Salt & Cast Iron Pipes Don’t Mix: Here’s the Fix

Up until the mid-1970s, cast iron was the pipe of choice when it came to plumbing, inside and out. For homes and buildings in coastal areas, this choice of medium causes problems, as cast iron is exceptionally vulnerable to rusting. Above ground, salty air sticks to pipes within walls and behind sinks, while underground, sea level rise bathes the lines in salty water, beginning the oxidation process that ultimately leads to deterioration.

Homes built before the mid-70s should be inspected, as cast iron pipes in coastal regions have a 25- to 35-year lifespan. If your home or building still has cast iron pipes, you’re likely facing draining and corrosion problems. Continuous exposure to salt and repeated, infrequent use (through seasonal living) are known causes of corrosion and pipe weakness, which are common within a mile of the ocean. An inspection will be able to give you an idea of where you stand with your plumbing, and help you make an informed decision on how to maintain or replace what’s left.

Signs of Cast Iron Pipe Corrosion

A major indicator of corroded iron pipes is the color of the water that comes out of your faucets. Water will pick up the pipe’s rust and debris as it moves through the pipe, leaving you with a reddish-brown hue. You may not notice it as it streams out of the faucet, but a large glass or pot of water will disclose the true color.

Next, are the traditional signs of failing pipes. Slow draining and septic backup, where waste water comes back into the sinks and tubs of the house, are signs of pipe depletion.

How to Repair Cast Iron Pipes Damaged by Salt Water

The first step to repairing cast iron pipes damaged by salt water is an inspection. A professional will be able to tell you the state of the pipes (from internal lines to the sewer lateral), the extent of the damage, and where the most extreme damage is. Keep in mind that it is common to see partial pipe replacements in structures, meaning cast iron pipes are connected to replaced portions that are PVC. So it may not be your entire system that needs repair.
Pipelining Technologies uses robotic equipment and video cameras to conduct thorough investigations of your drain system. With all the details of your sewer line inspection in hand, you and an expert will have the information necessary to make an informed decision about how much and where pipe replacement is necessary. Trenchless pipe repair is a non-invasive option for full and partial sewer system replacements.

Pipelining Technologies’ pipe lining solution is the most effective and efficient – and least-invasive way to reverse the negative effects of salt water corrosion on cast iron piping. Using a structural liner, our technicians use machinery to push Cured In Place Piping through the existing system, effectively replacing the old pipes. With little to now structural and ground intrusion, this method allows you to completely rehabilitate depleted systems with no interruption to the daily life that surrounds your building.

Who to Call for Help with Your Cast Iron Pipes

If you are located in South Florida and would like a technician to inspect and diagnose your sewer system, reach out to Pipelining Technologies, Inc. Call us today to schedule an appointment.


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