The water main is the large, main pipe that brings all of the fresh water into your home. Water mains are typically made from iron or galvanized steel, and as such, they last for many years. Eventually, however, your water main may begin leaking. In some cases, it might even collapse. When this occurs, you can end up with all sorts of annoying issues, such as water in your basement and foundation damage. The biggest concern, however, is replacing or repairing that water main so you can continue to get fresh water into your home. So, how will your plumber do that? Here are three approaches they may recommend depending on your budget and the layout of your home.
Replace the Pipe Where It Is
The first option would be for your plumber to dig down, remove the existing water main, and replace it, in kind, with a new water main. If your water main is located along the edge of your foundation and is easily accessible via a hole dug from outside, this approach is realistic. It offers good longevity, and it means you won't have to make any other major changes to the layout of your plumbing.
In the majority of homes, though, this approach would mean jackhammering up the basement floor. So, if your water main is not easily accessible, your plumber won't typically take this approach.
Sleeve the Pipe
If the plumber sends a camera down the pipe and finds that the leak is relatively minor and isolated, they may recommend sleeving the pipe. The pipe will be left in place, but the plumber will feed a "sleeve" made from a special type of plastic down into it. This essentially creates a new pipe inside the old pipe. The sleeve keeps water from coming into contact with the damaged section. Of course, this approach only works when the damage is minor and isolated, and it's not as long-lived.
Rerouting the Pipe
This is the most common approach, especially for pipes that show major damage. Your plumber will simply block off the old, damaged water main and run a new one in a place that's more accessible. This may require some changes to your overall plumbing layout, but usually, your basement floor and foundation won't need to be modified.
If you think your water main may be leaking or damaged, talk to a plumber. They can assess the situation and recommend the best approach.
When you have a plumber come work on your home, we hope you thank them. Really, you should be thanking any contractor who works on your home, but we are a little partial to plumbers and happen to think they deserve a little more recognition. After all, the stuff inside the pipes they work on doesn't usually smell very good. And even though they wear gloves, they have to get pretty close to it! If you would like to learn a little more about plumbers, then we invite you to read this blog. After learning the basics, you'll really want to thank your plumbers!