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A guide for repairing underground pipes

Updated: Jun 4

Not so long ago, a damaged underground pipe would need to be replaced. This was a time consuming, expensive and often disruptive process. Today, advancements in technology mean that pipes can be repaired, making the process faster, cheaper and simpler.

Replacing underground pipes is a lengthy process because it involves digging a large hole or trench and this also results in higher costs. It’s far from uncommon for damaged pipes to be located below busy areas in town/city centres where digging holes inevitably inconveniences people, harming your company’s reputation. Invest in the technology that’ll allow you to repair underground pipes, and all of this can be avoided. Work can be completed much more quickly, with fewer costs and even without the need to dig holes or trenches.

No-dig pipe repair technology

You might assume that the technology needed to repair underground pipes without digging holes is complicated and expensive, but this is simply not the case. You are now able to complete pipe repairs with as little as a pipe repair kit, a pipe plug/packer and a drain camera. The cost of both a camera and a packer differ greatly depending on features and size respectively.

The drain camera

As the camera will only be used to find the location of damage such as cracks, more expensive models with high-end features aren’t needed. If the camera provides a clear image and you can locate its position underground, it has everything you need.

Pipe plugs/packers

Three wheeled pipe packers
Only buy the sizes you need. You can always hire others when you need them

As discussed above, the cost of packers are ultimately determined by their size. Consider that DCR’s cheapest straight packer is £154.20 and works in DN70-100, whilst our most expensive is £1,280.50 and designed to work in DN500-600 pipes and it becomes clear just how much their size effects the price you pay. By simply determining what sizes you’ll need, you’ll make considerable savings, and don’t forget that DCR provide a free PipeAid Patch repair Kit with every packer sold. We also have pipe packers of all sizes available to hire, so there’s no need for you to purchase all sizes to cover all possibilities – just hire any sizes you rarely use as and when you need them.

Pipe repair kits

Two PipeAid Patch Repair Kits
Pipe repair kits contain all of the single-use items needed to repair damaged underground pipes

Pipe repair kits contain all of the disposable and single-use items needed to repair damaged underground pipes. These include protective gloves, a glass mat, a groundsheet, ties, and protection hoses for your packer. You’ll also find the two most important things: a resin pack and a resin spreader. These and your packer are what allow you to repair underground pipes.

Before we discuss the mechanics of repairing a pipe with the equipment listed above, we should note that there are several different types of pipe repair kit available for straight and radial pipes, as well as for different sizes and lengths. So, before purchasing, make sure you’re ordering the right kit or kits.

How to repair underground pipes without digging holes

So, now you know what equipment you need, it’s time to discuss how you use it. The first step is to locate the damage and this is where your drain camera comes in. Once you’ve visually identified the damage, locate the camera’s position (it’s worth purchasing a camera with a built-in sonde for this reason, though a separate sonde can be purchased separately if needed) and note this. Then locate the access cover closest to the pipe that needs to be repaired.

Once an appropriate access cover has been found, you should apply your resin to your packer. Once this has been done, you simply move the packer into place (inside the damaged pipe) and inflate it. The resin will then harden, repairing the pipe. Following this, you can deflate and remove your packer.

Lateral reinstatements

Repairing instead of replacing damaged pipes makes financial sense, but there are a few things you’ll need to consider. In particular, when repairing main sewer lines, you’ll almost certainly close off the points where lateral drains join the pipe. Fortunately, there’s a straightforward solution.

Numerous machines are capable of moving through pipes and boring holes through the set resin, reconnecting laterals to the main pipe. These include Picote’s range of millers, which can be bought or hired from DCR.


Whilst you may think that you’ll need to make a considerable investment before your company will be able to offer no-dig pipe repair, the equipment can be obtained cheaply with proper planning. In the event that additional equipment is needed, it can be hired from companies like DCR meaning that there’s no need to spend large amounts of money on equipment that you’ll rarely need.

With the process of repairing underground pipes also typically being very straightforward, there’s very little reason why your company can’t offer this service.

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