Digging up the landscape. Jackhammering the concrete. Tearing out plants. Pulling out failing pipes and replacing them with new ones.

If you're still repiping pools, you may be making your renovation job more difficult than it needs to be.

A modern alternative to a repipe, pipe lining, can offer an easier way to renovate aged or failing piping systems in pools and spas.

Pipe lining has been utilized in the United States since the 1980s. But since the turn of the millennium, pipe lining has gained momentum as useful tool for renovating pool and custom spa plumbing without digging.

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There are different types of pipe lining and different companies that manufacture their own materials and equipment, but the particular type of pipe lining for water supply pipes (pressurized pipes) is called blown-through lining. This uses clean, compressed air to apply a liquid epoxy resin through a cleaned and prepped piping system.

What's left inside the pipes after the application is a protective, strong, durable epoxy barrier coating that greatly reduces the chances of leaks, corrosion buildup and other types of failures.

Compared to a repipe, the blown-through lining application process has many benefits that include minimal to no destruction of existing structures, less disruption to the homeowner, much shorter project turnaround time (some companies can complete a project in just one day), and often much lower cost for the customer since materials like concrete and landscaping do not need to be removed and replaced.

For these reasons, pool service professionals are using blown-through lining (also called epoxy coating) technologies for certain pool piping problems.
One example is Tri Cities Pools, an established pool service and repair company in Brea, California, that was recently contacted by a homeowner who was experiencing a water piping problem with his pool's water feature (a stainless steel water cannon). Water leaked out the side of the pool wall and the concrete deck whenever the water feature was in operation.

Lani Shaw of Tri Cities Pools assessed the problem thus: For a traditional repair, Tri Cities would have to jackhammer the wall, thus taking the chance of damaging the pool wall, coping or plaster. Shaw instead chose to go with epoxy coating technology from Pipe Restoration, Inc. The process, known as ePIPE, applied an NSF 61 approved resin that cures in 90 minutes, so the project could be completed in just one day.

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First, the certified ePIPE team drained the pool lines to be worked on and hooked up an air compressor to the pool pump's existing piping system. Next, clean hot air from the compressor was blown through the 2-inch wide plastic piping to the water cannon, drying it. Then an abrasive agent was blown through those same pipes to clean them and prep them for epoxy adhesion. Finally, liquid epoxy was blown through the pipes, from the pool pump to the cannons. Once the epoxy cured, a protective barrier coating had formed, closing off leaks and preventing further leaks from occurring.

Using ePIPE, the project was completed in just five hours. If a traditional repair (jackhammering) was chosen, the project was estimated to have taken several days.

Of the project, Shaw said simply, "I wanted to keep my customer happy and get the problem fixed quickly with the least amount of damage." That objective was accomplished using blown-through epoxy pipe lining.

Amanda Strouse is on the marketing and public relations team for ACE DuraFlo, maker and installer of ePIPE.