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.

More: Professional Drain Cleaning Service: Is It Really Worth It?

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.

Posted on Categories Cast iron pipeTags Leave a comment on Cast Iron Pipe Repair: What to Know If Your Home Was Built Before 1975

Cast iron pipe repair is a serious issue for anyone who owns a home built before 1975. Is it possible to DIY a repair job? In this article, we discuss how to fix a leaking cast iron pipe and when you should contact a professional plumber.

If you home has cast iron pipes, listen up. Sooner or later, your pipes are going to leak. It’s not a question of if but of when, and when it happens, you need to be prepared. Want to learn how to fix your leaking cast iron pipes? Curious about when it might be time to bring in someone who knows what they are doing?

Here’s everything you need to know.

How Do I Know if I Need to Repair My Cast Iron Pipes?

1. Leaking

If you find leaks coming from your wall or floor, it might be time to check for cracks in your pipes. This damage allows water to seep through the iron and wreak havoc on your home.

2. Mold or Mildew

Similar to leaks, cracks in your pipes can allow excess moisture inside of your home. Humidity creates the perfect environment for fungus to grow.

3. Pungent Odor

Your sewer waste is supposed to be completely contained—the smell of sewage shouldn’t be permeating your house!

How to DIY Cast Iron Pipe Repair

Before you begin, it’s important to understand that there could be risks if your cast iron pipes have deteriorated. Cast iron is heavy and requires special clamps to hold it in place. If your cast iron is unstable, do not attempt to repair it on your own. Call a professional.

If, however, you only need to patch a small hole, here’s what you need to do.

Things you may need:

  • Putty knife
  • Plumber’s epoxy or repair paste
  • Wire brush
  • Hammer and chisel

Locate the Leak

In any plumbing job where water is leaking, the first thing you need to do is find where the water is coming from. Follow the water back to its source on the cast iron. For pipes that run horizontally, it may be helpful to know that most of the corrosion usually takes place on the bottom of the pipe.

Turn Off the Water

Once you have located the leak, turn off the water to prevent damage and so that you have a dry pipe to work with. You may need to turn off your home’s main water supply line.

Patch the Leak and Allow It to Dry

Now comes the cast iron pipe repair. There are a few possible scenarios in which a DIY repair job is appropriate for most non-professionals: small holes and leaking joints.

For small hole repairs, dry and clean the area around the hole with the wire brush, then apply the plumber’s epoxy. Refer to the instructions to see how long you should let the epoxy dry before using the pipe again.

For leaking joints, dry and clean the area around the leak with the wire brush, then use the putty knife to apply the repair paste. Again, check how long it will take to dry before allowing water to run through the pipe.

When to Contact a Professional for Cast Iron Pipe Repair

In some cases, the above repair methods will not work. For major corrosion problems, you may need to replace entire sections of pipe with PVC piping. If the problem is widespread, you may need to replace all of your home’s plumbing.

If you need to talk to a plumber you can trust to get the job done, get in touch with Custom Plumbing of Arizona today.

Posted on Categories Residential Plumbing Services, Cast iron pipe

How long do cast iron pipes last? It’s an important question if your home’s plumbing is on the older side. This article explains a few of the signs to look for if you have cast iron pipes in your home.

If your home was built before 1970, it’s likely that you could have cast iron plumbing. Why is this a problem? Well, unlike current options, cast iron pipes are susceptible to corrosion, which means you could be looking at expensive repairs if you don’t nip the problem in the bud.

It’s not always possible to know when your plumbing needs to be replaced, since it’s hidden behind plaster, wood, and drywall. However, if your pipes are made out of cast iron, these signs could mean that it’s time to get in touch with a plumber.

Water Discoloration

If you sometimes see discolored water—usually brown or yellowish in color—coming out of your taps, your pipes could be damaged. Discoloration is the result of years of corrosion. This is the most common sign that your cast iron pipes are reaching the end of their lifespan.

Frequent Leaks

A leak here and there might not point to a widespread problem with your plumbing. However, if you notice that the leaks are becoming more and more frequent, you should ask a plumber to take a look.

Sometimes, holes and cracks form in cast iron pipes because of exposure to sulfuric acid, a common ingredient in household cleaning products, including drain cleaning products. If you have cast iron pipes and you have used these products to unclog a drain in the past, you may have done irreparable damage.

Your pipes will need to be replaced.

If you are wondering how long do cast iron pipes last, it might be time to replace your plumbing. Contact us now to learn what steps you need to take.

Cracks in the Foundation of Your Home

Cracks in the foundation of your home can signal a much larger problem—damage to your main line. Don’t let this problem go unchecked for too long.

Pest Infestation

Have you noticed any rodents or insects in your home? Have these encounters become more numerous? They may be coming in through the cracks in your sewer pipes.

Calling pest control will get rid of the short-term problem, but unless you fix the pipes where these creatures are gaining access to your home, the problem won’t go away completely.

How Long Do Cast Iron Pipes Last? That’s a Question for an Expert

Have you experienced any of the above signs of deteriorating cast iron plumbing? You should get the opinion of a professional before your home suffers expensive damage.

Get in touch with the experts at Custom Plumbing of Arizona today. Let us send one of our plumbers to you so that you can rest easy that your home is safe from leaks and other common plumbing problems.

Posted on Categories Blog, Cast iron pipe, Residential Plumbing Services

As a homeowner, you should maintain your plumbing system to avoid dealing with the big repairs that come with neglect. To keep your system in tip-top shape, you’ll need to know some tips for general maintenance plumbing. In this article, we’ll go over some common ways to prevent possible issues you might face with your plumbing system.

Care for Your Bathroom Properly

Everyone knows that all plumbing devices require proper and careful treatment to prevent breakage.

#1: Clean Your Bathroom Fixtures

Your plumbing issues generally begin with your bathroom and toilet. Be sure to regularly clean the plumbing fixtures installed there.

#2: Avoid Sudden Temperature Changes

Enameled bathtubs will last much longer if you avoid sudden changes in the temperature of the water. When you are getting ready to take a bath, start with warm water, and gradually raise or lower the temperature. Otherwise, the enamel coating will quickly crack, yellow, and erase.

#3: Wash Your Bathtub with the Right Cleaners

After each use, the bath should be washed with warm water and appropriate detergents.

In no case can you clean any enameled bathtubs or sinks with agents that contain acid. Avoid the use of metal brushes, too.

#4: Clean Your Toilet Consistently

Your toilet must be kept clean since it can house and develop a huge number of pathogens. A good rule of thumb is to clean the toilet after 3-5 days. If it is so dirty that conventional means do not help, you can use a 5% solution of hydrochloric acid. But in normal cases, hydrochloric acid cannot be used!

Instead, try to stick to liquids, pastes, and powders. When working with them, wear rubber gloves to protect your hands. Keep these products in a tightly closed container (especially pastes) in a dry place.

#5: Remove Rust From Your Plumbing Fixtures

Often when cleaning plumbing fixtures, it is necessary to deal with rust. Luckily, there are various effective cleaning products.

Preparations such as Comet and other cleaning powders will remove rust. Dampen a sponge and sprinkle a small amount of powder on it. Moisten the previously contaminated surface and wipe it with your sponge. Once you are done, wash the treated plumbing fixture with clean running water.

Remember to avoid cleaners with hydrochloric acid as they can destroy the enamel of your fixtures.

Eliminate Unpleasant Odors

There are several common reasons for unpleasant odors in the kitchen or bathroom. Your sewer pipe joints may be damaged, you may have faulty hydraulic seals, something may be obstructing your sewerage, or your sewer risers could be poorly adjusted.

A lack of water in your hydraulic seal can be caused by water evaporation or the disruption of the water seal. Evaporation occurs when a plumbing device is not used for a long time. Before leaving your home for a long vacation, pour a small amount of engine oil in the hydraulic locks.

When disconnecting the water seal, water is sucked into the riser. If you hear squelching sounds in the water locks, they may indicate that a breakdown is imminent.

Seal failure can also occur due to poor ventilation of the sewage network. It can occur when a sewer riser is frozen in winter, when foreign objects enter the network (for example, from a roof), and also when the riser is a small diameter.

Unpleasant smells can also appear due to defects in siphons. The most common of these is a truncated septum. To get rid of smells, in this case, you must completely replace the siphon.

Clear Blockages

Clogs may occur in any plumbing equipment, but if a clog happens in a toilet, it can turn into a real disaster, very quickly. The situation is further complicated by the fact that it is very difficult to determine exactly where the clog happened—it could be in the toilet located in your apartment, or in the riser several floors below.

If the congestion is in the riser, fecal water can flow from your toilet bowl. Unfortunately, it usually takes a long time to clean the riser.

Method 1: Use a Plunger

If there is a blockage, first of all, it is necessary to use the plunger. The plunger will push the water under pressure through the siphon and the discharge pipe. But the plunger may not help in eliminating the congestion.

Method 2: Use a Flexible Cable

If a plunger does not work, you can try using a flexible cable. In this case, one hand should push the cable into the hole, and the other should rotate the handle.

As soon as the water starts to leave more slowly, start cleaning your siphons and pipes urgently. Bathtub siphons are not equipped with settling filters, so you can either clean the siphon by disassembling it or use the plunger. When you use the plunger, you need to close the overflow hole with a hand.

If the siphon of your kitchen sink is clogged, the cleaning should be carried out as quickly as possible, since the fat and food particles will instantly turn a small clog into a large one.

When washing and cleaning the sink, use the “tap-drain” method. On the faucet mixer, you need to clamp one end of the hose, and insert the other into the drain. Then, start the hot water.

Clogs formed in bottle plastic, bottle brass, and chrome-plated siphons cannot be cleaned with a cable. If the plunger is useless, you need to turn off the clarifiers or, at the very least, wash the siphons with hot water (but not boiling water, as there are temperature limits for polyvinyl chloride siphons). You can add detergent to the water to dissolve the accumulated fat.

To eliminate buildup in cast iron and steel siphons, you can use a solution of caustic soda (1 tablespoon of soda per liter of hot water). Use caution—caustic soda can cause a chemical burn.

Another good tool for splitting through fats and buildup is calcined soda. Use 1 tablespoon of soda per liter of hot water.

Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing

Frozen pipes may break due to the pressure of the ice that has accumulated inside them. The best way to protect the pipes from freezing is to completely drain water from the water pipe.

But what do you do if your pipes are still frozen? You can try to start raising the temperature in the room. For example, you can use a blowtorch and gently warm the pipe, or install electric tiles in frozen areas.

Be sure to remember that you cannot start heating the pipe at a high temperature. First, you need to open the tap, then slowly warm the pipe.

If your pipe has burst, it can be temporarily repaired with a rubber bandage, which must be secured with a steel yoke.

Protect Your Pipes Against Corrosion

Metal pipes are susceptible to rust (both inside and outside). As a result of corrosion, clogs, fistulas, and water leakage can occur. In general, the lifetime of your pipes is significantly lower.

Naturally, corrosion is easier to prevent than fight it. There are various ways to do this, both passive and active.

The passive method is to insulate the pipes inside and outside.

The active method involves electrical protection. Pipes produced in factories usually do not have an anticorrosion coating. Therefore, protection against rust should be carried out before or during the laying of pipes. As an external insulation for steel pipes, bitumen-polymer, bitumen-mineral, ethylene, and similar coatings are used, the choice of which depends on the soil.

Coatings of cement are used for internal protection of steel and cast-iron pipes. They are reliable and economical. Also, cast iron pipes are covered with oil bitumen or a layer of whitened cast iron to increase strength.

If your pipes already have rust, then before they are laid, you must clean them and apply a protective coating. When the coating is dry, the pipes must be oiled and painted with oil paint.

The electrochemical method of corrosion protection involved applying a zinc coating, which significantly slows down the destruction of steel pipes.

Now you have a few more maintenance plumbing tools of your own to keep your home running smoothly.

Posted on Categories Blog, Cast iron pipeTags