Cast iron was a common choice for plumbing before PVC came on the market, with most homes and businesses having cast iron plumbing systems in the 19th and 20th centuries. Since PVC only started being used for plumbing around the ‘80s, some houses still have the old cast iron plumbing system.
If you are a homeowner of such a house, it’s normal to wonder how much longer the pipes are going to last. There is no straightforward answer to this question, as the degree or corrosion for cast iron pipes depends a lot on how much the system was used and how well it was maintained.
But let’s try to get an idea, based on the average lifespan of cast iron and how it interacts with other factors.
What Is the Best Case Scenario?
In theory, cast iron is a long-lasting, durable material that is fantastic for such a job. On paper, cast iron can last 80-100 years. But this life expectancy can be significantly reduced if your plumbing system is exposed to corrosive chemicals, is affected by mechanical aggressions, or if the water running through it is too acidic or has a hard concentration of minerals.
This being said, the realistic best-case scenario would be for your pipes to last about 50 years. Beyond that, your plumbing should definitely be checked thoroughly and determined if it needs to be replaced entirely.
Factors That Can Affect Your Cast Iron Pipes
Here are some of the factors that can affect the lifespan of your cast iron pipes.
- Trees growing too close to the plumbing system. Roots of old trees that were planted too close to the house can severely damage your plumbing system.
- Having the pipes buried in clay soil. Clay soil is one of the most corrosive ones for cast iron pipes and can reduce their lifespan drastically.
- Harsh chemicals or aggressive mechanical actions used to descale or unclog old pipes can be fragile, and many plumbing operations, especially DIY ones, can damage them.
- Excessive grease being poured regularly down the drain. Grease is one of the worst enemies of cast iron pipes, as it doesn’t break down easily and it accumulates over time, creating an interior coating and several kinds of problems. Do not pour grease down the drain and recycle it instead.
If your home still has a cast iron plumbing system, you are probably getting closer to the end of its natural expectancy. Repairing cast iron pipes is a money-wasting process and doesnät guarantee that further problems won’t appear.
Can We Help?
Replacing your cast iron pipe system with a modern, more efficient alternative can be costly, but it can prevent serious damage to the plumbing and your house. Call Anytime Plumbing Inc. and schedule a visit to thoroughly assess your cast iron pipes.