Cast Iron Drains- Del Mar Home Inspector
Steve Stenros- First Choice Inspections: 888-335-3040, a Del Mar home inspector, discusses the importance of having a thorough evaluation of the drain piping in a home before purchasing it. Steve is a CREIA-certified inspector with the MCI designation (Master CREIA Inpsector). He has inspected thousands of drain pipe systems in homes all over San Diego county.
There are many older homes throughout San Diego county. Homes constructed prior to 1970 will very likely have cast iron drain piping. Older cast iron drains, in particular, can be problematic. Cast iron drain piping typically has a life-span of about 50 years, so if the original drains are still installed in these older homes, they are probably at or near the end of their serviceable life and will need replacement. I always liken cast iron drains to hardened arteries. As the pipes age, they corrode from the inside out causing the inside diameter of the pipe to become too small for functional flow.
When evaluating a cast iron drain system, a home inspector should first run a good amount of water into the drains throughout the home. The next step is to crawl under the home and look for leaks in the piping. If the home does not have a raised foundation, it will be impossible to visually inspect the condition of the drains unless other methods are used (such as a camera scope inspection).
From the crawlspace, a home inspector can identify leaks or deterioration in the drains. Cracking or "seepage" may be visible in the pipes, especially at the smaller-diameter branch drains. Cast iron pipes tend to crack along the length of the pipe and when this happens, raw sewage can leak out onto the ground under the home creating a health hazard. Seepage is seen as leaking pinholes or mounds of corrosion at the exterior of the pipe. When these conditions exist, replacement of the cast iron drains will be necessary to prevent clogging or messy drain backups in the home.
Steve Stenros is not only a Del Mar home inspector, he provides quality inspections throughout all of San Diego, Orange, and Riverside counties in southern California. You can schedule your home inspection with First Choice Inspections by calling 888-335-3040. A FREE appliance RecallChek is provided with every standard inspection. Clients can request to receive our bi-weekly "Tech Tips"- simple do-it-yourself projects to improve the quality and efficiency of your home.