Older homes present several challenges, but one of the most serious is plumbing. If you are renovating such a home, brace yourself for unpleasant surprises in this area. Among the most common plumbing problems are related to original pipes in the form of sewer lines, drains, original fixtures and pipe bellies. The danger in homes older than 1970 is compounded by the presence of cast iron pipes, which were a popular choice in older times for some reasons.
Even more confusing is the fact it may be difficult to ascertain the age of cast iron plumbing. However, experts use various approaches to determine whether a replacement is necessary.
Surface Pipe Corrosion
Cast iron pipe corrosion can be either external or internal. External corrosion emanates from effects of exposure to acidity and toxins. For the case of hydrogen sulfide, a foul smell may be detectable. It is common for cast iron pipes to show signs of rust on the surface, but that alone is not enough reason to call plumbing repair experts in Woodbridge, VA for replacements. However, signs of interior corrosion call for swift action. Signs that corrosion is running deep into the pipe include deep pits on the pipes.
Pipe and Drainage Blockages
There is no doubt that cast iron pipes can last many years, carrying water very effectively. However, wastewater has the tendency to form hydrogen sulfide gas in the pipes because of oxidation. Sulphuric acid is the result. This acid corrodes the cast iron pipes from the inside. The rust flakes that peel off can slowly build up and hinder drainage. As you continue calling the plumbing for the occasional removal of these blockages, perhaps it is also time you considered asking for a total replacement of the pipes.
The underside of cast iron pipes will often exhibit big rust patches that signal corrosion. Whether large or small, these patches usually extend from the pipe. Most homeowners overlook these patches because they will not commonly leak, but note that this is evidence of corrosion from within. Consider replacement to avoid surprises.
Once you notice damage signs, it is crucial to repair or replace the plumbing immediately. Damaged pipes not only cause maintenance headaches but also damage home flooring and walls. Besides, damaged plumbing can lead to failed home inspections and reduce property value. To get a good understanding of the exact issue, it is essential to have a plumbing consultant evaluate the piping. An effective assessment will require a careful look at different sections of the cast iron pipes. It might even be necessary to send some parts to the lab for analysis.
Telltale signs may be absent, but remember that cast iron pipes can last for up to 50 years. The life expectancy could even be less in Woodbridge, which means that residents of this area should be more concerned about cast iron plumbing failure. Replacement may be the ultimate solution for a cause of perennial plumbing problems such as this one.