At Wisler Plumbing and Air, we choose the best products we can get our hands on for our sewer and water mains. Once you put them in the ground, you don’t want to be digging them up frequently. There are several options, all with pros and cons, when it comes to main line materials.
When we’re talking about a main line, we’re referring to the sewer line that goes from your house to the street or septic tank, and the water line that comes from the meter at the street or from the well to your home. For the most part, those lines are underground. We use trenchless technology for both water and sewer lines. That can be pipe bursting, pipe lining, and then we pull water lines through the yard.
When it comes to water line product, the first one is what we call a poly pipe, which is a flexible black polyethylene pipe. We use the top PSI version, so that means it’s much thicker and more resilient to rocks, cuts, and leaks.
Another type of water line pipe is copper. It’s not frequently used, but it is a good pipe. It’s just much more expensive and doesn’t offer a tremendous value over the poly pipe. Some advantages are that it’s metallic, so it would be less susceptible to crushing or kinking. With poly pipe, if you get a really heavy rock or you’re driving over it repeatedly, it might crush because it’s a plastic product. However, the advantage to that is not having to excavate, because as it turns it the ground, it can bend and ply to different contours.
For sewer lines, there is SDR 35, which is a very thin wall. Many times, city sewer systems will use that pipe. There is Schedule 40 PVC, and then we have the HDPE pipe, which is a heavy-duty polyethylene. And if we do pipe lining, that’s done with wool, epoxy, and polyethylene.
The advantage to the SDR 35 is it’s less expensive and it’s easier to handle because it’s thinner and lighter. But it can be compromised much easier with rocks and can get holes. It’s also not a glued joint. It’s a gasket joint, which means roots can grow into those and cause problems.
With a Schedule 40 PVC, it’s much more rigid and not going to collapse. It’s going to be sturdy enough to handle going under driveways or sidewalks where there’s traffic. And it is a glue joint. So, if it’s installed properly, you won’t have root issues. It is probably one of the more expensive products that is used for sewer lines, so one of the disadvantages is just the sheer cost of it.
Some of the advantages to the epoxy lining system is that it’s seamless, so it doesn’t have fittings or anything in it. That causes the flow rate to be very high. One of the cons is that you wouldn’t want to put it in unless you can’t gain access. You probably would just use pipe bursting or excavation to do that.
As far as the HDP pipe, which we use for pipe bursting, a disadvantage to it is that it’s not as rigid as the Schedule 40, but it’s still better than the SDR 35. It is fused, so you have to have special equipment to be able to put together that pipe. We heat it up and actually fuse it together instead of gluing it. It’s very resistant against roots; there are hardly any cracks to it. It’s also flexible, so we can pull it in and match the contours of the sewer line.
All in all, you need to be able to rely on the professional that’s coming to your home to look at your situation and assign the correct products. A lot of times, you might benefit as a consumer by going with the cheaper option. The materials are a very small portion of the overall cost. So, we’re going to use the best materials: the highest PSI poly pipe for water lines, Schedule 40 PVC for excavation jobs, and HDP pipe for our pipe bursting.
Like I said in the beginning, when you put them in the ground, you don’t want to dig them up. We choose the best products possible for sewer and water mains. If you have any questions, you can reach out to the team at Wisler Plumbing and Air at 540-483-9382.