Planning to replace a cast iron sewer pipe – Here is what you should know!

Are you a recent homeowner? If you had a new home built, you don’t need to worry about its plumbing. However, if you have moved into a house that was constructed before 2000, then you may need to replace the outdated plumbing. Any houses that are older than two or three decades could have cast iron sewer pipes. They might need to be replaced.

But how can you tell if that is the case with the plumbing in your house?

Signs indicating outdated cast iron plumbing

We mention the top 5 plumbing signs that indicate the cast iron sewer pipes need to go:

  1. Discoloration

You may spot brown or yellow colored water exiting the taps. Unless you get your water supply from a well, the discoloration is due to a corroding cast iron pipe. It will need replacement.


  • Leaks


Do you spend your days fielding frequent leaks? Then you may have cracked pipes. Sulfuric acid can damage pipes in this way too. Call a plumber, and they can come to check it out if the leaks persist even after cleaning.


  • Slow Draining/Backups


Flushing the toilet shouldn’t result in a backup or drain slowly. Should you observe that in your home, it is a sure sign that the cast iron sewer pipes are damaged. When you use unblocking chemicals for the drain, you exacerbate the problem. That’s because most cleaning products contain sulfuric acid.


  • Odor


Other than a few vents, the sewer system in your house should be airtight. However, if it isn’t in good condition and the pipes show cracks, you will be able to smell the escaping sewer gas from the plumbing. It may be time to call and ask for expert help when that happens.


  • Mold


When a cast iron pipe develops cracks, it begins leaking water. This moisture will seep into your walls and encourage mold growth. It is another indication that your cast iron sewer pipes aren’t in full working condition.

Before we look at the cost of replacement, let us discuss the consequences of ignoring cracked cast iron pipes:

The cost of not replacing damaged cast iron sewer pipes

You may have to shell out cash on almost a regular basis to fix the leaks and other signs of damages. The drains will keep backing up too. Rat infestations and mold growth are two other consequences of neglecting damage to plumbing. 

Adding up all these expenses will result in money that you can save by replacing the pipe. Moreover, such temporary repairs are just that, i.e., temporary! Don’t go for a short-term solution. As more of the cast iron pipes age, similar problems will begin to show up in other parts of the house. This brings us to…

The cost of replacing damaged cast iron drain pipes

Cast iron sewer pipe replacement cost will vary since it is based on several factors. For instance, where you live is one of them. When looking to replace the wrecked pipe, don’t forget to factor in the cost of cutting and replacing the concrete slab. 

Moreover, you may need to leave your home, so add in the cost of a hotel. There’s also the matter of tiles damaged during the repair process. Replacing them will be another expense. 

We’d suggest hiring a reputable plumbing firm for the job. They will give you an accurate estimate of the whole process. You can also discuss if they will repair the sewer pipes in stages. A six-month gap may allow you to put away money for the subsequent stages.


Finally, you should know how you can extend the life expectancy of your newly installed cast iron sewer pipes. 

Factors that make pipes corrode faster 

Protect your new pipes from exposure to the following as much as you can:


  • Detergents 


That’s right. All the hand soaps and laundry detergent that flow down it can reduce the lifespan of your pipes!


  • Chemical drain openers


Any synthetic drain unblocks that contain sulfuric acid may get the drain flowing but at a high cost. They weaken the integrity of your pipes.


  • Soil conditions


If the soil around your cast iron sewer pipe is more acidic, the corrosive action will happen faster. You may want to get your gardener’s opinion on how to correct it.


  • Grease


Even though cast iron drain pipes last much longer than PVC ones, grease is their enemy! Profusions of grease that we pour down the pipes can result in channeling. That’s when its bottom rots away to form a channel.

So, there you have your cast iron sewer pipe replacement guide. We’ll leave you with one last recommendation. Regardless of the age of the plumbing, periodic inspections can preemptively catch most problems. Think about having one every few months and save yourself much hassle later!

Author Bio:
About Michelle Joe: Michelle Joe is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences, and express herself through her blogs. You can find her on TwitterLinkedInFacebook

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