Author Topic: old cast iron piping under home -- leave as is or reline?  (Read 912 times)

evme

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old cast iron piping under home -- leave as is or reline?
« on: March 29, 2020, 03:36:24 AM »
My home was built in 1961, so nearly 60 years old. I believe the pipes under the home are cast iron (or galvanized). I'm had several issues with the pipes getting clogged and needing to be snaked in the past few years. Recently a plumber put down a camera and saw a lot of flaking and general signs of the pipe being in poor shape. He recommended getting the main sewer line relined. I got two opinions and both recommended the relining. The home is built on a foundation with no access to the pipes, so digging them up is not really an option.

Anyway, I plan to live in this home about 3-5 more years so my question to MMM readers: should I just leave them alone or should I fork out ~$12-17k to get them relined? I am worried that leaving them as is could result in a collapsed line. I got two bids and both plumbers told me it would be tough to sell the house with pipes in that condition. On the other hand, a general contractor told me it's normal for pipes that age to "look rough" but probably ok to leave as they are.

Gone Fishing

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Re: old cast iron piping under home -- leave as is or reline?
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2020, 05:37:34 AM »
What was clogging the pipes?  Hair, grease, TP?  I'd eliminate the source of the clogs and see how things go.  Do you mean the house is on a slab?  If a market gets hot, buyers don't care what the pipes look like.  In a cold market they will pick you to death.

Jon Bon

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Re: old cast iron piping under home -- leave as is or reline?
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2020, 05:55:40 AM »
My home was built in 1961, so nearly 60 years old. I believe the pipes under the home are cast iron (or galvanized). I'm had several issues with the pipes getting clogged and needing to be snaked in the past few years. Recently a plumber put down a camera and saw a lot of flaking and general signs of the pipe being in poor shape. He recommended getting the main sewer line relined. I got two opinions and both recommended the relining. The home is built on a foundation with no access to the pipes, so digging them up is not really an option.

Anyway, I plan to live in this home about 3-5 more years so my question to MMM readers: should I just leave them alone or should I fork out ~$12-17k to get them relined? I am worried that leaving them as is could result in a collapsed line. I got two bids and both plumbers told me it would be tough to sell the house with pipes in that condition. On the other hand, a general contractor told me it's normal for pipes that age to "look rough" but probably ok to leave as they are.

I mean, they have a huge incentive (to the tune of $15,000) to have pay for the work. So their comments should be taken with a boulder of salt. Not sure if that is something that legally needs to be disclosed either. Check your local laws. Old houses have old pipes kind of how it goes you know?

I am somewhat an expert in old pipes unfortunately. Its not the end of the world to have a pipe snaked every 12 months. Also make sure ONLY tp goes down the toilet. baby wipes and tampons are going to stop it up every time. Tree roots can also be a problem, but having it snaked can be good preventative maintenance.


Sibley

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Re: old cast iron piping under home -- leave as is or reline?
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2020, 01:38:50 PM »
I have to have my main line out cleared every year, sometimes a little more frequently. Tree roots. Yes, in a perfect world I'd replace the last 10 ft or so of old clay pipe that is causing the issue, but with maintenance it's just fine.

Do NOT use Draino or similar. Ever. It will destroy the pipe you have. Yes, people love it because it's easy. Plumbers hate it. When the pros are unanimous in their hatred of something you should really pay attention.

Duke03

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Re: old cast iron piping under home -- leave as is or reline?
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2020, 07:45:30 PM »
As someone that used to do plumbing many years ago please don't trust a plumber that is trying to up sell you....  Your pipes are fine trust me.  Yes they might need to be snaked out once a year so what.  You could pay $250 a year to do that for the rest of your life and never spend 17k..... Let me give you a little insight to how current plumbing companies work.  The guy that is running the camera and telling you to spend 17k to replace your drain line isn't the guy that is going to be doing the work, but in return for you agreeing to replace the pipe he will get a big fat commission check off your job.  See the problem here!!!

evme

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Re: old cast iron piping under home -- leave as is or reline?
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2020, 02:36:32 AM »
As someone that used to do plumbing many years ago please don't trust a plumber that is trying to up sell you....  Your pipes are fine trust me.  Yes they might need to be snaked out once a year so what.  You could pay $250 a year to do that for the rest of your life and never spend 17k..... Let me give you a little insight to how current plumbing companies work.  The guy that is running the camera and telling you to spend 17k to replace your drain line isn't the guy that is going to be doing the work, but in return for you agreeing to replace the pipe he will get a big fat commission check off your job.  See the problem here!!!

Thanks, I appreciate your input. I thought it weird that in my neighborhood I haven't found anyone else who had to reline their sewer line -- what are the chances that MY HOME just happened to be the first to need this work before everyone else?

evme

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Re: old cast iron piping under home -- leave as is or reline?
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2020, 02:37:03 AM »
What was clogging the pipes?  Hair, grease, TP?  I'd eliminate the source of the clogs and see how things go.  Do you mean the house is on a slab?  If a market gets hot, buyers don't care what the pipes look like.  In a cold market they will pick you to death.

TP and regular waste from people ;)

evme

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Re: old cast iron piping under home -- leave as is or reline?
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2020, 02:39:43 AM »
I mean, they have a huge incentive (to the tune of $15,000) to have pay for the work. So their comments should be taken with a boulder of salt. Not sure if that is something that legally needs to be disclosed either. Check your local laws. Old houses have old pipes kind of how it goes you know?

I am somewhat an expert in old pipes unfortunately. Its not the end of the world to have a pipe snaked every 12 months. Also make sure ONLY tp goes down the toilet. baby wipes and tampons are going to stop it up every time. Tree roots can also be a problem, but having it snaked can be good preventative maintenance.

Thanks Jon Bon, and good idea. I think I'll start having it snaked once a year as preventative maintenance.

Gone Fishing

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Re: old cast iron piping under home -- leave as is or reline?
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2020, 07:38:27 AM »
What was clogging the pipes?  Hair, grease, TP?  I'd eliminate the source of the clogs and see how things go.  Do you mean the house is on a slab?  If a market gets hot, buyers don't care what the pipes look like.  In a cold market they will pick you to death.

TP and regular waste from people ;)

If you aren't already, use Scott's or comparible TP it is probably the best for old pipes, sadly probably not the best for your bum.  You might actually be able to find some, it'll be the last one on the shelf;)
Avoid Charmin or similar, probably the worst for pipes. Also consider a trashcan for used paper.

SndcxxJ

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Re: old cast iron piping under home -- leave as is or reline?
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2020, 09:22:47 PM »
Cast iron is a great pipe that will last much longer than 60 years.  It is made of iron so it does rust and flake, but that is normal from these pipes.  If you are getting a clog once a year I would think you have tree roots infiltrating the pipe in the yard.  If that's the case it can be dug down in the yard and corrected there.  If that location can't be found by a sewer camera and a locator then maybe it has a different problem.  I would not expect to have to reline cast iron after only 60 years.