Cast Iron Pipe Replacement | APT

Cast Iron Pipe Replacement

Residential Cast Iron Pipe Replacement

If your home was built before 1975, or if you're buying a home built before that year, there is a good chance it will have cast iron pipes. Because cast iron is so durable, it's been used for plumbing in houses and commercial buildings for more than a hundred years.

Cast iron was meant to last between 50-100 years, it can withstand high pressure, and it won't melt or burn. Cast iron was the gold standard for pipes in the early 20th century. However, despite its dependability, structures built in the 1940s or 1950s are reaching the end of their lifespan.

The Downfall of Cast Iron Pipes

Unfortunately, there are certain disadvantages that come with using cast iron for plumbing. When these pipes carry waste from your home, hydrogen sulfide gasses are created. When they oxidize, corrosive sulfuric acid is created and this acid is hard on cast iron. The sulfuric acid will corrode and rust the pipes from the inside out.

The rust within the pipes can gather in one location and restrict water flow and affect water pressure. If there is a change and the result is low water pressure, this is indicative of a plumbing issue. Odds are, you've noticed this and have called a plumber at least once or twice to clean the corrosion from the pipes. This is a temporary fix. The corrosion will also affect the water quality, making it questionable as to whether or not your drinking water is safe.

Cast Iron System Failure: Signs & Symptoms

One sign that there is a problem with your cast iron plumbing system is a gurgling sound or the smell of sewer gas. The smell of sewer gas is a sign that there is a broken pipe. The break is releasing gases into the air that would normally be vented to the outdoors, and these gases are not healthy to have in your home.

Other signs that there is an issue with your old plumbing are roach/pest infestation (including rats), warped wood floors, water-stained tiles or grout, or water damage to your carpet. If you should experience any of these warning signs, your plumbing system is likely failing. The first step in knowing what your options are is to call a professional plumber for an inspection.

An inspection of your pipes will probably involve using a large amount of water to check for adequate drainage and pressure. That's one test that can be conducted. The best way and the highly recommended way is that an in-line camera inspection take place in order to actually see the condition of the pipes. The sewer camera can detect old rags and any other debris that might be clogging the lines.

Removing these items will help temporarily, but if this continues to happen, that means paper products are getting hung up on mineral buildup or jagged, heavy corrosion. Another task the camera can do is find rather obvious large leaks, and help you find the supply line before digging. What a sewer camera cannot do is detect small leaks or small cuts in your pipes.

Free Video Inspection

If your home was built before 1975 we offer a free video inspection, so you can see the current state of your cast iron system.

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Replacing Residential Sewer Lines

Cast iron piping was meant to last fifty years or longer, but they will get old and start to deteriorate. There are so many factors to be considered when talking about the deterioration of cast iron pipes. There is no way to know when they will go bad, but it is certain that they will.

Eventually, all cast iron pipes will need to be replaced. A lot of people choose to only repair what needs the most attention due to the high costs of replacing all the pipes. Repairing the major leaks and cracks will buy you some time, but it'll only fix the issue for now.

It is also important to remember that any time a cast iron pipe that is located under a concrete slab is repaired, only the sections where leaks are located are repaired by some companies. However, this won't address future issues that may occur or address any sections with minor leaks not yet detected.

The cast iron on either side of the new pipe will eventually crack, crumble, corrode, and leak as well. Because of this, it doesn't make a lot of sense to locate and repair just the parts where repair is needed. Either way, repairs or total replacement of pipes in your entire house can cost a significant amount of money, depending upon how your house is currently plumbed. Check out our Cast Iron Pipe Replacement Cost Calculator.

If your existing water line is located under the house and can be accessed from a crawlspace, this can save you money since the plumber will have an easier time getting to the plumbing. If your pipes are located under a slab, cutting through the concrete will be necessary to remove and replace the old pipes.

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