If you want to know the cost to replace a cast iron drain pipe, you have probably noticed some signs of leaks in your house. We put together some commonly asked questions about cast iron drain pipes and a list of things you should look out for.
How Long Do Cast Iron Drain Pipes Last?
Cast iron drain pipes can last anywhere from 80 to 100 years. Most houses built before 1970 contain cast iron pipes because plastic piping didn’t exist yet. Before the 1970s, cast iron pipes were the most durable option and could withstand heavy loads and high pressure.
But every property is different and a variety of factors could cause your cast iron pipes to fail long before that. Old trees have extensive root systems that can spread into the plumbing system and damage the pipes. A lot of the chemicals we flush down drains are caustic and rust cast iron drain pipes from the inside out. Depending on the type of soil and water quality on your property as well as extreme weather changes, your cast iron pipes might not last as long as you might hope.
It’s not a question ofif your cast iron drain pipes will go bad, but rather when they will go bad.
Is it Necessary to Replace Cast Iron Plumbing?
Repairing cast iron plumbing can be like a game of whack-a-mole. Although you might fix a few problems today, several will pop up tomorrow and demand the same or more attention. If the pipes are old, there is only so much you can do to spot fix them. Spot repairs to fix leaks end up wasting time and money.
We know that the idea of replacing everything at once is daunting. But it’s important to realize that all these small repairs add up in the end. You’ll need to replace the pipes anyway. If your pipes are all the same age, chances are you’ll find problems in all areas of the drain pipe system under your house eventually.
Sometimes it’s possible to replace your cast iron drain pipe in stages. This means you could replace one section of the system now, and another part in six months. Splitting the job up reduces some of the initial sticker shock you might have from the thought of replacing the entire system.
How Much Does it Cost to Replace the Cast Iron Drain Pipe Under Your House?
The cost of replacing the cast iron drain pipe under your house depends on many different factors. A rough, ballpark estimate is about $175 per foot of piping. It’s important to always budget for more. Sometimes there are extra costs from replacing concrete or tile, accommodation (you might need to leave your house until the repair is finished), and more. Repairing afoundation can cost roughly around $4,000. Cleaning up water damage can cost roughly around $2,500. Removing standing water might cost roughly around $3,000.
A good plumber may be able to recommend a professional that can perform these repairs, and sometimes do them themselves. You can do your part by looking out for leaks, water damage, or pooling in your yard. The sooner you catch the signs of leaking or line breaks, the less damage you’ll deal with later on.
Look for a plumber that offers a lowest price pledge like Level Home Foundation Repair.
How Do You Replace a Cast Iron Drain Pipe Under Your House?
This will depend on the foundation of the house, surrounding trees and vegetation, and other unique structural features of the property. Plumbers will often use a drain camera to locate the problem areas. The pipes are gradually removed and replaced with plastic or PVC pipes.
What Are The Signs You Need to Replace Cast Iron Drain Pipes?
An unusually healthy looking lawn
Are you noticing a greener lawn, even though you haven’t done anything to treat it? Although sewage is very toxic for humans, plants thrive from it. It acts as a natural fertilizer for vegetation. Lush green patches in the middle of a dry, brown lawn could be a sign you need to replace a leaky cast iron drain pipe under your house.
Discolored water or foul odor
All sewer systems that are in good condition should be airtight. There are only a few exceptions for vent stacks. If you smell sewer gas around your home, you might have a cracked pipe. If you see any brown or yellow water coming out of your tap, you could also have a cracked pipe. Unless you use water from a well or live in a remote, rural area, discolored water is usually a sign of damaged cast iron drain pipes. Discolored water indicates rust or corrosion. This means your cast iron pipes are starting to approach the end of their lifespan. Cracked pipes cause sewer gas to escape. This is unhealthy for you and your family. If you smell sewer gas anywhere in your house, you should call a plumber. Unless you live in a rural area or use water from a well, discolored water is a sign of damaged pipes.
Puddles and leaks
If you see any sewage puddles anywhere on your property, you certainly have a problem somewhere. This needs urgent attention. Sewage is extremely toxic to humans. Contact a plumber immediately.
Sewer pipes aren’t the first suspect when it comes to insect and rodent infestations. But make no mistake: cockroaches, flies, and rats love to travel through cracked cast iron drain pipes. An influx of insects and rodents could be due to a crack in your pipe that might allow entry to your home. They easily make their way through even the smallest cracks in your pipes. If you’ve hired an exterminator and your pest problem still persists, it’s time to take a look at your pipes.
Mold on your walls is a visible sign of damage. It can start to grow with as little as 55% humidity. If a pipe cracks behind your walls and leaks water, it’s easy for mold to start growing. Some mold can be dangerous to ingest.
Does your water take a long time to drain after flushing the toilet or filling the sink? This could be a sign that the cast iron drain pipes are damaged. A lot of common household cleaning products for unblocking pipes contain substances that further damage cast iron pipes.
Dips in your lawn or pavement
When a cast iron drain pipe under your house, lawn, or driveway cracks, water can pool. After a while, it can erode the soil and cause parts of the grand to sag. Sometimes these dips or indentations can be hard to notice, but they are a clear sign that your plumbing is in poor health and needs attention.
If you see any cracks in your walls or foundation, act quickly. Cracks are a serious sign of a damaged pipe. Cracks usually indicate a cast iron pipe that has been broken for a long time.This happens because the mainline had a leak that went undetected. You could risk the formation of a sinkhole if you are not careful.
How Do You Find a Break or Leak in the Line of Your Cast Iron Drain Pipe Under Your House?
It’s usually quite difficult to find a break in your sewage line unless you can see a clog through a drain or a cracked pipe under a sink. Your plumber might test water pressure or use a sewer camera.
Sometimes a visual inspection doesn’t cut it. If a lot of time has passed since you last called a plumber, you can call us for an inspection. We can help you determine if your pipes need replacing.
If you’ve noticed any of the signs of a broken cast iron drain pipe under your house, don’t delay in contacting us! The cost of replacement will certainly be less than repairing the potential damage in the future.