Rain, Rain Seems to be Here to Stay
Rain has hit Richmond hard the last few weeks and it seems to be hanging around now that we are into the summer months. The flooding has hit the city hard as there are several areas below sea level and many properties have basements. The flash flooding causes the water levels to rise extremely quickly and with the ground being so saturated the water fills into any open areas it can find.
If the water is coming up through floor drains or sink drains in the basement, then the problem is often water backing up from the municipal sanitary sewer system. During heavy rains, combined sewer systems can become overwhelmed with water. This can cause sewer water to back up in the system and sometimes into homes.
There are other possible explanations, too. Sewer backups can be caused by individual service lines being plugged by grease, waste, tree roots, breaks in pipes or saturated ground. Sewer mains can also be plugged by vandalism or large items dropped down manholes.
This kind of flooding is an enormous problem for homeowners, as it’s largely out of your control and probably means fecal waste backing up into basements. Not only is it disgusting, but it can also be a serious health hazard.
We have had several calls in the past few weeks to address these issues. Many homes did not have a properly working sump-pump and we installed a new one or repaired the existing one so that the water could be drained from the basement. A sump pump is a pump used to remove water that has accumulated in a water-collecting sump basin, commonly found in the basements of homes. Sump pumps are used where basement flooding happens regularly and to solve dampness where the water table is above the foundation of a home.
The other way we can help resolve the issue is to install a backwater valve. A backwater valve is a device in the waste pipe that prevents sewage from flowing back into the home. Plumbing codes require backwater valves when a fixture is installed on a floor that is below the next upstream manhole.
Both of these options can help keep your home from flooding during this rainy season. The projects usually only take a day to complete and we always treat your home as if it were our own.
Historic Home, New Sewer
Richmond city has numerous historic sites and homes. These homes and buildings present unique situations as each has a different plumbing layout, original material, varied material that has been replaced over time, etc. Most of the homes have worked very hard to maintain or replicate the historic integrity of the area and with that they don’t want to use traditional excavation to replace an essential utility like the sewer.
Recently we were working on a home like this that had worked very diligently on the landscaping and stonework in the back of the home. It was a connected townhome with a basement. The sewer exited from to the rear of the home and had a walkthrough shed leading to the alleyway.
We were able to remove only 6 bricks from the wall and burst a new sewer from the basement to the city connection preserving the stone patio and house. Once the small patch of grass grows back and the bricks were back in place the customer will never now we were there. And, by not using open trench excavation we were able to save the customer money not just on the sewer install but also on replacing the landscaping and stone.
We work in these tight spaces constantly and always work to care for your home.
Broken Pipe in a Wall
USA Pipe Repair was called out to repair a cracked vent pipe in a wall that came from an upstairs bathroom to a basement. We found that after getting started that the pipe almost completely disintegrated. Once we actually got the pipe open and accessible we had approximately 7 foot of viable pipe to work with but by sheer Grace the connection for the upstairs bathroom was in perfect condition so after using our poquott to descale the remaining portion of line to get it as smooth as possible. We were able to cut the line in the attic and shoot a liner down through the connection for the bathroom to the basement and then threw a piece of PVC that we used to then start gluing on PVC fittings to re Plumb the rest of the basement into the main line after removing all of the broken sections. We then were able to do a reinstatement where we cut out the joint where the bathroom ties into that vent. And they ended up with a perfect brand new pipe where there was almost no pipe left because it had crumbled in the wall. The funniest portion of the job was when the subcontractor said that that was one of the smoothest liners they’d ever seen and I proceeded to let them know is because we had lined thin air. But the material that we use is a stand-alone material and can be used to bridge gaps where there is no pipe to host the material.
Repair Broken Water Line
USA Pipe Repair was called out to repair a leaking Quest coupling at the water meter. We dug up the fitting and replaced it with a 3⁄4 compression coupling made out of brass.
Water Line Replacement
USA Pipe Repair was called out to a job to install a new water service from the meter to the house. Because there was no possible location to stake down our machine we strapped are drill to our trailer and use the weight of the truck to hold it in place in order to perform the boar. The entire yard has been landscaped and has custom patio and bushes that have been growing for over 15 years so there was no chance to dig anywhere plus there was a power line and a gas line buried in the front yard. We were able to navigate around the existing utilities and only open up about a 2 by 2 hole at the meter. We pulled back at 3⁄4 inch K copper water service that has a 15-year warranty. We had the job dug, inspected and covered up in a matter of six hours.