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When to Replace Drain Pipes

If you find your drain pipes rusted, damaged, burst or leaking, they should be replaced as soon as possible. Not only are you leaving your home open to water damage, but a damaged drain pipe could also allow sewer gases to build up in your bathroom or kitchen. These gases are a health hazard and can be extremely harmful to you and your family. Replacing or repairing broken drain pipes is essential for preventing damage to your home.

 Over time, drain pipes can become worn or damaged which will require a repair or replacement. Owners of older homes are at an increased risk of encountering damaged drain pipes. Many older homes have cast-iron or galvanized drain pipes which eventually wear out. Years of water and waste passing through can cause cast-iron drain pipes to deteriorate, leaving you with an inefficient drain system or a mess from leakage. Although cast iron pipes are very durable and known to be quieter when water is flowing through them, they are quite difficult to work with and will cost a great deal more than their modern plastic equivalents. You can replace your old cast-iron pipes with new polyvinyl chloride (PVC) drain pipes for a long-lasting drain system. PVC pipes are very durable and are easier to work with. PVC (white) is installed below ground level, ABS (black) is installed above ground. Cast iron is usually above ground, so we should mention ABS more than PVC.  Small portion of underground sewer system is composed of cast iron. 

If you are replacing a small portion of damaged cast-iron pipe, you can do the job yourself. You can replace the damaged section with a length of new PVC (ABS) pipe, joining it to the existing cast-iron pipe using couplings. Always remember to check local plumbing codes before starting your project to ensure that you are doing the job properly and up to code. If at any point in the project, you are unsure of how to proceed, don’t hesitate to call your local plumber.

However, if your pipes have extensive damage, or if want to replace all cast-iron pipes in your home with PVC (ABS), you will need to hire a plumbing contractor to do the job. This project may require permits, as well as digging up your backyard, front yard and floors. When you’re renovating an older house, especially one with cast-iron drain pipes, it may pay to replace the all of the pipes with PVC (ABS) as part of the renovation. It will preclude future problems you may encounter with the older types of drain pipes and will ensure that your drainage system works well for years to come!

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