Replacing a basement drain pipe can be a costly project. Depending on the circumstances, it can require part of your foundation, walls, and basement floor to be removed, and you’ll be unable to stay in your home while the project takes place.
But luckily, full-scale replacement isn’t the only choice when it comes to cast iron drain pipes. Pipe lining repair is usually an option, too. In this blog, we’ll look at the basics of cast iron basement drain pipes, discuss signs that you may need a repair or replacement, and go over your options for repairs, such as trenchless pipe relining.
Do I Have A Cast Iron Drain Pipe?
If your house was built before the 1970s, you probably have a cast iron drain pipe. Cast iron was widely used for drain pipes and water mains before the 1970s, when plastic materials like PVC became more popular.
Cast iron pipes can easily last up to 80 or 100 years, but they do tend to corrode and rust over time, and will eventually wear out and fail.
Not sure if your pipe is made of cast iron? It can be hard to tell on your own. We recommend contacting a plumber in the area to check on your pipes and determine the material they’re made of.
Signs Your Cast Iron Drain Pipe Needs to Be Replaced
If you suspect you need to replace your basement drain pipe, there are a few signs you should look out for.
● Nasty smells in your home – Sewer gas or other foul odors can indicate damage in your basement cast iron drain pipe.
● Sluggish drains – If more than one or two of your plumbing appliances is draining slowly, this usually indicates a crack, damage, or other issues with your sewer drain pipe.
● Lush patches of grass – Very lush, green patches of grass over the drain pipe usually indicate that sewage is leaking from your pipe.
● Cracks in walls or foundation – This may indicate prolonged basement drain pipe issues. Over time, leaking sewage and/or water can cause damage to the foundation of your home.
Trenchless Pipe Relining Is the Best Way To Replace Your Basement Drain Pipe
So, what should you do if you think your cast iron drain pipe needs to be replaced in Lehigh Valley?
First, don't think - what's this gonna cost?! Call an expert plumber to come look at your basement slab and pipes.
In many cases, there are only a few problematic areas that are damaged and need replacement. If this is the case, trenchless pipe relining is the best option to repair your cast iron drain pipe.
In the pipe lining repair method, a plumber uses a flexible camera to identify damage to your pipe. Then, they will use special tools to place a fiberglass felt liner in the damaged area, and inject it with resin.
This essentially creates a “pipe-within-a-pipe,” sealing the leak and damage without requiring you to dig up and replace the entire pipe.
The only reason we would have to dig would be if the pipe is offset so much so that we can’t level it out before lining.
So, if the pipe is completely cracked and one part of the pipe is substantially lower than the other part - In this case we would put a leveling agent in that area to make up for the difference, but that is only able to be done when its minor. Otherwise we would have to dig.
Fully Replacing A Basement Cast Iron Drain Pipe Is A Last Resort Option
In some cases, it may not be possible to reline the cast iron drain pipe.
Significant damage may require one or several sections of the pipe to be removed. If this is the case, it’s usually a good idea to completely tear up the pipe and replace it with a modern PVC sewer pipe.
This is a long, complex, and difficult process, which often requires the removal of walls, flooring, and even digging up your front yard. Usually, you and your family will need to stay at a hotel or somewhere else since the plumbing will be inoperable throughout the process.
Replacing your drain pipe is definitely worth it if there are serious problems with your cast iron drain pipe – but due to the cost and complexity of this process, it’s best to explore other options like trenchless pipe relining first.
Got Sewer Drainage Issues? Contact Deluxe Plumbing & Heating Today!
At Deluxe Plumbing & Heating, we specialize in repairing and restoring cast iron pipes that are under concrete basements and foundations.
We offer 24/7 service, and are always prepared to help you restore your plumbing in Lehigh Valley. Contact us online or give us a call at 610-628-1724 to get the service you need right away.