Telltale Signs Your Plumbing System Has Failed

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The topic of cast iron waste pipe corrosion has been Googled thousands of times and discussed on numerous online forums. One contributor describes “a crack about 8" long on the top of the large iron sewer line that runs through my basement. The surface of the pipe has some brownish-orange rust.” This is a classic case of pipe corrosion. Corrosion is largely caused by hydrogen sulfide gas from sewage, which collects inside pipes and oxidizes. Sulfuric acid eats away at pipe walls, weakening and cracking them at the seam.

Signs Your Pipes Are Corroded

There are numerous signs that your pipes are corroded or damaged. Check for wet or damaged baseboards behind sinks, dishwasher and washing machines, warped or water-stained wood floors, and loose or lifting floor tiles.

Check for wet or damaged baseboards behind sinks, dishwashers, and washing machines; warped or water-stained wood floors; and loose or lifting floor tiles.

Interior and exterior tubing may show signs of discoloration, rust, stains, dimpling, pimples, or flaking, which can all indicate corrosion. If you find irregularities on your pipes, hire a plumber to do a full inspection. Minor leaks are also a cause for concern. Water damage from time to time may not be a nuisance, but you should not dismiss sporadic leaks. The website HouseLogic warns that small leaks may foretell future problems, like the flooding of water or raw sewage into your home.


Rust Suggests Internal Corrosion

Less obvious signs of failed plumbing are often indirect consequences of cracked pipes and leaking. Take note if you experience sewage backups, slow drains, foul smells, pest infestation, or water damage in your home. Another sign is brownish or yellowish water in the bathtub. The tint is likely coming from a rust buildup inside decaying pipe walls. Rust can form in blobs on the underside of cast iron pipes. The catch is that as the external piping rusts, the iron expands and seals any leaks, so pipes may not be actively leaking when discovered. Still, rust is a sign that internal corrosion has breached the pipe walls. In other words, if the problem festers, a full internal system failure is possible. This is why experts suggest completely removing corroded pipes rather than simply patching the cracks or removing the rust.

Precautionary Measures Can Protect Your Health

Damaged pipes may be compromising your health and putting you at risk for respiratory illness. Unexplained respiratory changes may be linked to pipe corrosion. Corroded pipes may leak odorless toxic gases, which cause dizziness, nausea, headaches, anxiety, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, eye irritation, fatigue and in extreme cases, unconsciousness and death.

Damaged pipes may be compromising your health and putting you at risk for respiratory illness.

Homeowners need to be informed about their interior and exterior pipe systems. Keep in mind that taking precautionary measures to replace deteriorated pipes can prevent damage that could set you back thousands of dollars. A modern alternative to cast iron is plastic or PVC plumbing, which design experts recommend as they are more resistant to corrosion. If your plumbing is failing, please contact us for a free, no-obligation case review. We may be able to help you recover financial relief for your property damages.