2 Sewer Plumbing Issues You May Encounter In Your Older Home

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2 Sewer Plumbing Issues You May Encounter In Your Older Home

18 August 2015
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Articles


Old homes built around the turn of the century have charm and character that you cannot find in a new or modern-built home. But, with your old home's character comes its aging systems and plumbing problems that are a common problem in older homes. Here are two sewer plumbing issues you may encounter with your older home and tips to help you deal with them.

Collapsed Sewer Main

If your older home's sewer line is continually getting clogged, even though you hire a plumber to clean out the lines, you most likely have a collapsed sewer main line. 

The sewer line that connect's your home's sewer to the city's line will usually run underneath your front yard and connect somewhere in the street in front of your house. As the underground pipe ages, it can crack, collapse, or become filled with tree roots from trees growing in your front yard. Homes built during the early 1900s and before often have a main sewer line made from clay or other materials that were not built to last 100 years. 

A professional plumber can check the condition of your home's sewer line to confirm its failure. Replacing your sewer main can cost on average, between $1,714 and $3,202. Home owner's insurance doesn't cover replacing your home's sewer main, but you can buy sewer line insurance before it fails to cover the costs of replacing it. 

If you don't have insurance and you need to have your sewer line repaired now, there are less expensive options. Much of the expense in this type of repair is from excavating the old pipe. You can have your sewer line replaced without excavating your yard, and have the new line placed within the old one in a trenchless process. The plumber will dig a hole at the sewer main's connection to your home and to the city's sewer main, then feed the new pipe through the remains of the old pipe.

Cracked Cast Iron Sewer Pipes

Being an owner of an older home, you may also encounter problems in your home's interior cast iron sewer pipes. If your home was built around the 1900s, it is likely the cast iron pipes are at the end of their useful life. Cast iron lasts from 75 to 100 years. And, when a cast iron pipe contains waste, as it does in your home's sewer line, it will corrode and rust much faster than a pipe will with drinking water running through it. As your home's waste runs through the cast iron pipe, hydrogen sulfide gas forms and oxidizes to form sulfuric acid, which corrodes cast iron. 

When cast iron pipes were produced when your home was built, variations occurred in the pipes' thicknesses. Any thinner sections of pipe walls in your sewer line that corrode from sulfuric acid will crack and develope holes much faster than the thicker sections.

Cast iron pipes that run through your basement may be in contact with the soil below your home's foundation. Soil that contains clay is more acidic to the outside surface of cast iron pipes. This will corrode your pipes from the outside while the waste inside corrodes the inside.

If you need your home's cast iron waste pipe repaired or replaced, hire a professional to do the work. Cast iron pipe are extremely heavy. If you were to cut out a corroded section from the middle of your home's vertical waste pipe, the upper section will not have enough support and can come crashing down through your home, causing damage and personal injury.

Use these tips to help you deal with two sewer line problems in your old home. For more information, see a website such as http://www.plumbprosinc.com.