacement pipe is inserted into the old pipe, it fractures and displaces the old brittle pipe, forcing the fragments outward into the surrounding soil.
  • Steel, ductile cast iron, or plastic pipes are more difficult to break. They require a cutting or roller blade to split the pipe the two and an expander to push it apart. With either type of bursting head, the new pipe is pulled or pushed in with the conically shaped head leading the way.
  • The old pipe and the new replacement may be the same diameter or the new pipe can be larger if that better suits the water and sewer needs of your home. The most popular new piping materials include high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or polypropylene (PP), though cast iron, steel, stoneware and polymer concrete pipes are also available.

Before you dig, consider Pipe Pull trenchless pipe repair. To learn more about the possibility of using this technology, please call Mr. Rooter today for a free inspection.