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Water Damage Restoration: Casting some Light on Your Cast Iron Plumbing

Published by 911 Restoration San Diego on April 11, 2014 in category: Home Maintenance with tags:

When you approach a certain age in life, your primary care physician will likely start focusing more on areas of your health that are high-risk for degeneration; namely heart health. The plumbing system of an older home is similar to the arteries of a person approaching their 60s—over time plaque buildup can form and lead to complications such as cardiac arrest, while mineral deposits can buildup in your plumbing and cause a pipe burst and flooding in your walls, crawl space or basement. But did you know that the cast iron pipes common to homes built in the early 1900s triple your chances of a costly home flood that would require immediate water damage restoration services?

The History of Cast Iron Pipes

As early as the 1800s, cast iron pipes have been manufactured and implemented into homes and businesses throughout the United States. Their first use was for water distribution shortly followed by waste water disposal. When cast iron pipes became integrated into sewage systems they were commonly known as “soil pipes”, and by the 1890s established cast iron soil pipe companies composed the recognition of a new industry.

At the time cast iron pipes were regarded as the most durable and reliable pipe that long outlasted other materials. It wasn’t until the early 1970s that PVC plastic sewer were introduced and quickly took precedence as the first choice in plumbing materials for contractors across the company for a variety of reasons: they were easier to install, easier to produce, cheaper to make and their durability proved to be significantly better.

Should I Upgrade my Plumbing?

If you have an older home with the original cast iron plumbing, there are a number of things you should consider when questioning the option to upgrade to plastic PVC pipes. For starters, most water damage restoration companies that get called out to perform emergency sewage cleanup jobs report that disintegrating cast iron pipes were the culprit behind the deadly black water spill. Here are some things to think about:

  • Cast iron pipes have a life expectancy of approximately 75 years. If your home is 75 years old or older, then your plumbing can be dated the same and will likely fail sooner than later.
  • Cast iron pipes rust and therefore require greater maintenance.
  • Most plumbers across the country lack the knowledge or training to repair cast iron plumbing systems.
  • Upgrading to plastic PVC plumbing will likely add re-sale value to your home.

The alternative to upgrading your pipes would be to find a plumber well versed in cast iron pipes and have him inspect your plumbing for any signs of impending chaos. Also, search the Internet for any government released warnings on cast iron pipes and determine if these red flags relate to your specific situation.

Would You Bet Your Home on a Casino Table in Vegas?

If the title to your home is something you would never bet in a game of blackjack, then you may want to consider upgrading your plumbing. If you just sit on things as they are, you are essentially gambling the integrity of your home and the health of your family members. When cast iron pipes breakup and spill water or sewage, not only are you looking at possible structural issues infecting your home, but household mold can grow in your walls, floors and carpets due to excessive trapped moisture causing family members to become extremely ill. Do some research; talk to a restoration services company that has been in business for a long time and that understands the complexities surrounding cast iron plumbing and potential flooding concerns so you can make an informed decision.

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