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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Exclamation Plse help a clueless gal re: CAST IRON WASTE PIPES

    Hi everyone, thanks for reading. I'm not a diy'er or old home enthusiast, just a gal in love with a home but freaked out after the inspection. My agent seems to no opinion and I would really love some honest, realistic advice about what I'm dealing with.

    Background: Phoenix AZ, House is 65 years old, in a great neighborhood and because it's never been sold, (original owner lived there 50 years, son&wife after that) the upgrades are all top notch. However, The home has cast iron waste pipes, copper interior piping.My inspection showed visible corrosion in 2 bath drains and one sink is fully clogged for unknown reason. Off the bat that doesn't seem to bad, but obviously the cast iron must be at the end of its life span.

    I really don't know what this means. Will I eventually or very soon have to go through the concrete foundation? Wont this destroy the meticulously preserved original baths? What about just the tub drains? That doesn't look easy. Do you do it all at once or piece by piece? Obviously people deal with this kind of thing but how?

    When i ask myself if the house is worth another 10k, the answer is yes, but like I said, I just don't understand what replacing cast iron waste pipes mean. I am getting a plumbing inspection, but I'm already terrified about it. Also, I have no idea what I can reasonably expect the seller to agree to. I don't want to be terrified without a real life idea about what it means.


    Please, any advice, experience or thoughts would really be appreciated. There is one more issue w/ the house, some weird electrical, and I'll post about that in the appropriate place. This is my first time home buying, and I suspect you know what I'm going through. THANK YOU

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Houston Texas
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    Default Re: Plse help a clueless gal re: CAST IRON WASTE PIPES

    The average life expectancy of CI pipes is somewhere in the 75 to 100 year range, according to the CI Soil & Pipe Institute. The clog could be from hair or grease or a barbie doll.

    Your best advice will come from a local plumber who will be more familiar with the aging of CI pipes in your specific climate. Call a few local plumbers and simply ask how long buried and non buried CI pipes last. The CI pipes in my home are 90 yrs old and working just fine.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Maryland
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    1,256

    Default Re: Plse help a clueless gal re: CAST IRON WASTE PIPES

    I would agree with previous poster. When they said "visible corrosion in two bath drains" they may just be talking about the actual sink drain, tailpiece or trap rather than the actual cast iron waste pipe.
    All of the former are easily correctable.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    4

    Default Re: Plse help a clueless gal re: CAST IRON WASTE PIPES

    Oh, thanks so far... I already feel better. But what Im more specifically wondering is, when the pipes are at the end, does it happen all at once? Do people fix a peice at a time? And GREAT about the drain, didnt realize it could be a separate piece, but if it IS the drain, that means going under the concrete, or is the stuff in the walls? My inspection report has a generic "this could mean under the foundation" sentence.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,505

    Default Re: Plse help a clueless gal re: CAST IRON WASTE PIPES

    Pet Peeve time;

    Generally house inspectors (for the purpose of purchase) write the report so they have zero liability in the future. This is why guys like Mike Holmes have a job. They don't open anything, no cameras down pipes, not much testing aside from flushing a few toilets and guessing about how fast the shower drain handles the water in a home they've never seen before. The comments are generalized. See where I'm headed?

    :getting off soapbox:

    Get your own inspection from a licensed local plumber. Find some old guy who is near retirement (or is retired) and doesn't need your money. he may know the specific area well. Pay him for his expertise. Its worth every penny. Talk with the neighbors. If the houses were built at the same time, they would all have the same problems.

    If the clog is before the CI, say in a trap or house drain line, those are fairly simple to unclog. Did the former owner have long hair? Dogs? Small children? Those are classic drain clogging demons. If the main to the street is clogged, then a simple roto-routing will solve it unless- (drumroll) there is a tree that has cracked the main line. The way to know - is there a large tree with those kind of roots near the pipe? Scoping a pipe with a camera costs about $300 round these parts.

    If the main to the street is hopelessly clogged, then the whole pipe gets replaced with shiny new PVC.

    What exactly did the inspector write?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,505

    Default Re: Plse help a clueless gal re: CAST IRON WASTE PIPES

    Pet Peeve time;

    Generally house inspectors (for the purpose of purchase) write the report so they have zero liability in the future. This is why guys like Mike Holmes have a job. They don't open anything, no cameras down pipes, not much testing aside from flushing a few toilets and guessing about how fast the shower drain handles the water in a home they've never seen before. The comments are generalized. See where I'm headed?

    :getting off soapbox:

    Get your own inspection from a licensed local plumber. Find some old guy who is near retirement (or is retired) and doesn't need your money. he may know the specific area well. Pay him for his expertise. Its worth every penny. Talk with the neighbors. If the houses were built at the same time, they would all have the same problems.

    If the clog is before the CI, say in a trap or house drain line, those are fairly simple to unclog. Did the former owner have long hair? Dogs? Small children? Those are classic drain clogging demons. If the main to the street is clogged, then a simple roto-routing will solve it unless- (drumroll) there is a tree that has cracked the main line. The way to know - is there a large tree with those kind of roots near the pipe? Scoping a pipe with a camera costs about $300 round these parts.

    If the main to the street is hopelessly clogged, then the whole pipe gets replaced with shiny new PVC.

    From what the inspector wrote, it sounds like it could be clogged right under the sink in the J trap.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Plse help a clueless gal re: CAST IRON WASTE PIPES

    THANK YOU! MY RANTwhat I wrote is all he had in his report, however while we were there he said pipes are at end of life span, you'll have to go through the concrete, ect ect... but not giving me any indication if what he was saying was as major as it sounded... for instance, it's an old house and has has 3-pronged outlets installed on 2. He's telling me I could get electrocuted, cant use big appliances.... but I'm looking around this nice house, with big appliances plugged in thinking, but they are and have for years with no problem. I understand more now, but talking to him, he gave me no indication about what was "normal" or acceptable over many issues. Thats why I'm saying, I want to know whats realistic. Obviously people live in old houses that have been modified in some ways that you wouldnt do NOW, but people have and are living fine that way. He had me freaked out because the chimmeny mortar didnt slope and meet on the inside to pull the smoke up. Told me it was unuseable, house would fill w/ smoke...and again, I'm looking at this clearly used fireplace thinking... they did...I dont see smoke up the wall. END RANT Im really feeling MUCH BETTER with these responses, thanks again!

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