How to Fix a Leak in a Ceramic Sewer Pipe

Written by kirk maltbee
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How to Fix a Leak in a Ceramic Sewer Pipe
Fixing a cracked ceramic sewer pipe will prevent further damages. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Many older homes in older neighbourhoods feature buried ceramic sewer piping that leads from the house to the city's main sewer line. Over time, the ceramic pipes can crack and leak, flooding the yard with raw sewage if the crack isn't addressed properly. In the past, the yard had to be dug up to gain access to the pipes and replace them, a costly undertaking for sure. Luckily, an affordable modern method exists to alleviate the problem.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Pipe wrench
  • Water jet
  • Plumbing camera
  • Pipe tubing
  • Tape measure

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  1. 1

    Use a pipe wrench to pry open the access valve cover that provides direct access to the buried piping. You may have to apply some force to get the cover to move, especially if the cover hasn't been moved in some time, a fact typical of older homes. Clean out the pipe with a highly pressurised water jet, a machine that can be rented at many home improvement or plumbing supply stores.

  2. 2

    Blast the pipe a few times with the water jet. This will help remove standing sediment and make finding the crack site easier. Following cleaning, drop a plumbing camera---also available for rent at the same stores as the water jet---down into the pipe to search for the crack. Once located, overestimate the size of the crack; for instance, if the crack appears to be 8 inches long, round up to 10 inches.

  3. 3

    Measure and cut the length of tubing according to your estimated size. Slide the tube down into the valve and position it over the crack. Pull the cord on the device to inflate the tube, which will stop once it touches the interior wall of the pipe and create a barrier seal over the cracked section of the pipe. Allow the tube to settle for about three hours before reinserting the camera to check to see of the tube covers the crack. If not, deflate the tubing and repeat the process.

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