The Problem with Orangeburg Pipe

Real Estate Agent with Buyer's Edge Company Inc

What You Can't See Can Be Very Expensive


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So what is Orangeburg Pipe?

Orangeburg pipe is fiber pipe made from wood pulp and pitch pressed together. The pipes and conduit were made from the 1860s to the 1970s by the Fiber Conduit Company.

The name of the pipe comes from the city where the pipes were manufactured-Orangeburg New York. In the beginning, back in the late 1800s, the company made fiber electrical conduit that was used for electrical wiring in new construction. In fact, the Empire State Building had electrical wiring encased in Orangeburg conduit. But after WWII, there was a need for inexpensive housing and Orangeburg pipe was widely used in new construction since it was cheaper than cast iron. 

So why am I talking about Orangeburg Pipe? 


We wrote an offer for our client on a flipped house in Rockville Maryland. The house was close to the Rockville Metro Station and walking distance to downtown Rockville where there is a town square, restaurants, shopping, a library, and theatre. The seller did not choose our offer. They chose an all-cash deal and we continued our home search.

But just today, the listing agent called saying their deal might be falling apart. It seems the other buyers home inspector scoped the sewer line, found no blockage, but still recommended that they replace the pipe. The listing agent was understandably confused. 

Why would you need to replace a sewer line that shows no sign of blockage and no cracks in the pipe? 

When it's Orangeburg Pipe! I always side with the home inspector on issues with a house. They are the experts and are trained to identify all the things that are right and wrong with the house and the property. If a home inspector recommends that a sewer line needs to be replaced, this is a red flag! You should not ignore this advice. 

I cannot confirm that this house has an Orangeburg sewer pipe but after doing a little research, I have a very strong hunch that this house needs a new sewer line. Orangeburg pipe can fail 10 years to 50 years after installation. In this particular neighborhood in Rockville Maryland, there are hundreds of homes that have replaced the sewer lines and again, any qualified home inspector will be able to identify this type of sewer line and save a buyer thousands of dollars! 

When you are buying a home, you need a team of experts on your side. The home inspector and his/her inspection will help you decide if you want to move ahead and purchase a property. This person can make or break a deal and we support them 100% of the time!

After all, when you buy a home, you are making one of the most expensive purchases of your life. You have to feel confident that the team you have assembled is looking out for your best interests.

So to sum up-

  • Ask your home inspector if they can identify Orangeburg Pipe. Have the inspector scope the pipe or ask them to recommend a company that can do the work and identify sewer or water line issues. 
  • Make sure your home inspection company uses all the latest technology-infrared cameras that identify where there is moisture in or behind a wall or floor, drones for roof inspections where the roof pitch is too steep to climb, moisture meters to evaluate the level of moisture in the home and many other cool tricks of the trade!
  •  Make sure you are working with a real estate agent who advocates for your best interest. This is your home search and it should be fun and educational! Check out and learn about exclusive buyer agency. Members of only work for home buyers. 100% of the time and in every real estate transaction.  Learn more about us at, HomesBuyHendersons and our Brokerage, Buyer's Edge
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4849 Rugby Avenue Bethesda Maryland 20814 office 301.657.1475 cell 301.922.1677


Victoria Henderson is Vice President & Associate Broker with Buyer's Edge, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Realtor in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC. Victoria is a certified Military Relocation Professional 



Marshall Henderson is a Certified Negotiation Expert & Exclusive Buyer Agent with Buyer's Edge & Realtor in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC

Certified Negotiation Expert


Members of National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents

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William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Just the sound of this pipes make up is enough for me to  run the other way

Jan 21, 2019 04:31 PM #1
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Replacing sewer lines is an expensive proposition.  I can understand why those in your area may be well advised to determine if a problem exists with any homes they potentially wish to buy.

Jan 22, 2019 06:52 PM #2
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Victoria Ray Henderson

Real Estate for Home Buyers with Buyer's Edge
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