First, it must be mentioned that Pipe bursting is not confined solely to the plumbing repair business. The technique has several other applications, including the installation of new cable, fiber optic, and electrical lines. This is possible because of the wide range of sizes that are possible to be installed with the procedure. Lengths of around 100 meters are also possible, eliminating a large fraction of the cost when trenches are dug, followed by landscaping and other restorative work.

It should be noted that many of the techniques that are used in pipe bursting to replace a sewer line can also be used in situations where a pipe liner is to be installed but the usual locations inside the hoe or business are not conducive to blowing the liner through for inflating purposes.

While the term “trenchless” is often used in the industry, and this often leads to terms such as ‘no-dig,’ there is some digging required. There is no trench, and hence the term. Sewer pipes are always underground, and to reach them, some digging will always have to be carried out. The pipe bursting technique has eliminated the need for an actual trench, leaving only two pits at each end that are slightly lower than the pipe, and large enough to allow for technicians and equipment to move around safely and as needed.

When trenchless methods are used for plumbing repair purposes, pipe bursting is the main technique employed. The tools and equipment used can vary from company to company, but not by much. The tools used include a winch, the pipe bursting head, a cable drum with sufficient cable attached, guide pulleys, and the equipment to dig the two pits at either end of the pipe to be repaired.

An explanation of the equipment and tools used are as follows:


A winch and its housing –

this is to pull the cables as needed smoothly. Pulling these by hand can create safety issues that a winch eliminates.

A pipe bursting head –

this is able to expand sufficiently to break open existing pipes, shattering them. Behind the head is the replacement pipe that is guided in directly behind the head.

A cable drum with sufficient cable for the job attached –

the drum keeps the cables from becoming tangled and also releases them at a uniform rate of speed.

adequate guide pulleys –

these guide the cables, and thus the head, and the new pipe.

the digging equipment. This can be as large as a back hoe, or as small as shovels. At times, jackhammers will need to be used, mainly for situations where the pipe’s end’s location is covered by concrete.

The technology used to make pipe bursting a reality isn’t fancy or overly technical. Engineering is often about finding solutions to common plumbing problems and sometimes those solutions are found in places that may have been overlooked in the past. Combining two techniques, bursting brittle, leaky pipes from within with leading new pipe into place is the basis of pipe bursting.

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