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Expert Advice on Extending the Lifespan of Cast Iron Pipes

Expert Advice on Extending the Lifespan of Cast Iron Pipes

Posted in Pipe Repair, on July 03, 2024

Cast iron pipes are extremely common in plumbing systems, although they are more common in older homes. Newer homes built in the 1990s or later usually have PVC pipes. The one caveat with cast iron pipes is that they are more susceptible to wear and tear over time compared to PVC. Given their fragility, it is important to ensure that you maintain them well in order to minimize damage and avoid the need for a replacement. Ignoring issues with your cast iron pipes can decrease the value of your home and lead to sewage issues in the future. 

Cast iron is prone to erosion and breakage, so taking measures to prevent this will help increase the lifespan of your pipes. Avoiding harsh chemicals and drain cleaners can prevent further erosion. Ensuring proper use of your garbage disposal can also extend the life of your cast iron pipes. Overall, ensuring proper maintenance and inspection is the best practice to keep your pipes pristine. Broward Plumbing offers cast iron pipe repair and can even conduct trenchless piper repair in your home to keep your pipes in perfect condition. Contact Broward Plumbing today for a quote!

To learn more about how to extend the lifespan of your cast iron pipes, continue reading!

Avoiding Harsh Products

cast iron pipe repairDrain cleaners are a popular product amongst homeowners who want to clear a slow drain. The issue with them is that they contain a lot of harsh chemicals that can erode your cast iron pipes. Typical drain cleaners are made of sulfuric and hydrochloric acids, and acids are known for their ability to break down metal. When weak acids like vinegar react with cast iron, it results in the leeching of iron from the metal, which suggests that the metal is being broken down slowly. When even stronger acids come in contact with cast iron pipes, erosion can occur much faster. Although it may be tempting to add drain cleaners or vinegar to your drain to clear it out, it is best to avoid this if you have cast iron pipes. A DIY drain cleaner that is gentler and less acidic is a much better option to extend the lifespan of your pipes. Try salt, baking soda and water next time! This solution is basic rather than acidic, so it still has cleaning properties, but will not damage your pipes. 

Proper Garbage Disposal Use

Although garbage disposals are a convenient feature to have in your sink, they can contribute to poor pipe health. Garbage disposals are meant to break down food so it can flow down the drain on your sink. However if you are not paying attention to what you are putting in your disposal, you could be harming your cast iron pipes. 
One mistake that users often make it overloading their garbage disposal with too much food. When there is too much food in your disposal it cannot break down to the appropriate size for strong drainage. So when you do this, you can cause clogs in your pipes. Food that is stuck in your pipes can increase the pressure in them, which can be damaging and cause bursting or leaks. 

To maintain optimal pipe health, you also need to ensure that you are putting the correct items in your garbage disposal. The the surprise of many, not everything can be sent down the drain. Bone, starchy carbohydrates like rice and pasta, seeds, oils and eggshells should never go down the drain. Bones, seeds and shells are too hard and may have a hard time breaking down, which can cause them to break your disposal and clog your pipes. Rice and pasta are starchy and get increasingly sticky when mixed with water, which can cause them to get stuck alongside the walls of your pipe. If this happens, they can eventually dry down and remain caked to the inside of your pipes, restricting water flow. Similarly, oil often solidifies once it enters your pipes which can also result in unwanted buildup. 

Regular Maintenance

The best practice you can do to extend the life of your cast iron pipes is to get them regularly maintained and checked out. Cast iron pipe repair experts can help you detect early signs of pipe corrosion, leaks and/or damage. They can also help you determine what the best next steps are, whether that be treating, repairing or replacing your pipes. 

Treat Your Pipes with Broward Plumbing

Cast iron pipes can be finicky. They are an older style of piping and are much more susceptible to corrosion, clogs and overall damage when compared to newer PVC pipes. But with the right maintenance and practice, you can extend the life of your cast iron pipes. Avoiding intense drain cleaners, having good garbage disposal practices and getting regular maintenance and inspections done can all contribute to the health of your cast iron pipes. However, if you are ever unsure about the state of your pipes or want an expert opinion for your peace of mind, call in the professionals at Broward Plumbing. We specialize in home plumbing services, including trenchless pipe repair. Call us today to get a quote on a cast iron pipe repair. 


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