Fiber Conduit Sewer Pipe; How To Determine If It Was Installed In Your Yard, How Long It Will Last, And Your Repair Options

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Being the homeowner of an older home or one that was built during the last century can leave you with the responsibility of dealing with an aging sewer. Here is some information about fiber conduit sewer pipe, how to determine if you have it installed in your home's sewer line, and what to expect from it when it fails.

What is Fiber Conduit Sewer Pipe?

Fiber conduit sewer pipe, also referred to as Orangeburg pipe, Bermico pipe, and cellulose fiber pipe, is a type of pipe that was made from ground wood fibers, which were bound together with a waterproof adhesive, then impregnated with liquid coal tar pitch, and rolled together in layers to create a pipe. Before this pipe was used for sewage waste, it was used for running electrical lines underground and through buildings. 

In the 1940s, fiber conduit pipe producers began selling it as a durable and lightweight sewage pipe that was easy to install and connect because it needed no cement or joint compound. It could also be cut with a carpenter's saw, while it was flexible enough to not fracture or chip while it was installed below ground. 

Manufacturers of this fiber pipe claimed that as long as the pipe was bedded properly when it was installed, it wouldn't collapse under the weight of soil above it once it was buried. Bedding of the pipe consisted of burying it within a layer of compacted sand and pea gravel to protect the pipe from any pressure from settling soil. But there is no guarantee every fiber sewer pipe installation was completed with the proper bedding process.

How to Determine if You Have Fiber Conduit Sewer Pipe

If your home was built from the 1940s to the 1970s, there is a chance fiber conduit sewer pipe was installed in your yard to drain your home's sewage to the city sewer line. Fiber conduit pipe can last up to 50 years, but it can begin to degrade after 30 years. Because fiber sewer pipe is made from wood pulp, water can erode and separate the layers of the pipe, causing it to collapse. Then, tree roots and the weight of several feet of soil above the pipe can also cause the pipe to fail. 

You may already have signs of your sewer line failure with clogged home plumbing problems, such as water bubbling from your basement's drains or frequent sewer backups. To determine if your pipes are made from fiber conduit and investigate any potential sewer line clogs, you can hire a plumbing professional to run a camera down your home's sewer line to view the situation up close. 

Your Options for Repair

After determining your sewer line is damaged fiber conduit, Orangeburg, or another failed material, you will need to have the sewer line replaced. You can hire a plumbing company to dig up and replace the entire sewer line, or you can opt for a trenchless repair, which does not require as much digging into your yard. 

Be aware as a homeowner you, not the city, are responsible for replacing the sewer line from your home to the city's main line. And most homeowner's insurance does not cover this portion for repairs. You can add sewer line coverage insurance to your home owner's policy for around $50 to $100 per year. 

There are a couple options to chose from when replacing your sewer line. You can hire a professional plumber and opt for a trenchless method, which can cost $60 to $200 per foot. The cost of a traditional sewer line replacement by digging a trench to remove and replace the entire line averages between $50 to $250 per foot of your sewer line's length. But, with this option you will have more landscaping damage to replace, so you should figure this into your costs.

Use this information to help guide you through the process of sewer line failure and replacement, or call a local plumber for help. 

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10 March 2016

Streamline Your HVAC System

As a DIY enthusiast, I started doing everything I could to make my household appliances more effective then ever before. I insulated my attic, worked on cleaning the vents around my kitchen appliances, and eventually turned my attention to my air conditioner and furnace. Unfortunately, the process of taking care of my HVAC system was more intense than I had originally anticipated. I realized that I needed to read about air conditioners and furnaces before I started tinkering around. I made this blog to showcase all kinds of different articles that talk about HVAC, so that you can become a more informed homeowner.