In the world of plumbing, cast iron pipe repair has been a staple since long before the 1970s. While it may not seem like ancient history, it’s important to realize that these pipes are now reaching the ripe age of 50 years and older. Designed to last between 50 and 100 years, the cast iron drain pipes in homes constructed in the 1920s and 1930s are well beyond their expected lifespan. As a homeowner, it’s crucial to be aware of the signs that indicate the need for cast iron pipe repair.
In this blog, we will explore these signs, understand why corrosion occurs, and provide guidance on when to seek professional help.
Signs You Need Cast Iron Pipe Repair
- Leaks: Cracks or damage caused by corrosive materials, such as sulfuric acid or drain cleaners, can lead to leaks in your cast iron pipes. To check for leaks, inspect any exposed pipe sections and look for dripping or signs of leakage.
- Strange Lawn Signs: Leaking sewage acts as a fertilizer, resulting in an unusually lush and vibrant green lawn. If you notice puddles of water or sewage waste in your yard, it’s a clear indication that a pipe is cracked and leaking. Keep an eye out for sinking soil, fertile patches of grass, and strange bumps or ditches caused by soil erosion due to leaking pipes.
- Foundation Cracks: Leaking pipes can wreak havoc on your home’s foundation, causing cracks to appear. If you observe such foundation damage, it’s crucial to contact a plumber and a foundation repair specialist promptly to address the issue before it worsens.
- Sewer Odor: A properly functioning sewer system should be airtight, so if you can detect the distinct smell of sewage, it could be a sign of a cracked sewer pipe. Prolonged exposure to sewer gas can have adverse health effects, underscoring the importance of addressing the issue promptly.
- Backups: Slow draining, recurrent clogs, and sewage backups are clear indications of failing cast iron pipes. These issues can disrupt your daily life and should be addressed without delay to prevent further damage and inconvenience.
- Mold: A cracked drain pipe within your walls or floors can create a moist environment, increasing humidity and providing the perfect conditions for mold growth. If you notice the presence of mold or detect a musty odor, it’s crucial to have your pipes inspected and repaired to maintain a healthy living environment.
- Rodents or Insects: Even the smallest cracks in your pipes can serve as entry points for unwelcome pests such as rodents and insects. Cockroaches, palmetto bugs, flies, and other pests can find their way into your home through these openings. While pest control measures may eliminate the current invaders, the problem will persist unless the underlying pipe issues are resolved.
Why Does Cast Iron Pipe Corrosion Occur?
Corrosion of cast iron pipes can occur due to various factors, particularly when they are buried underground. One common cause is external corrosion, resulting from the materials present in the surrounding soil. Soil often contains high levels of acidity and toxins that contribute to the rusting of cast iron pipes. While external rust may not immediately raise concerns, it can serve as an indication of more significant problems within the internal piping system.
On the other hand, internal corrosion occurs within the pipes themselves and is primarily caused by the acidity of the sewage flowing through them. The waste running through the pipes generates hydrogen sulfide gas, which oxidizes and forms sulfuric acid. Unfortunately, sulfuric acid is highly corrosive to cast iron. It’s worth noting that certain household drain cleaners contain sulfuric acid, which can accelerate pipe corrosion. Therefore, it is advisable to check the ingredients of any drain cleaners you use to avoid exacerbating the corrosion issue.
When to Call a Plumber
While some minor plumbing issues can be tackled on your own, when it comes to cast iron pipe repair, it’s best to enlist the help of a professional emergency plumber. If you notice any of the signs mentioned earlier or suspect problems with your cast iron drain pipes, it’s crucial to reach out to a reputable plumbing service in your area. By entrusting the job to experts, you can ensure that the repairs are done correctly and efficiently, saving you time, effort, and potential further damage. If you reside in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Glendale, Buckeye, or any surrounding areas in Arizona, Custom Plumbing of Arizona is the premier choice for all your drain cleaning and cast iron pipe repair needs. With our team of skilled plumbers and a commitment to customer satisfaction, Custom Plumbing is dedicated to restoring the functionality of your plumbing system. To schedule an appointment or seek professional advice, contact Custom Plumbing today at 602-866-2665.