I have a couple neighbors that have had their OB sewer pipe collapse and
had to pay a ton of money to get it repaired. I'm pretty sure I have
the same pipe in my old house and it's only a matter of time before I
have the same issue. Is there a way to fix this before I have a backup?
What is the best method?? Is there something that can be done without
Unless your house is over 30 years old, you may not have that OB pipe.
OB pipe was not manufactured after 1972, when PVC pipe took over. If you
have not lived in that house for the past 30 years, you wouldn't know if
that pipe has already been replaced.
OB pipe has a finite lifespan. If installed incorrectly, it could
collapse. Another thing is that it can unravel and allow roots to enter
the pipe. There are still millions of miles of that pipe installed
around the country that is still working (yours included). No one here
can tell you when it may fail, or that you should go out and spend $K to
replace it before it does. That's a decision you have to make for yourself.
Curiously, back in the 60s and 70s, I used to work in the town where
that pipe was manufactured and ate in a diner right across the street
from it in Orangeburg, NY.
That's interesting. So in fact I may never see the problem. I know
this house had it because it's about 75+ years old. I believe it was
used when the all the houses in the area were converted from septic to
sewer sometime in the 30's or 40's. I'm leaning towards a preemptive
approach. I was just wondering what my options are other than digging
up the whole line to replace it.
I suppose that if it installed correctly and in the right place (doesn't
get heavy traffic driven over it, and there are no trees nearby), it may
last longer than you. Did you ever had to have it snaked out?
I read that the Empire State Building had 1500 feet of it installed. I
don't know if that is for sewage or as conduits for electrical wiring,
or both, since OB was used for both..
The thing I remember about it is that it was very brittle, not as bad as
clay pipes but if the soil settled, the pipe could NOT bend with it. It
would break, shatter or collapse. If properly supported and covered it
should have no problem unless it was disturbed at a later date by
construction or other means.
If your house is that old, you probably have CLAY Sewer tiles. They
are a type of ceramic, and were quite durable unless they were
cracked. Dont worry about it until something happens. Nothing lasts
forever, but I know someone who worrys about everything in their house
all the time and are going crazy because of it. Everytime I talk to
this person either the furnace is going, or the roof is is bad, or
faucets are going, etc. The funny thing is that everytime this person
gets worried they call me to check out the problem. Only once was
there an actual problem, and that was a dripping faucet that needed
new washers. But I know that next week their furnace will make some
noise and need to be replaced, and I will have to convince them there
is nothing wrong with it, but I will change the filter to shut them
up..... Unfortunately I am related to this person.... (damn inlaws).
Well I was talking to my neighbor and they said that the plumber they
had come over used a fiber optic camera to inspect the line. It showed
a collapse in the pipe. I think I'll have them come over and take a
look ant mine and see what kind of shape it's in. Isn't technology
If I were you I would search for Trenchless Sewer Replacement. and I also
agree with pre-emptive approach. HOWEVER, please be aware that "some"
companies with the cameras will tell you there is a collapse, since the
pictures are hard to interpret for a novice.
just to follow up on this...
I found out some info on this. There is a process that effectively re-
lines the pipe. It can be done without excavation provided there are no
elbows present in the pipeline. If there are elbows, ( I have one at
the house end), then a small hole must be excavated to get at the pipe
after the elbow. The process as it was explained to me was to use a a
woven fiberglass type sock that is coated with epoxy. A machine
actually blows it into the pipe to so that the epoxy presses against the
old pipe. After about 4 hours of curing, the sock is effectively a new
pipe. The old OB pipe can fall apart but the new "pipe" will be intact.
It has a 50yr warranty and my estimated cost was about $3500-$4000. I'm
checking on some other options as well.
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