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Trenchless Water Line Services Explained

November 27, 2023

Did you know that the water supply main running under your property is your responsibility? Ontario’s service lines are divided between two groups. Those leading from a public main to your property borders are owned and maintained by city services. The sections that lead from property boundaries to homes are owned by homeowners — and it’s their responsibility to maintain, repair, and replace them.

Water pipe services are also split between two related groups: traditional methods and trenchless methods. Traditional methods require more digging, take longer, and create additional landscaping damage. Trenchless methods were designed to eliminate those issues and facilitate faster, effective repairs.

At Hy-Pro we use trenchless technology for both water line and sewer pipe service. If you’re curious about what “trenchless” actually means, how that equipment works, and the common situations that those technologies solve for Ontarians, we’re here to help. We’ve got answers to all your questions about trenchless plumbing technology — and outstanding service whenever you need it.

What are Trenchless Water Line Repairs?

When plumbers talk about trenchless repairs, they’re usually referring to relining, a broad category of techniques and tools. Each of those solutions were created to ease the impact of major plumbing repairs and potential conflict with horizontal and vertical obstacles in urban environments. In this context, those obstacles include people, traffic, and nearby structures — horizontal obstacles — and the crowded underground environment, full of other service lines — vertical obstacles.

Relining Methods:

Cured-In-Place: With this method, a tube of resin fabric is prepared and then inserted directly or pulled through with a winch. That lining is then heated to bond the resin and the existing walls, creating a strong new interior lining. CIPP (cured-in-place pipe) materials have a wide variety of applications and varying levels of strength for different needs. They work best with four to twenty-four diameter water mains.

Fold & Formed: This method uses factory-prepared plastic material that’s been pre-heated and folded. The folded liner is winched through and heated by a device that expands the new material until it coats the existing interior walls.

Slip Liner: Instead of using a folded form or CIPP material, slip liners consist of joined sections that are smaller than the existing damaged water lines. They’re inserted directly into buried pipes and supported by an added layer of grout that maintains strength.

How Long Does Pipe Lining Take?

Depending on the size of a job, it’s often possible to complete relining in a single full day. For major water line or sewer replacement, it could take an additional day or two, but smaller, isolated repairs — the type often handled by lining solutions — can be completed by a professional plumbing team in a single day or less.

What is Trenchless Water Line Replacement?

Trenchless replacement typically refers to pipe bursting, a technique for water and sewer line replacement that destroys entire sections of damaged underground pipes and pulls in new piping at the same time. The purpose of bursting is to complete major replacements on plumbing laterals — buried fixtures that connect to  the public system — without inflicting a major excavation scheme or halting traffic flow for an entire street.

How Does Trenchless Water Line Replacement Work?

Inspections:

Every appointment for water main or sewer replacement begins with a thorough inspection to determine the location of both the damaged areas, any connected sections, and any nearby service lines that might present additional obstacles.

Minor Excavations:

After an initial inspection, plumbers complete a small excavation, often near your property borders, to create a launch pit for your new piping. Afterwards, the winch and other necessary equipment are set up in the newly dug launch pit and inside your home at your main connection point.

Although trenchless replacement eliminates the need to dig trenches, it’s still often necessary to complete that minimal excavation. It may also be necessary to excavate the area nearby to ensure that branch pipes are not damaged. Even with that digging, the effects of trenchless technology on groomed landscaping and nearby structures are still less extreme than the damage caused by older excavation repair methods.

Cleaning:

If there’s a significant amount of blockage, tree roots, or other debris sitting inside your buried pipes, it will be necessary to clean them before it’s possible to pull through trenchless equipment and new sections.

Whether you’re just getting relining service or full trenchless pipe replacement, it’s vitally important that all lines are clear before service begins. Luckily, many plumbers also have non-invasive equipment for efficiently eliminating all traces of debris — including tree roots!

Bursting:

After all preparation is complete, a cone-shaped bursting head is winched through damaged sections, cracking and crumbling them as it passes through. That debris is then pushed into the surrounding soil to make room for the new sections that are attached to the back of the bursting tool and pulled into place.

Why Should You Get Trenchless Water Line Services?

If a sudden increase in your water bill — or any of the trenchless repair warning signs — have drawn your attention to issues with your buried plumbing systems, then you need repairs from a professional plumber. In Ontario, homeowners have the option to choose trenchless or traditional techniques. Both options involve several hours and complicated steps to repair broken water lines, but one has far more benefits than the other.

The Benefits of Trenchless Repairs & Replacements

Lower Project Costs:

With traditional digging and repairs, costs rise as quickly as water in a flooded basement. The faster speed of trenchless services and the reduced need for large trenches both reduce the labour and parts required to complete the service — for everything from spot repairs to sewer replacement and water line replacement. As with many home systems, that increased efficiency lowers costs for homeowners.

The reduced damage to landscaping and your surrounding property also lowers the common associated costs of major plumbing failure investigations and repairs. Rather than paying for major landscaping repairs and hiring contractors to fix damage done to your home, you could take advantage of a non-invasive service that provides outstanding, lasting results in less time and with fewer chances of significantly damaging property.

Improved Pipe Strength & Efficiency:

With the results of bursting, it’s possible to increase the capacity of pipes by as much as 30 percent. Even with slip liners, which are often smaller than existing piping, efficiency and protection still improves. Why is that? The materials used for pipe lining have lower friction than copper water lines and other common piping materials. That means water and sewage move through relined pipes much faster.

Those replacement materials are also stronger than the existing walls of your current lines. The effects of lining and bursting are like having brand-new pipes installed, which means that your home will be better protected against future damage and catastrophic failures.

Safer, Worry-Free Service:

Fixing buried plumbing comes with a collection of extra health hazards and safety procedures — especially if a professional plumbing team is digging invasive trenches. Trenchless pipe replacement and repairs greatly reduce the risk of damaging nearby power lines, sewage systems, and structures.

The hassle-free experience of trenchless technology isn’t just quicker and less costly; it also provides more peace of mind for property owners concerned about accidental damage, potential injuries, and adverse health effects. Non-invasive plumbing technology reduces risk — for both plumbers and occupants.

Do You Want Trenchless Water Line Replacement Service or Repairs?

The licensed, skilled plumbers at Hy-Pro provide convenient appointments and emergency services across South Eastern Ontario! Trenchless technology is just one of the advanced tools and techniques that we use.

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