If you live in a home built before 2000, chances are it may be time to update your plumbing. And if your house was built before the 1970s, well, then you most likely have cast iron pipes. This is not bad news; it just means it’s time to have your pipes inspected.
Cast iron was a popular choice in the 20th century, and they were very durable. However, they will most certainly be reaching the end of their life span by now. It’s a tricky thing to know if your pipes are damaged because you can’t see them. They’re nicely hiding behind walls or in crawl spaces.
Are there signs you can look out for that reveal that your cast iron plumbing needs an upgrade or repair? Yes, there are. In this post, we look at a few of these signs and whether you should repair or replace your cast iron pipes, if you can do this DIY-style, and how the professionals get the job done.
10 Signs Your Cast Iron Plumbing Needs Replacement or Repair
- Discoloration: If you sometimes see brown or yellow colored water coming out of your faucets, this could be from corrosion or rust, which cast iron pipes are susceptible to.
- Leaks: If you have persistent leaks, they may be due to cracks in your pipes or damage caused by sulfuric acid. If they persist, it’s time to check your pipes.
- Backups/Slow Draining: Does your toilet slowly drain when you flush or unplug the sink? Chances are your cast iron sewer pipes are damaged.
- Odor: Cracked pipes can cause sewer gas to escape. This gas has a foul odor, and it’s not healthy for you.
- Mold: If you have cracked pipes leaking behind your walls, chances are you may have mold growing. Mold only needs as little as 55% humidity for growth.
- Healthy Lawn: If your lawn is looking better than ever, and it’s not because of your hard work outdoors, it could be a sign your sewer is leaking and acting as a natural fertilizer.
- Indents or Sagging: If a water or sewage line is cracked and constantly leaking underneath your garden or pavement, it can cause parts of the ground to sag.
- Cracks: If your mainline has a leak that you haven’t detected, it can cause cracks in the foundation or along the walls. These need to be repaired ASAP.
- Puddles: If you find puddles or sewage waste in your yard, you know you have damaged plumbing pipes. Look for the leak directly underneath the puddle.
- Infestation: Rodents or insects can get into your house through tiny cracks in your pipes. This may be an indirect sign of your damaged cast iron plumbing.
Should You Repair or Replace Cast Iron Drain Pipes?
Because cast iron piping was only designed to last 50 years, it’s best to replace your pipes sooner rather than later if you start to see deterioration. Many factors lead to the breakdown of cast iron pipes.
Repairing a cast iron pipe is only a temporary solution to a problem that will probably continue if your pipes are of age. It can be an excellent quick fix but is not the solution to your problem. When you do repairs to your cast iron pipe, the pipe will eventually crumble, crack, break, or leak on each side of the repair. It’s just the nature of cast iron.
If you need to budget for the replacement job or quickly stop a leak, by all means, have a spot repair done. But certainly, aim for replacing your pipes as soon as you can.
Can You Repair a Cast Iron Drain Pipe Yourself?
If your pipe shows only a tiny problematic section with a leak or crack, it should be easy enough for you to make the spot repair yourself. But if there are leaks and fissures everywhere, it’s most certainly recommended that you call the experts to handle the repair of the pipes. If you’re going to tackle the job yourself, you can use cast iron repair paste of plumber’s epoxy. This will fix any holes or leaks.
How do the Professionals Repair a Cast Iron Drain Pipe?
First off, the experts need to see what they are working with. Some have equipment that can send a tiny camera through all your pipes. The camera will measure and record the condition of your pipes. The aim is to find the problem and, from there, determine what method or repair is best.
As mentioned before, the professionals are unlikely to recommend spot repairs for failing cast iron drain pipes. But there are two band-aid repair jobs they can do if this is your choice.
- Spot Repairs: This patch job is a quick emergency repair that will help fix a sudden leak. It will not be a permanent solution.
- Point Repairs: These are like cured-in-place pipes. The experts will install a CIPP liner in the small section of the pipe that needs repair.
If it has been a while since a professional plumber has inspected your plumbing and you are showing signs of problems, it’s time to call in Accurate Leak for a professional assessment. We’ll conclude a comprehensive sewer video inspection to determine if your pipes need replacing.
Call The Experts
Replacing cast iron pipes now will prevent major repairs from having to be done to your home down the line. Take control now by calling the best plumbing professionals in Texas at Accurate Leak.
Accurate Leak can give you prompt plumbing service and repair any problems that you have. From a leak to a deep clog, their team of professionals can handle it. To find out more, go to our website to find your local branch.