The sucky aspects of owning a home

Bad news this week. After three visits in less than six months to snake out our sewer drain, the plumber runs a camera down the pipe to see what is going on. Verdict - old clays pipes which are invaded with tree roots and general deterioration. We must have a new PVC pipe installed. I don't know what worries me the most - the estimate (which I don't have yet) or the destruction to my property. Actually I do know which worries me more - the digging and destruction!

Our line runs 125 feet and when the plumber traced the line with some type of sonar device, there was some good news, if you can call it that. The line runs near the driveway, down in front of the garage and over to our fence. It could have been worse had it run south, thus right into the major part of the garden. Still, the line runs underneath a stone pathway and archway, an area planted with my only healthy rhododendron, oakleaf hydrangea and other assorted shrubs. I will have to wait until I talk with the estimator about what will have to be removed.

After doing some light research on the internet, I learn that there is an option called "slip lining" or "pipe bursting" where a secondary pipe can be pulled through thus avoiding digging (except at the ends). I have not inquired about this yet. I probably shouldn't complain considering that our house was built in 1928 and is in otherwise good condition (that I know of). Still, this is going to be a major headache!


  1. Oh no! I wish you the best of luck. You have the most beautiful garden - it is truly inspiring. It is painful to think about any possible destruction in that little piece of paradise you created.

  2. The pipe-bursting, slip-lining process as described in your link is pretty fascinating, Phillip - maybe it can work.

    Good luck and try to think of any broken landscape eggs as the basis of a fabulous floral frittata when it's all over.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  3. Good luck with the repair. Perhaps just prepare for the worst, then avert your eyes until it's over?

  4. Sorry to hear the bad news Phillip. I wish you the best of luck with the estimate and the replacement of the pipe.

  5. This happened to us too, but he section of pipe that needed to be replaced was under the sidewalk in front of the house. The previous owner hired a plumber who installed the house trap backwards so it had been leaking for four years and inviting tree roots. As I recall, it cost $4000 to fix.


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