PVC is prevalent, used in most home piping systems. The hard plastic piping is used for its durability, but even the best laid pipe can need repairs as time and pressure take its toll. When your PVC is presenting problems, digging it up and replacing it is a big but simple task most any homeowner can complete in an afternoon.
Locate the PVC Problem
First, you need to find where the problem begins. PVC is so popular because of its durability and sustainability. It can handle a load coming down the pipe successfully, but it can also become brittle over time from bearing large loads. Tiny fissures will begin to form in the pipe, particularly around fittings and joints. Eventually, those will lead to cracks and possibly even a long, curving split down the length of the pipe. Water can seep slowly or cause a dent in the grass or other landscaping that covers the PVC. These damp patches or depressions in the ground can give you a good idea of where to begin digging. Odors rising from the ground are also a good indication there's a break down below. If the plumbing begins to back up or takes its time in draining, the PVC could be clogged with tree branches that have wound their way around or into the pipe, or household items that found their way down a toilet and are lodged in the pipe.
Once you've located the damaged area and dug down to reveal the pipe, make a mark on the pipe about 6 inches away from where the break begins and ends. This will be where you cut the pipe. With a hacksaw, cut the pipe above and below the breakage so that the pipes left behind are solid and not weak or in danger of future cracking.
Making Whole Again
Take the new pipe similar in diameter and cut it to fit between the recently cut pipe sections. Apply primer on an outside end of the new pipe and the outside end of the existing pipe you've cut. Put primer on the interior of the coupling and wait for it to dry. Push the end of the pipe that doesn't have primer onto the coupling. Slather PVC glue onto all primed areas and push the coupling onto the end of the pipe. Let it dry for at least 60 seconds before letting it go. At least half of the coupling should be shoved into the new pipe and existing pipe.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.