Originally chosen for their low price and ease of install, cast iron pipes are in countless homes. In Florida alone, an estimated 2,000,000 homes use cast iron pipes in their plumbing systems. If your home was built prior to 1975, it’s likely your plumbing system consists of cast iron pipes, too.
Despite their popularity, cast iron pipes are tricky. Plumbing systems built of cast iron pipes are destined to fail and could cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage to your home. In fact, it’s estimated cast iron pipes have an expiration date of 40 to 50 years.
How Cast Iron Pipes Fail
When waste product is carried through a cast iron pipe, a chemical interaction occurs that causes the creation of hydrogen sulfide and sulfuric acid. The chemical combination of hydrogen sulfide and sulfuric acid is highly corrosive to the interior of a cast iron pipe, eventually causing it to fail.
Cast iron pipe failures are also more likely to occur in areas in close proximity to salt water.
Symptoms of Failure
There are various symptoms of cast iron pipe failure, many of which may seem small or insignificant at first. If your home has cast iron pipes, take note of the following symptoms of failure before serious damage ensues:
- Frequent leaks
- Slow draining
- Low water pressure
- Bad odor
- Water discoloration
- Foundational cracks
- Vermin infestation (rodents or insects)
- Puddles of water Mold
- Abnormal lawn growth
Should I Replace My Cast Iron Pipes?
Your cast iron pipe plumbing system should be replaced as serious property damage will occur in the future. According to lawyer K.C. Williams III who works on Florida cast iron pipes lawsuits, failure of a plumbing system could cause over $100,000 of water damage.
The building industry has subsequently stopped their use of cast iron pipes as they are prone to failure due to rust and corrosion. Unfortunately, millions of homes still exist with cast iron pipe systems.
Your Insurance Company Could Cover the Cost of Replacement
Replacing a home’s entire plumbing system is not cheap, but it could be covered by your insurance policy. Most property insurance policies claim to provide coverage for the replacement of leaking cast iron pipe plumbing systems.
Due to the high cost of repair and replacement, insurance companies, unfortunately, may try to undermine a policyholder’s claim. Before you report your claim, consider consulting with a lawyer who is experienced with insurance claims. Studies show policyholders with legal representation can secure three times more compensation.
If your claim denied or you are presented with an underpayment of your claim, do not accept their offer. Instead, seek a qualified lawyer to represent you. Often times, denials are overturned and full coverage is awarded to homeowners.
Don’t let your most valuable asset be damaged by faulty cast iron pipes. If your home was built before 1975, consider hiring a professional to inspect the plumbing system in your home. Protect your home from serious and pricey damage by noticing the symptoms of cast iron pipe failure and taking action.