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When Should You Replace Cast Iron Plumbing?

jun 9

If you do not know the age of your home’s cast iron pipes, you may never know that they are corroding and require replacement. While there are signs that they aren’t working as well as they could be, a visual inspection will usually verify corrosion. Here is what to look for to determine if your home’s cast iron plumbing should be replaced:

1. Slow drainage and pipe blockages

Cast iron piping carries waste water and can last for a long time.  One sign of corrosion with cast iron pipes is seen when the hydrogen sulfide gas that forms in the waste water pipes oxidize, creating sulphuric acid. It is this acid that corrodes the pipes, rusting them from the inside out.  When the rusting process starts, small rust flakes can peel off and build up in one place in the pipe causing small blockages & slow drainage.  If you have to call in your plumber fairly often to continuously clear these blockages, it is time to discuss with them whether or not you should replace your pipes.

2. Evidence of interior pipe corrosion

Many will show signs of rust on top of the pipe, but that alone is not usually a sign that they need replacing.  Replace cast iron plumbing if the corrosion is leaving deep pitting on the pipes. This signals that the corrosion is not just on the exterior of the pipe, but corrosion is starting from within and working its way to the outside of the pipe.

3. Broken seams

When you can see with the naked eye a crack in the pipe, either on the seam or along the pipe, those cracks are signs that the pipe needs to be replaced. This is especially true if the cracks are leaking. The seams are made when the pipe is formed and the crack is due to the creation of hydrogen sulfide gas that over time has weakened the walls of your pipe.

4. Patches of rust

Often there are big blob-like patches of rust on the underside of the pipes, which are usually signs of corrosion. The patches can be either small or large, from little bumps to those that can be size of a quarter. They will usually extend out from the pipe.

These patches will not usually leak so they are often overlooked. Though they might not be as obvious as a cracked seam, these patches are evidence of internal corrosion and indicate the wall of the pipe is corroded and should be replaced.

Your plumber can assist you in determining whether your cast iron plumbing should be replaced if you cannot visually inspect it. Contact us at Express Rooter Plumbing for an appointment to discuss all of your plumbing needs.

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