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Old 06-11-2012, 02:23 AM   #1
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Do I really need to replace my sewage drain?


I am remodeling my bathroom. My house is a ranch house built in 1957. Concrete permiter foundation with crawl space. Sewage pipes are cast iron. City Sewage.

I bought the house last year and during the house inspection, the inspector was commenting on there were "hanging cyst" spots on my sewage stack and might need to replace that in near future. I got two plumbers for quotes replacing them but both commented that I do not need to replace it.

So far, no leak anywhere and the "hanging cyst", according to one of the plumbers, is very normal for a 60-year-old house.

I really don't care about the couple of thousand dollars for this work. For me, the pro for this work is: peace of mind, in the future I do not have to worry about it; Cons: $2000 hole in the pocket, extremely dirty/gross stuffs are being lifted up to the bathroom and through your hallway, living room etc. all the way to the door.

So I am attaching couple of photos from last year's home inspection and can you guys comment on it? How long usually does cast-iron drain pipes last?
Attached Thumbnails
Do I really need to replace my sewage drain?-cimg8330_s.jpg   Do I really need to replace my sewage drain?-cimg8337_s.jpg   Do I really need to replace my sewage drain?-cimg8338.jpg   Do I really need to replace my sewage drain?-cimg8339_s.jpg  

Last edited by htabbas; 06-11-2012 at 02:32 AM.
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:46 AM   #2
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Do I really need to replace my sewage drain?


It's your call---you know that at 60 years the piping is nearing the end of its useful life---

How near? Hard to say---looks good from the outside.

If the piping is in the budget--I'd replace it --you will be rewarded with a trouble free drain system--the house will sell much faster with the upgraded drains.

If the budget is tight---leave it alone---safe some money and wait until the pipes start giving you trouble.
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Old 06-11-2012, 06:21 AM   #3
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Do I really need to replace my sewage drain?


I have always understood that cast iron was good for 100 yrs+. More likely to leak thru would be the galvanized pipe at threaded joints, but that looks good from your picks.
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:56 AM   #4
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Do I really need to replace my sewage drain?


You invited 2 plumbers to bid on replacement and both said the pipes look OK. I'd take their word on it- they're the ones walking away from work.
Did they say the same about the copper water lines?
Some parts of the country are hard on copper and CI pipes. Mines not- tends to last a long time.
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:04 AM   #5
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Do I really need to replace my sewage drain?


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You invited 2 plumbers to bid on replacement and both said the pipes look OK. I'd take their word on it- they're the ones walking away from work.
^^This.

Before too long I'll bet you'll want to do some remodeling.
When that time comes you'll find that working with PVC makes sense.
But even then... only the portions actually affected by the work.
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Old 06-11-2012, 12:14 PM   #6
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Do I really need to replace my sewage drain?


Thanks for the replies. I guess I will wait till it start giving me trouble. Budget is not an issue here but cleanliness and headaches are.

Last year I had people come in and replace ALL the HVAC ducts (from crawl space and attic). The HVAC company assured me that they will keep my floors clean and everything. The result? Holly mess in my whole house! Think of all those 60-year-old gunk and dust coming out from the attic and crawl space and spread all over your rooms.

From then on, I guess for major work like this, I will only do as necessary.
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:27 PM   #7
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Do I really need to replace my sewage drain?


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Originally Posted by htabbas View Post
Thanks for the replies. I guess I will wait till it start giving me trouble. Budget is not an issue here but cleanliness and headaches are.

Last year I had people come in and replace ALL the HVAC ducts (from crawl space and attic). The HVAC company assured me that they will keep my floors clean and everything. The result? Holly mess in my whole house! Think of all those 60-year-old gunk and dust coming out from the attic and crawl space and spread all over your rooms.

From then on, I guess for major work like this, I will only do as necessary.
would like to agree with you but i don't...1st cast iron has a life expectancy of about 50 -60 yrs....your there....2nd I can't believe some of those drains are not running slow.... 3rd we did one of these just last week not one drop of mess in house...removed one of the cement bolck took debris out through there......REPLACE IT FOR PEACE OF MIND NOW AND IN THE FUTURE.....IMP.....BEN
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:45 AM   #8
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Do I really need to replace my sewage drain?


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would like to agree with you but i don't...1st cast iron has a life expectancy of about 50 -60 yrs....your there....2nd I can't believe some of those drains are not running slow.... 3rd we did one of these just last week not one drop of mess in house...removed one of the cement bolck took debris out through there......REPLACE IT FOR PEACE OF MIND NOW AND IN THE FUTURE.....IMP.....BEN
My house was built in 52. That makes my waste plumbing about 60 years old. I recently had to cut into my main DWS line and reroute it over about 1.5' to make room for a footing....the pipe looked perfect.

I personally think I have about another 50 years on that pipe....

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You invited 2 plumbers to bid on replacement and both said the pipes look OK. I'd take their word on it- they're the ones walking away from work.
If two plumbers are walking away from potential work....it means that not only do you not need the work...but they are also honest.....

I would hold on to those phone #'s.
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:18 PM   #9
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Do I really need to replace my sewage drain?


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Originally Posted by ddawg16 View Post
My house was built in 52. That makes my waste plumbing about 60 years old. I recently had to cut into my main DWS line and reroute it over about 1.5' to make room for a footing....the pipe looked perfect.

I personally think I have about another 50 years on that pipe....



If two plumbers are walking away from potential work....it means that not only do you not need the work...but they are also honest.....

I would hold on to those phone #'s.
opinions vary.
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:31 PM   #10
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Do I really need to replace my sewage drain?


I stand by my first statement---just like some smokers live to be 100---most don't.

The typical repipe job in this area is in houses built in the 1950's---so about 60 years is it for many of the old drains.

Trying to sell an older house with original piping? Seller will take a hit---They are as suspet to a buyer as you can find.
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:49 PM   #11
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Do I really need to replace my sewage drain?


Galvanized is like a blood vessel. Looks fine on the outside, but is denigrating on the inside, due to thinning of the walls. Sooner or later, that galvanized will leak, but when who knows. Cast can do the same thing, but most of the time, it is due to caustic chemicals being used, same thing with the Galvanized.

My Cast in my house is over 70 years old, and is still doing fine. I would say, if you wish to replace, do it when you can with PVC, but as long as it sounds good when tapped with a hammer or wrench, leave well enough alone, and just inspect on either a quarterly or yearly basis.
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:59 PM   #12
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Do I really need to replace my sewage drain?


Most of the houses around here that were built in the 50's are in need of having drains repiped.

Everything except for the toilet in these homes were plumbed with 1-1/2" galvanized which makes for an undersized drain to begin with by today's standards, as well as the fact that they tend to get smaller on the inside over time.


If it's convenient as far as time and money goes, i'd at least replace the horizontal pipes that are galvanized, and size them properly.

I wouldn't worry about the cast iron at all. Most of the time cast iron deterioration is from super hot water in commercial applications or caustic chemicals as noted above. They eat the tar coating, and then the metal pipe is subject to corrosion.
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:32 PM   #13
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Do I really need to replace my sewage drain?


First--This is "bell & spigot" cast iron piping. All joints were sealed with the old oakum and poured lead type sealing method. I'm wondering if the lighter colored piping in the photo's are actually cast iron, just discolored due to location. In my experience there would have to be an adapter of sorts to join galvanized piping and cast iron piping. I don't see any type of adapter.
Photo's #1, #2, and #4 show clean-out plugs in the CI piping. This would be a good place to do a visual inspection. BUT--I'm betting you would have to bust the clean-out plugs out as they are somewhat frozen in place. The condition of the interior of the cast iron piping would dictate whether to replace now or let it ride more years. It may be a good idea to find an older, more cast iron experienced plumber to look into this.
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:43 PM   #14
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Do I really need to replace my sewage drain?


Thurman, they have a combo of Cast & Galvinized. Seen more so in builds like the Sears Craftsman's, etc.. Cali, especially Frisco had a huge build of homes after WWII, and due to the people moving towards that area, contractors for the military, and hippee's, it would not be surprising to see people still building "kit" type homes back in the 50's. Especially if they were coming home from Korea, which they would have hit Frisco or LA, and some just stayed there, vs. going home to the Midwest, South or out East.
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