Learn All About a Sewer Spot Repair: A Complete Homeowner’s Guide Including Helpful Videos

Sewer Service
July 12, 2022

by David Balkan

Sewer repair excavation under a roadway in NYC.

Typically, a sewer line can last 50 years or more without major repairs or needing a replacement. However, this doesn’t mean you should ignore possible maintenance, or learn about a sewer spot repair or a full replacement. Your sewer will back up on occasion. It may release some foul sewer smell in your home, or waste water itself. before an actual backup, it may have varying levels of gurgling noises from the drain, among other symptoms. These are signs that your sewer needs immediate cleaning or maintenance.

In almost all cases, over 90% of cases actually, a simple cleaning will cure the issue. However, when you experience a condition that cannot be cleaned, you don’t have to replace the entire sewer line. The problem could originate from a single spot in the whole drain system. As such, an experienced plumber, using the current technology, can efficiently perform a repair on a relatively small section of a home sewer line.

But what is a sewer spot repair and why should you know about it? Read on.

What is a Sewer Spot Repair?

In sewer repair terminology, a spot repair involves fixing a particular section of the entire sewer. In many cases, a defect in one section of a pipe can cause a problem in the entire system. This method is known as point, local, or selective repair. In many jurisdictions, a “point repair” is a trenchless technology that doesn’t require you to excavate your property to access the sewer line. Note that in NYC trenchless sewer repairs are expressly illegal and against code.

The two main methods used in trenchless sewer repair work are:

Pipe Lining

This is a trenchless method that doesn’t require excavation. In this method, the plumber inserts a resin-saturated felt sleeve or tube into the damaged sewer pipe. The liner is inflated using air or water pressure to press against the pipe wall.

After that, the resin needs to be cured for some time to harden and form a new pipe within the old one. The new line has the same diameter as the old one and can last for decades without requiring repairs.

Important to note is that the existing sewer pipe must be clear of roots, collapse, or any backpitch. If it is not, the lining will serve little purpose.

Pipe Bursting

This is another trenchless method used in sewer repair. In this method, a machine pulls a replacement pipe through the old sewer line. As the machine pulls the new pipe, it shatters the old one simultaneously.

Pipe bursting is ideal for repairing damaged sewer lines that have extensive corrosion or those that have been structurally weakened by factors such as root intrusion. Note again that pipe bursting is not a legal method, or to code, on house sewer work in NYC.

What are the Factors to Consider Before Sewer Spot Repair?

Sewer repairs being limited to only a small section of a house sewer seems to be a welcome innovation in the sewer repair industry. Therefore, there’s a high expectation that many homeowners will consider a spot repair to repair their blocked drain systems. However, a sewer repair strategy should not be expected to solve every clogged drain issue.

You need to consider some fundamental techniques before deciding on a repair method. In many jurisdictions, including NYC, excavation is the only accepted means to repair or replace a house sewer. Even with that said, a spot repair is virtually always at least 50% less than a sewer replacement.

1. Ascertain Sewer Physical Defects

Usually, any pipe repair starts by evaluating the physical condition of the sewer. This is because sewers are subject to wear and tear, but there is also a wide variety of defects that can arise. many defects are not good candidates for a spot sewer repair. The first step should be establishing the cause of the problem so that an informed decision can be made on the appropriate repair method.

An HD camera inspection can determine a variety of physical defects in the sewer. This can diagnose common material defects including cracks, misalignment, pipe offset, bellying, root intrusion, and broken pipes.

2. Size of the Damaged Area

It’s essential to know the extent of the damage before performing any sewer repair work. The extent of the damage area will help determine whether a pipe repair will be more appropriate. For example, if the damage only affects a small section of the sewer, then a spot repair should be able to fix the problem.

However, a full replacement may be the better option if the damage is extensive. A good example would be a home sewer that is completely infiltrated with roots entering through porous pipe joints. You could potentially cut the roots out, but they will certainly grow back again. Also, you need to pinpoint the damage’s location as this will help determine the best repair method and associated cost.

3. Analyze Repair Costs

Getting an estimate of the sewer line spot repair cost is another vital step that should be taken before any repair work begins. This is because, depending on the chosen repair method, the prices can vary significantly. For example, a traditional sewer repair will generally be more expensive in a public roadway than inside your property’s boundary. Therefore, you should use this quote to decide on the best repair method for your home.

It is also highly suggested that you receive a quote for a full replacement so you can weigh your options. Additionally, if your spot repair should grow to be a full replacement, you’ll have your quote ahead of time.

What are the Benefits of Sewer Spot Repairs?

Replacing only a small section of a home sewer line is a sewer line repair strategy that seems to change how homeowners have been repairing their clogged or damaged drains. This repair strategy appears to concentrate on making it easier and more accurate to repair sewer lines within the shortest time possible.

The main change in the technology is HD sewer cameras that offer visually sharp images but also pinpoint both the location of the defect and the depth of the pipe. These factors eliminate the experience of excavating and missing the pipe, or not uncovering the correct damaged section.

1. Reduced Excavation

Drain spot repair is a method of sewer line repair based on sound information. If you’re in a jurisdiction that allows trenchless repairs, it means no need to excavate your yard, driveways, or public area. This is because the repairs are done inside your sewer lines. As a result, you do not have to deal with the mess and cost of excavation.

2. Less Destruction to Your Landscaping

Destruction of your yard and landscape is inevitable when you opt for excavation to repair your sewer lines. However, the benefit of sound diagnostics eliminate an open trench from the front of your home to the city sewer connection itself. As a result, you do not have to spend the same amount of money and time repairing the complete outer frontage of your property, and the public causeway as well.

3. Water-Tight Repairs

Traditional sewer line repair methods will provide water-tight joints in the area repaired. If you are suffering from leaking sewer joints, chances are they will continue to leak after a spot repair on a home sewer line has been done. This is particularly true if your home sewer enters your basement above the finished floor. Likewise ponding of sewer water in your yard may not be solved by a spot repair done outside of your property’s boundary. These are all factors to consider when deciding between a spot repair and a full sewer line replacement.

4. Improved Drainage

Your drainage system will improve when you opt for sewer repair. This is because the new pipes installed are of better quality, have a smooth interior, and of course, the previous defect has been removed. As a result, they do not become clogged as quickly as the old ones. Your drainage system will also improve as the new pipes have a larger diameter than a crushed or partially collapsed pipe.

5. Affordable Sewer Repair

A sewer spot repair cost is lower than a full sewer line replacement, needless to say. A repair method requires less equipment, labor, and restoration. How much lower the cost will be depends on the location of the required spot repair.

Let Balkan Sewer and Water Main Assist with Your NYC Sewer Repairs

As the leading sewer and water repair expert in New York City, Balkan Sewer and Water Main understands the modern technologies used in sewer repairs. That’s why we’ve been performing sewer repairs on short sections of house sewers over the years, intending to lower the cost of sewer repair while offering permanent solutions to sewer damages.

As a family-owned business in continuous operation for over 70 years, we are highly motivated and focused on addressing both minor and significant sewer repair issues throughout NYC. Contact Team Balkan today for emergency sewer repair services.

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David Balkan

David Balkan is the CEO of Balkan Sewer And Water Main, the largest and most trusted service in New York City. David is extremely active in various NYC plumber organizations being the Chairman of the Subsurface Committee in the Master Plumbers Council, and Vice President of the Subsurface Plumbers Association. In addition David’s expertise is respected by officials of New York City agencies such as the NYC DEP, NYC DOB, and the NYC DOT. He frequently provides valuable input on a variety of industry related matters.

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