People expect cast iron pipes to last up to 100 years. However, the weather and environmental circumstances have caused pipes in millions of houses in Southern Florida to fail in as little as 25 years. An expensive repair to a broken pipe can leave some insurance companies refusing to foot the bill.
Cast iron pipes were used for plumbing in homes for more than a hundred years because they were cheap and could last for 80 to 100 years. Since PVC plastic pipes were made, which are even cheaper and can last even longer, they are almost no longer used
Still, about 76 million American homes have pipes made of cast iron. Pipes in many homes built between the 1920s and 1940s are getting to the end of their useful lives. Some pipes, though, have broken after only 25 years.
Homes in South Florida built as recently as 1975 have a higher rate of broken pipes than the rest of the country. Some homeowners have been surprised by bills they didn’t expect.
How to Fix Your Pipes If They Break
Be careful what you flush down the toilet, and your pipes will last longer. The rough insides of cast iron pipes can get caught on things like wet wipes and feminine products, even if they say they can be flushed. This can cause clogs and make the pipes break down faster.
Metal pipes can be corroded by harsh drain cleansers and other chemicals. Drain cleaners with enzymes are a better choice.
Cast iron pipe that has rust!
If you’re purchasing a home that is more than a decade old, you may want to hire a plumber to evaluate the pipes as well. Although PVC pipes in the walls have been removed, cast iron pipes encased in or buried beneath concrete may still exist.
Prior to undertaking any major home repair tasks, you should get your pipes inspected to ensure that they aren’t about to explode. A simple pipe inspection could cost as little as $200 and keep you from having to pay for expensive repairs out of your savings.
Do you have cast iron pipes in your house? It could be time to get a new one.
If the house you want to buy was built before 1970, the drain waste system is probably made of cast iron.
People have different ideas about how useful and long-lasting cast iron is. You’ll have to figure out what’s true and what’s not, block out the noise, and make a smart choice about your future or current home.
Cast iron plumbing has been used for hundreds of years because it lasts a long time and keeps running water from making too much noise. So why do they have a bad name? It’s all about the way things work.
Possible Risks of Cast Iron Pipes
Hydrogen sulfide gas is made when waste is moved through pipes made of cast iron. When these gases break down, sulfuric acid is made, which is corrosive and rusts the pipes from the inside out.
Rust flakes inside the pipe can gather in one spot and block the flow of water. Slow drainage is often the first sign of a problem, and homeowners may have to call a plumber every six months to clean out the pipe.
If the pipes are under the slab, it will be hard to check on them. For an Austin home inspection, hire a skilled, licensed plumber to put a Borescope down the drain to look inside the pipe.
7 Signs That Your Cast Iron Pipes Need to Be Replaced or Fixed
Cast iron pipes are subject to corrosion and rust, thus if you see brown or yellow water pouring from your faucets, this could be because of the corrosion or rust.
If you have leaks that keep happening, it could be because your pipes have cracks or because sulfuric acid has damaged them. If they keep coming back, you should check your pipes.
3. Backups/Slow Draining
In the event of a backup or delayed draining, call your water company right away. There’s a good chance that your cast iron sewer pipes are broken.
Sewer gas can leak out of pipes that are broken. This gas smells bad and is bad for your health.
If your pipes are broken and leaking behind your walls, mold may be growing. Mold can grow in places where the humidity is as low as 55%.
6. Healthy Lawn
If your grass is looking better than ever, but it’s not due to your outdoor labor, it may be an indication that your sewer is leaking and functioning as a natural fertilizer.
7. Indents or Sagging
There are a number of things that can cause the earth to sag in your garden or pavement if you have a leaking water or sewer line under your property.
How to Change Your Cast Iron Pipes
If the house is built on piers and beams, it can be tempting to make repairs here and there. Why not just change the few feet of pipe that are broken? This is not a good idea.
Unless all the old pipes are replaced, it’s hard to get a licensed professional to guarantee their work. Spot repairs to the pipes can cause the foundation system to be exposed to too much moisture that might not be noticed. This could cause the house to settle and grow mold. If you see that there have been small repairs or possible leaks in the past, you should also call mold inspectors.
So should you keep cast iron pipes or throw them away? Old waste pipes made of cast iron need to be looked at on a case-by-case basis. First, hire a professional home inspector to find out how well the drain waste system works.
If possible, ask your home inspector to look at the pipes with his or her eyes. If the person doing your property inspection is any good at all, he or she will flood test several sinks and tubs to find ones with slow drainage.
But slow drainage can be caused by other things and may not mean that the cast iron pipes are broken, so the second step is to call a licensed plumber to check the inside and, if possible, the outside of the pipes.
If you don’t fix or line the broken pipes, you might have more problems in the future. Know the truth, know your house, and know what choices you have. Make sure you know what kind of plumbing your home (or possible home) has by having a complete home inspection done.
Should You Fix Cast Iron Drain Pipes Or Get New Ones?
Since cast iron pipes were only made to last 50 years, it’s best to replace them as soon as possible if you see signs of wear and tear. There are many things that can cause cast iron pipes to break.
Only a short-term fix for an ongoing problem can be found by replacing the cast iron pipe with a new one. It might be a good quick fix, but it won’t solve your problem. Repairing a cast iron pipe will eventually result in the pipe collapsing or cracking, breaking, or leaking on both sides of the repair. It’s the way cast iron is made.
Do a spot repair if you need to save money for the replacement job or stop a leak quickly. But you should try to get new pipes as soon as you can.
Can You Fix a Drain Pipe Made of Cast Iron Yourself?
If your pipe simply has a little leak or crack, you should be able to repair it yourself. But if there are leaks and cracks everywhere, you should definitely call a plumber to fix the pipes. You can utilize cast iron repair paste made of plumber’s epoxy if you’re intending to do the work yourself. This will stop any leaks or holes.
How do pros fix a drain pipe made of cast iron?
First, the experts have to look at what they have to work with. Some people have tools that let them send a small camera into all your pipes. The camera will assess and keep track of how your pipes are doing. The goal is to find out what’s wrong and then figure out the best way to fix it.
As we’ve already said, professionals aren’t likely to suggest making small repairs to broken cast iron drain pipes. But if this is your choice, they can do one of two quick fixes.
• Spot Repairs: This patch job is a quick emergency fix that will stop a sudden leak. It won’t solve the problem for good.
• Point Repairs: These work like cured-in-place pipes. The small part of the pipe that needs to be fixed will get a CIPP liner put in by the experts.
If you haven’t had your plumbing tested by a professional in a while and are experiencing issues, contact Accurate Leak today. We’ll finish a thorough video inspection of your sewer to see if your pipes need to be replaced.