After closing on the short sale last week, October 15, we have started the process of fixing things. The trenchless repipe was the first on the list even though replacing the knob and tube wiring is the most critical on the house.
We are also having installed a new water pressure regulator. The current water pressure regulator is not working and we were told that it is dangerously close to failing which would cause some big problems if it were to fail. Such as bursting the pipes and causing a flood under the house. Even though we have the best situation of having a raised foundation, the cleanup would be messy and not worth waiting for this to break. The most interesting part of this, is that the house has a 3/4″ galvanized pipe coming in from the water meter and this turns into a 1″ line as the water line enters the house. The plumber said that the lines should be the opposite with a 1″ pipe coming from the water meter and changing into a 3/4″ running into the house. They say the larger line running into the ground is to help with the way the pipe corrodes over time.
First up is the trenchless sewer lateral repipe. Basically they did a trench at the start of the clay from the house and a trench against the property line. The plumbers then use a plastic pipe that they heat together to form one continuous pipe from the front to back that can be bent at no greater than a 45 degree angle. They also had to place another straight run and connect the two runs with an elbow. A gas powered machine that the plumbers call “The Machine” is used to pull a metal cable through the existing clay pipe pathway to lay a new pipe at a similar path and slope of the existing completely destroyed clay pipe.
The process was supposed to take two days. But some pesky tress and their roots are in the way of the new pipe. This makes all the more sense of just how clogged the existing clay sewer pipe lateral is. Not only have the roots found the broken bell housings of the 1939 installed clay pipe, but they have also wrapped and tangled themselves around the pipes. The pipe breaks easily because the methods from the past to join these pipes was by fitting the bell housings into each other and making the connection using cement which is porous. The new plastic lines that are heat fused together make a seal that the plumber will guarantee for 25 years.
As “The Machine” pulls the pipe through and hits a root system, the workers have to dig a new trench to remove the roots as they are causing some issues. The owner of the company came out and said this is the first time they have hit such a large problem. This is beginning to make me think that there are a lot of older houses that have not had their sewer laterals replaced. Can you imagine having a party and at the worst possible time having your lines completely clogged? We can’t and that is what the next step brings after we have this part of the job taken care.
The next step will be replacing the cast iron pipe from the house foundation wall to the new plastic and replacing that cast iron pipe with plastic pipe as well. This will involve removing part of the backyard deck along with jackhammering out the existing concrete patio underneath, digging a new trench and replacing that line. Also we will be lining the existing clay pipe going from the sidewalk into the sewer main with a liner that will make the house sewer system like brand new.