Cast iron plumbing was commonly used in homes built prior to the 1970s. Its popularity was not only due to its durability, but also the fact that the plastic alternatives were not made available until the 1970s. The cast iron piping is able to withstand high pressure as well as heavy loads, and also, due to its thickness, it mutes the sound of flowing water. However, the cast iron piping does begin to deteriorate over time and once that begins, it can cause a variety of plumbing issues if not addressed.
What Is A Plumbing Stack?
The plumbing stack in a home is the main line for drainage and is connected to all of the smaller pipes running throughout the home. At each connection to the smaller pipes, there are curved sections that act as traps, which prevent the sewage gases from entering the home. The plumbing stack typically runs the full height of the house; from the lowest part of the home, which connects to the underground pipes to the sewage and vertically up through the roof, which is ventilated. This design enables the necessary air and water displacement so water can throughout the pipe.
Because the plumbing stack is the integral part of all plumbing throughout the house, it needs to be in good working order. Even though cast iron is durable over time it can begin to rust causing pinhole leaks and even clogs.
3 Signs That the Stack Needs Replacing
As the cast iron plumbing stack begins to breakdown due to age, there are some noticeable signs to look for.
#1 Existing Pipe Banding. Banding on the plumbing stack is only present if there has been a leak before. This is considered a short-term solution and more permanent repairs should be made immediately.
#2 Leaking At Joints. Over time the cast iron has a tendency to develop pinholes, which if not addressed, will become larger and cause leaks. It is time for replacement, if you notice any water leaking around the joints.
#3 Sign of Barnacles. Barnacles or textured rust spots on the stack is generally a sign that the piping is deteriorating from the inside making the piping more brittle as breakdown continues.
Any of these signs can quickly lead to larger problems including health hazards due to waste seeping through the pipes as well as potentially leading to bacteria or contamination issues. Such matters should be addressed immediately by replacing the cast iron plumbing stacks with PVC piping.
Upgrading to PVC Piping
Converting cast iron to PVC piping is one of the easiest and more cost effective solutions when replacing a cast iron plumbing stack. The PVC is not only durable but it allows for future upgrades and also integrates well with new plumbing fixtures. Making this switch provides a reliable rust resistant option and is a solid long lasting choice that will alleviate future issues of aging cast iron.
Replacing a cast iron plumbing stack does require permits and code compliance. If you have a home with cast iron plumbing or considering the purchase of one, contact us and we will be happy to schedule an appointment for a home inspection.
The Author Schenectady NY Home Inspections LLC is a locally owned and family operated Home Inspection Company. Schenectady NY Home Inspections is located in Schenectady NY and has performed over 6500 Inspections Book online Phone: 1-800-603-5194