Plumbing in our homes are often just like most modern conveniences; largely ignored till some malfunction or failure forces us to look their way. In the case of the various pipes that make the plumbing in our homes, each failure ultimately results in great inconvenience. A blocked drain or a leaking sewer pipe can be messy, smelly and a health hazard to boot.
Until recently, drain and sewer pipe repair routinely involved digging up affected parts of the house such as tiled flooring, garages, manicured lawns, and other otherwise perfectly good parts of a home. In the process, power machines are used and trenches are dug. Pipe replacement became a very messy and costly affair. Perhaps tired of ripping up homes just to repair sections of pipe, industry came up with a less invasive solution called pipelining.
Pipeliningis a repair technology where a pipe liner is pulled into a pipe and cured in place using resins. The technique is mainly used to cover pinholes and stop leaks. In the process, the coated pipe surfaces are also strengthened as well as protected from corrosion. The procedure is also known as epoxy pipe lining or cured in place pipe lining and the actual process of installation is a little bit more complicated.
Crucial to any successful pipelining operation is an inspection of the pipe internal surfaces. The aim of the inspection is to ensure there is sufficient pipe wall thickness – otherwise the pipe may stop leaking only for a short time only to fail (or burst) within a short period; it may even burst during the pipelining operation. It is also intended to see if the pipe is clean enough for the epoxy coating to properly bind. Miniaturized video cameras are used during the inspection, especially for sewer pipes which are of larger diameter.
Once it is determined that the pipe is strong enough, the next step is to clean and dry the interior surfaces. High pressure water jet machines are used in the cleaning process. Some chemicals are mixed in with the water to remove grease and fats deposited inside drain and sewer pipes. Special tools are used to remove any blocks inside the pipe, such as debris and tree roots. Once the pipe’s internal surfaces are clean and clear of any obstructions, oil-free air is injected to speed up drying.
Once the pipe is clean and dry, a new cured-in-place pipe liner is pulled into the pipe being repaired. Special resins are introduced and the liner is blown-up with air so it sticks to the pipe internals. Once the resin cures, you have a pipe within a pipe. The cured pipe liner is stronger than the original pipe, does not corrode, will not allow tree root intrusion and will not have joints – less places to leak. The smooth surfaces of the pipe liner are also designed to resist calcification.
The non-invasive nature of the repair, along with the relatively lower cost, has made pipelining repair procedure popular with homeowners. Plumbers, plumbing contractors and professional organizations such as the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating actively promote cured in place pipe lining repairs. Perhaps you need to give it a try.