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This Is Part 2 Of Our Article.  Click Here To Go To Part 1:  Part One

This is Part 2 (of 2) of our article about cast-iron sewer pipes care; descaling, relining, or replacement.  Al’s also provides full-service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in Plano, TX; Allen, TX; and Frisco, TX.  We service all homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties with no additional travel charge.

Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.    Additionally, we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience.

NOTE: Al’s Plumbing Provides PVC Sewer Pipe Replacement 

NOTE: Al’s Plumbing Does Not Provide Cured-In-Place (CIP) Sewer Pipe Epoxy Relining.

Cast Iron Sewer Pipes Care; Descaling, Relining, or Replacement

There Are Two Ways To Access Sewer Pipes Under The Slab

  • Burst through the slab from inside the home.  Then dig a tunnel to gain access to the section (or entire length) of the sewer main line(s).  The soil is removed and placed outside the home — then put back when the work is completed.

Copy The Link Below Into Your Browser To See Where A Slab Foundation Was Burst Through (from inside the house) To Gain Acess To The Plumbing Pipes:

https://www.google.com/search?q=busting+through+slab+foundation+for+plumbing&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwi888aHkM3qAhWEfqwKHQOSCrEQ2-cCegQIABAA&oq=busting+through+slab+foundation+for+plumbing&gs_lcp=CgNpbWcQA1D0_AVYjL0GYKS_BmgCcAB4AIABPIgB3QWSAQIxNZgBAKABAaoBC2d3cy13aXotaW1n&sclient=img&ei=P9gNX_zXKYT9sQWDpKqICw&bih=613&biw=1280#imgrc=Dl7RcjBZI0LNNM

Problems Caused By Bursting Through A Slab

Opening sewer lines allows sewer gas to come inside your home.

These Toxic Compounds Are Found In Sewer Gas: **

  • hydrogen sulfide — it’s flammable
  • ammonia — it’s flammable
  • methane gas — methane gas is explosive.  Methane is commonly known as: “Natural Gas”.
  • carbon dioxide
  • Open sewer lines also expose the home to sewage bacteria.

** Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-home-guide/sewer-gas#dangers

 

  • Your home’s slab was designed & built to remain as one piece.  Due to DFW’s expansive clay soil, the slab is designed to “float” on the ground — allowing it to move up and down with soil expansion and contraction.
  • Any time you cut into a slab, you decrease its foundational integrity.” *** 
  • This is even moreso if the rebar (reinforcing steel inside the concrete) OR if post-tension cables are damaged or cut.
  • Breaking through concrete generates an extraordinary amount of noise and dust ***

*** Source: https://www.saniflo.com/us/blog/the-pitfalls-of-busting-through-concrete–n54

Post-Tension Slab Foundations

photo of a new home

Image Source: Pixabay.Com

Most Newer DFW Homes Have Post-Tensioned Slab Foundations.   A post-tensioned slab has multiple strands of heavily stressed steel tendons / cables located throughout the concrete.  The tendons have 33,000 pounds of inward force.   All the cables pull toward the center of the slab — and this makes the slab stronger. 

Tendons are placed before the concrete is poured.  Then, once the concrete has cured — the tendons are then stressed with a special machine.   ​Post-tension cables require repair if they become damaged while cutting or coring through the slab.  A cut tendon typically also causes moderate to severe damage to the slab.

photo of post tension slab foundation before cement is poured

Image Source: DreamsTime

Shown: A Post-Tensioned Slab Foundation Under Construction.  The Post-Tension Cables Are Installed — And The Slab Is Ready For Cement 

Note:

  • 33,000 pounds of inward-pressure applied to each cable.   This inward pressure makes the foundation stronger.
  • These cables / tendons are spaced 48 inches apart.  Cables go left to right and up to down — so there’s a lot of them in a single foundation.

Two Ways To Tell If Your Home Has A Post-Tensioned Slab Foundation

1. There Is A Warning Stamped Into The Concrete.  It’s likely stamped into the garage floor — near where you enter the house from the garage.

The Post-Tension Cables Warning Has Two Purposes.

  • To warn the foundation has post-tension cables — and tells you not to drill into or cut the concrete.
  • This warning relieves the home builder of liability if you should cut a cable.

Copy The Link Below Into Your Browser To See The Warning About Post-Tension Cables A Home Builder Stamped Into The Concrete:

https://www.google.com/search?q=post+tension+cable+cut+damage&sxsrf=ALeKk02VSAcDcXLc5-dA4IAfuQqYedm3mQ:1603902523180&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiv3ZfB2tfsAhUO7awKHecFB80Q_AUoAXoECA0QAw&biw=1097&bih=554#imgrc=cxFcdPmW-eEuEM&imgdii=rGIqMpWfmOGKLM

2. Though Not Always VisibleMost Post-Tensioned Slabs Have Round “Patches” Visible Along The Outside Edge Of The Slab.  These patches were added once the post-tensioning was completed.

Copy The Link Below To See An Example Of These Patches:

https://www.google.com/search?q=post+tension+slab+foundation&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwjUqozIvuTsAhUJBKwKHUOgAYUQ2-cCegQIABAA&oq=post+tension+slab+foundation&gs_lcp=CgNpbWcQAzICCAAyBAgAEBg6BAgjECc6BggAEAgQHlDxpgZYrdUGYPjYBmgAcAB4AIABQIgBlwySAQIyOJgBAKABAaoBC2d3cy13aXotaW1nwAEB&sclient=img&ei=wk-gX9TBBImIsAXDwIaoCA&bih=554&biw=1087&hl=en#imgrc=YMzLVORbo2XtpM

What Happens If A Post-Tensioned Cable / Tendon Gets Cut

  • Because it has tremendous inward-pressure on it — a post-tension will violently expand if cut.
  • You risk foundation damage, and serious personal injury, if cutting or coring through a post-tensioned slab foundation.
  • If a post-tension cable gets cut, you must pay for the required foundation repairs.

Copy The Link Below To See Foundation Damage Caused By Accidentally Cutting Some Cables / Tendons (scroll down to the 7th image) 

https://www.carrasquilloassociates.com/portfolio_category/structural-engineering/

You can see where cables burst through the surface of the slab foundation.

You can see an actual (damaged) cable near the closest edge of the foundation.

*** Source: https://www.saniflo.com/us/blog/the-pitfalls-of-busting-through-concrete–n54

Al’s Plumbing Digs A Tunnel Under The Home — From Outside

Click Here To Read Our Article About Tunneling Under Slabs For Plumbing Repairs: AlsPlumbing.com Tunneling Under The Slab

Copy The Link Below Into Your Browser To See Tunneling Under The Home (from outside the house):

https://www.google.com/search?q=plumber+tunnel+under+a+home&sxsrf=ALeKk00nhxKo8p6yxOy29_LBg3nQNf8FTQ:1594742375043&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiNgJemjs3qAhUPPK0KHRQxDYYQ_AUoAnoECA4QBA&biw=1280&bih=613#imgrc=abRwPZqD3OFe6M

Tunneling Under The Home (from outdoors) Eliminates These Concerns — Created When Bursting Through The Slab. 

Tunneling Under The Home (from outdoors):

  • The home’s interior is not affected.  All work is done from outdoors — so no sewer gas or sewage bacteria can enter the home.
  • Floor coverings are not damaged.  Bursting through the slab damages or destroys affixed floor coverings (carpet can be pulled back and reinstalled).
  • Residents don’t have to move out.   During repairs, the sewer is not available — a “porta-potty” (that sits in the lawn) could be rented.  While not optimal, it’s much less expensive than a motel.
  • Leaves the slab intact.  The slab is not disturbed.  Once repairs are done, the dirt (that was below the slab) is put back into place. Other than the mark in the lawn (where access was gained) — there’s no evidence of the sewer pipe repair  or replacement.
  • No risk of cutting a cable / tendon in a post-tensioned slab foundation.

 

Cast-Iron Sewer Pipe Maintenance, Repair & Replacement

As cast-iron sewer pipes age, they rust from inside to outside.  Under a slab, the outside surface might rust too.  In some cases, the rust inside the pipes can be removed to extend their service life.  If the pipes rust all the way through, they must be replaced or relined.

  • The pipes may need to be descaled (discussed below).  Descaling removes built-up corrosion inside the pipes.  The YouTube video below shows descaling while it’s occurring.
  • At some point, cast-iron pipes may corrode all the way through.  If this happens — a repair/replacement is required to avoid sewage leaking under your home.
  • There are repair and replacement options for failing cast-iron sewer pipes — we discuss them below.

Descaling

With cast-iron sewer pipes, corrosion forms (known as “scale”) over time on the pipe’s inner walls.  Cast-iron is prone to rusting and corrosion.    If left untreated — the corrosion deposits continue to grow, damages the pipes, and shrinks the area where waste flows by as much as 25%.  This can lead to toilet or whole-house sewer clogs.

Older cast-iron pipes may need to be descaled.  Signs that cast iron sower pipes needing to be descaled include; foul odors, slow-draining water, or backed up water.  The pipes are descaled using specialized equipment.

Click on the white arrow in the center of the image above to see a cast iron sewer pipe being escaped.  You will see before and after videos showing what occurred.

When Cast-Iron Pipes Fail: Replacement Or Repair

photo of PVC sewer pipe

Image Source: ShutterStock

SHOWN: New PVC Sewer Pipe Installation

Replacement With PVC Sewer Pipe

Once cast-iron pipes rust through at one location — additional locations will likely fail in the near future.  Some or part of the sewer pipes’ system is typically repaired or replaced.  The most common solution is replacing the cast-iron pipes with PVC (white plastic).    PVC sewer pipe is highly resistant to chemicals, doesn’t corrode, and has a projected lifespan of 100 years or longer.

PVC Pipe Offers Many Benefits:

  • Research studies on the expected life of PVC pipe confirmed that PVC life-span to be predicted at 100+ years.  **
  • PVC doesn’t corrode.  
  • Some Movement Flexibility: 
  • Sewer pipes hang from the underneath side of the slab foundation.
  • With DFW’s expansive-clay soil — during rainy periods, some upward pressure on the slab & sewer pipes may occur near the outside edges of the home.
  • During dry periods, the soil will shrink and may not support the slab & pipes as much.   Since PVC has some flexibility — it can accommodate minimal movement.
  • Water-Tight Joints:  There are a few ways PVC pipes can be adjoined to each other.  All methods provide water-tight joints.  This is very important with DFW’s expansive-soil.
  • Less Friction Inside The Pipe: PVC Pipes’ smoother interior surfaces increase the rate and speed of waste movement. Slower movement through a pipe increases clogs.
  • Corrosion & Chemical Resistance: PVC pipes offer excellent resistance to a wide range of chemical and disinfectant chemicals.
  • Tree Root Intrusion Resistance:  Because PVC joints don’t leak water (like clay sewer pipes in the lawn) — they don’t attract tree roots searching for water.
  • PVC Is Resistant To Heat and Cold:  PVC can handle waste-water up to 140 degrees.  Recommended water heater temperature is 120 degrees.
  • PVC Is Better For The Environment: PVC pips requires less energy and fewer resources to manufacture.  And it’s low weight requires less fuel to transport the pipes.
  • PVC Pipe Is Recyclable:  PVC pipes are recyclable. In Europe around 80,000 tons of PVC pipes are recycled.
  • PVC Is Non-Toxic:  PVC pipes can be used to carry drinking water.
** Source: http://responsiblechoice.info/wp-content/uploads/Validation-of-long-life-of-PVC-pipes.pdf

Cast-Iron Sewer Pipes Repair — Cure In Place (CIP) Relining 

These are the typical steps in a Cure In Place (CIP) Cast-Iron Sewer Pipe Relining /  Repair:

  • Camera scoping of the existing pipes to determine if the pipes are a candidate for relining.
  • A flexible fabric tube is saturated with liquid Epoxy.
  • An inflatable tube is inserted inside the fabric tube.
  • The fabric tube is pulled into place inside the existing cast iron pipe.
  • The inner tube is inflated — to hold the epoxy-soaked fabric tube in place while the epoxy cures.
  • Once the epoxy cures — the inner, inflatable tube is removed

There Are Two Ways To Create An Opening Where Other Sewer Pipes Connect To The One Being Relined:

  • Reinstatement: Once the epoxy has cured — a hole is cut in the new lining at the connection.
  • Gapping – The liner has a gap where other pipes connect to the one being relined.
  • CIP pipe works well on straight pipes with few connections.  This may be the “soil/main line” — that connects the home to the sewer pipe in the lawn.  The main line will be either 3 or 4 inches in diameter.

CIP Pipe Lining — Potential Problems

Generally speaking, there are two main reasons a pipe liner doesn’t fully cure:

  • Water-flow disrupted the curing process and washed away lining material that had not cured.
  • FIX:  If lining material did not properly cure in only a specific segment of pipe, a sectional-point repair can reline the affected segment of pipe.
  • The compounds in the liner resin were incorrectly mixed.
  • FIX: Attempt removing the failed liner from the pipe.  If the faulty liner was removed — reline the entire pipe.  If the failed liner can’t be removed, the best option may be to — reline over the existing (failed) liner.  This is expected to solve the problem.

Source: https://www.plumbermag.com/how-to-articles/pipe_lining/solving_cured_in_place_pipe_problems

 

The Picote Brush Coating™ System Is A New Method Of Drain/ Sewer Restoration

NOTE: At The Time This Article Was Written — No DFW Plumbers Provide This Service.   

The Closest Plumbers (when this was written) Are TDT Plumbing In Houston, TX & Bio Remedies in El Paso. 

An Internet Search Will Identify Local DFW Picote Solution Plumbers Once Available In DFW.

corroded cast iron sewer pipe

Image Souce: ShutterStock

Shown: Corroded Cast Iron Sewer Pipe

Over the years, cast-iron sewer pipes corrode — limiting their lifespan to 40-65 years.  The actual lifespan can be dramatically affected by the use of chemical drain cleaners — as all are corrosive.  Also, the amount of acidity in the home’s water supply may shorten cast-iron sewer pipes lifespan.   For many years, the only option was to replace the pipes with PVC (white plastic) which has a projected lifespan of 100 years, and perhaps even longer.

Until Now, Relining Cast-Iron Sewer Pipes Was Done With The Cured In Place (CIP) Pipe Lining System

  • Insert a fabric tube (soaked with epoxy) into the pipe.
  • Inflate a temporary tube — to hold the (epoxy soaked) fabric tube in place while the epoxy cures.
  • Remove the temporary inflatable tube.
  • The fabric tube + epoxy becomes a new lining within the existing pipe.

Source: https://www.picotebrushcoating.com/

Click Below To Read Our Article About Cast-Iron Sewer Pipes —  Which Includes Cured In Place (CIP) Pipe Lining: 

AlsPlumbing.com Cast Iron Sewer Pipes, Descaling, Relining, or Replacing

The Picote Brush Coating™ System Does Not Incorporate A Fabric Tube — Only An Epoxy-Lining Exists 

This Eliminates These Potential Problems With Cured In Place (CIP) Pipe Lining:

  • If the fabric tube (soaked with epoxy) is incorrectly installed, sometimes the tube can be removed — but other times, a fix is to insert yet another fabric tube.
  • Picote Systems has a tool to remove (failed) CIP lining.
  • For connections (to the pipe being relined) the fabric tube must have pre-cut holes — or holes are cut into the fabric tube after installation.

Potential Problems:

  • The pre-cut holes don’t align with the connecting pipes.
  • Cutting the holes (into the fabric tube in the relined pipe) afterward could possibly damage the tube.

How The Picote Brush Coating™ System Works

A high-speed, round, rotating brush flips the epoxy onto the pipe’s interior.  A camera-scope shows the operator the end result.  This allows the operator to see their work in real-time.   See the recoating process as it’s happening in (second) video image below.

Image Source: YouTube Embedded Video

Click On White Arrow In Center Of Image To View The Video

Shown Above: Video Of The Picote Cast-Iron PIPE DESCALING (corrosion/rust removal) As It Occurs (at Time: 0:25 / 2:01)

 

Image Source: YouTube Embedded Video

Click On White Arrow In Center Of Image To View The Video

Shown: Video Of The PICOTE EPOXY LINING As It’s Applied (at Time: 0:17 / 1:11)

NOTE: Al’s Plumbing cannot endorse any brand or vendor of Cured In Place Sewer Pipe Relining or The Picote Brush System
only because we don’t have first-hand knowledge or experience with this product or service. 

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This is Part 2 (of 2) of our article about cast-iron sewer pipes care; descaling, relining, or replacement.  Al’s also provides full-service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in Plano, TX; Allen, TX; and Frisco, TX.  We service all homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties with no additional travel charge.

Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.    Additionally, we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience.

NOTE: Al’s Plumbing Does Not Provide Cured-In-Place Sewer Pipe Relining.

Al’s Plumbing Provides PVC Sewer Pipe Replacement