Along with pipe deterioration and collapse, pipe offset damages are one of the most problematic things a homeowner can be faced with in terms of plumbing. Not only are offset pipe lines a pain to fix, but also an expensive project few see coming. Traditionally, you would have to call a professional plumbing team and get the pipe in question manually excavated; this meant significant landscaping, material and labor fees.
With trenchless technologies, however, the dig-and-replace method of pipe renovation is no longer necessary. Today, offset pipes can be entirely replaced with minimal digging in a process known as pipe bursting. In many cases, bursting is a much more affordable alternative to dig-and-replace pipe replacement, as it demands less materials and manpower.
As with any other residential pipe repair, the most effective and affordable solution for offset pipe damage will depend on your unique circumstances. Namely, the depth and location of the offset, and surface-level features that would complicate conventional pipe repair.
What Causes Offset Pipe Damage?
Before we get into the details on affordable pipe replacement, let’s talk about why offset pipes are damaged in the first place - knowing why you're dealing with damage can help you make sure the problem never happens again.
For offset pipes, poor installation and environmental changes are the two most common causes. Faulty design, coupling equipment and casings can very easily damage a pipe offset under your home, almost as as much as pipe vibration, thermal change and pressurization. If your pipe offsets are damaged due to poor installation practices or error, a single bursting application should resolve the issue outright. For pipes offsets damaged by environmental activity, you may have to take additional measures to ensure structural integrity moving forward.
Dig-and-Replace vs. Pipe Bursting
When it comes to repairing an offset pipe, the most affordable option will depend on the physical location and depth of the pipe on your property, as well as any landscaping features on your property above the pipe line.
Generally, if the offset pipe is less than 2-3 feet under your lawn, traditional dig-and-replace repairs will be more affordable than trenchless pipe bursting. However, if the pipe in question runs below a driveway, sidewalk or other feature, complicated excavations will end up costing you. This is the same for pipes located 3+ feet under your property, which would take considerably more work and hours to dig.
In the latter two circumstances, non-intrusive pipe bursting is an efficient, much less costly alternative to digging. The following is a quick breakdown of the bursting process:
- First, plumbers will conduct a video inspection from within the offset pipe to determine the extent of the damage, and to make sure bursting is the right action to take.
- Next, plumbers will use a winch line to run a pull cable through the offset pipe; this can be done through either existing entry points in the pipe or by light digging.
- A steel, cone-shaped bursting head is then attached to a replacement pipe line, which will be used to fragment and push away your offset pipe line. The pipe is then pulled bursting head-first through your offset pipe line, removing the old pipe and laying its replacement in a simple, quick application.
- With the new pipe in place, end caps are then installed at both ends of the replacement pipe, connecting it to the rest of your home’s plumbing system.
- To wrap up the job, a post-process video inspection will be completed to ensure the new pipe was successfully installed.