Do you have cast iron drain pipes?

Cast-iron drain pipes have been in use since before the 1970s. You may not think that was a long time ago, but that’s 50 years old. Cast-iron drain pipes were only built to last 50 to 100 years, leaving pipes in homes built in the 20s and 30s way over their life-use.

Old corroded sewage pipe in a beton wall

Their blackish-brown color and hard material can identify cast-iron drain pipes. Cast-iron drain pipes are strong, but nature has a way of breaking things down over time. In this article, we discuss signs your cast iron drain pipe is failing, should you repair or replace cast iron drain pipes, do-it-yourself methods of repair, and how the professionals will handle the problem.

How to tell if you need cast iron drain pipe repair?

Here are easy signs to look out for.

Leaks- Cracks or damage from sulfuric acid (or other corrosive materials like drain cleaners) in your pipes can cause leaks. Check any exposed sections of pipe to see if they drip or leak.

Sewer Odor- Sewer systems are designed to be airtight. If you can smell sewage, it can be a sign of a cracked sewer pipe. Inhaling sewer gas for too long can lead to health problems.

Backups- Slow draining, clogs, and sewage backups can be a sign your pipes are failing.

Mold- A cracked drain pipe in your walls or floors can increase the humidity in your home, creating the perfect conditions for mold growth.

Strange Lawn Signs- Leaking sewage acts as a fertilizer, and your grass can show signs of excessive growth or a lush green color. If you notice puddles of water or sewage waste in your yard, you can be sure a pipe is cracked and leaking. Your soil can also sink, develop strange bumps, or even ditches due to soil dissipating.

Foundation Cracks Leaking pipes can disrupt your foundation and cause walls, floors, or ceilings to crack. Call a foundation repair specialist if the situation gets this bad.

Rodents or Insects Rodents and insects (cockroaches, palmetto bugs, and flies, etc.) can find their way through even the tiniest of cracks and make their way into your home. Pest control can kill the current invaders, but more will come if the problem is left alone.

rat in drain pipe

Should you repair or replace cast iron drain pipes?

What’s the difference between repairing a cast iron drainpipe and replacing it entirely? Repairing a drain pipe refers to a temporary solution to a worsening problem. Repairing a pipe is just a “band-aid” solution for minor problems.

cast iron drain pipe fittings

Can you repair a cast iron drain pipe yourself?

If you have a small section of visible cast iron drain pipe with a leak or crack, you may repair the pipe yourself. But only if the problem is small and isolated, if there are leaks and cracks everywhere, you better call the professionals. You can use cast iron repair paste or plumber’s epoxy to fix holes or leaks.

How do the professionals repair a cast iron drain pipe?

Every job should begin with a CCTV sewer camera inspection. The tiny camera creeps through all of your pipes, measuring and recording everything it sees. It can determine where the problem comes from and give an accurate understanding of what method works best for your situation. Most professionals don’t recommend band-aid solutions for only a section of failing drain pipes. If they do, it will most likely be one of the following,

  1. Patch Jobs A patch job is a quick emergency repair fix to stop a sudden leak. It’s not meant to be a permanent solution, and you can pick up most of the tools for a patch job at the store. A few repair items include black repair wraps and epoxy adhesives. Patch jobs can be the same thing as the do-it-yourself solution above.
  2. Point Repairs Point repairs are like CIPP (cured-in-place pipe). Professionals install a CIPP liner in a small section of pipe that needs repair instead of the whole line.

How do the professionals replace a cast iron drain pipe?

What are some ways that professionals replace a cast iron drainpipe? You’ll be happy to know that we can replace a cast iron drain pipe without tearing up your property. Trenchless sewer repair, just like the name suggests, involves no long trenches.

Trenchless drain pipe replacement

Trenchless sewer repair only requires one or two access points, often 4×4 pits on either side of the house. Or we can make the access point by pulling a toilet (we will put it back). Sometimes, some concrete needs to be chipped away under the toilet, but this is better than the alternative- a big ugly trench through your living room and kitchen. The collateral damage is next to none compared to the effects of traditional methods. Trenchless sewer repair always begins with hydro-jetting, or another pipe cleaning solution.

epoxy pipe lining on a pipe

Trenchless sewer repair is broken up into two subtypes,

  1. Pipe Lining A unique, epoxy-impregnated liner is inserted into the old pipe, inflates, and creates a new pipe structure directly inside the old one. Pipe lining, on average, costs $80 to $250 per linear foot. Pipe lining can be considered replacement or repair depending on whether the whole length of pipe is going to be lined or just a section. If just a section of pipe (a spot repair) is lined, then it is considered a repair. If you line the whole pipe from start to finish then it is basically like getting a brand new pipe installed (aka replacement).
  2.  Pipe Bursting Pipe bursting is where a new HDPE (high-density polyethylene) pipe is attached to a winch with a cone-shaped bursting head and pulled through the damaged line. The damaged pipe is broken apart as the new one takes its place. Pipe bursting is cheaper than pipe lining, running from $60 to $200 per linear foot.
pipe bursting connection

Conventional drain pipe replacement

Unlike trenchless sewer repair, conventional methods involve digging up all of your damaged lines and placing down new ones. That will probably include chipping concrete, ripping up flooring, tearing down walls, and trenching through your yard and home. The process is time-consuming and is used when pipes are not candidates for trenchless sewer repair, such as when they’re back-pitched or collapsed. Conventional sewer repair quotes may be smaller than trenchless, but it does not typically include the clean-up and repair costs to property damage, which can be considerable.

New Flow Plumbing and cast iron drain pipe repair

If you’re looking for a reliable, professional company that can deal with any drain pipe problem, call New Flow Plumbing if you need cast iron drain pipe repair. We serve the Santa Clarita, Glendale, and the greater Los Angeles area. We will assess the situation using a CCTV sewer camera inspection and give you the best solution. Contact us today and receive a quote.

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