When it comes to installation and management of cast iron sewer pipes, one of the most frequently asked questions we hear is “How long do cast iron drain pipes last?” 


While there are varying factors that affect the lifespan of cast iron pipes, you can expect that any cast iron sewer line pipe will last anywhere between 50 and 100 years. However, you may need to replace cast iron pipes before their lifetime is up.


Also, if you’re considering installing cast iron pipes but wondering if they last long enough to be used in sewer line installations, this post answers the salient questions you might have. 


What Are Cast Iron Sewer Pipes?


Cast iron pipes have been in use in drainage, water supply, and sewer systems for centuries. Cast iron sewer pipes have been used for plumbing since the 17th century. As the name implies, they are made from Iron, and due to oxidation and use, they are subject to chipping over time, albeit slowly and gradually disintegration.


Cast iron sewer pipes are known for their application as pressure pipes for the transmission of water, gas, and sewage. Their use for drainage dates back centuries ago. Cast-iron sewer pipe, like clay pipe, is associated with older homes, yet it is still installed today.


In contrast to other common sewer pipe options, such as clay, ABS, and PVC, one of the best features that make cast iron stand out is its internal strength against high pressures. For example, a 4-inch diameter sewer pipe is capable of withstanding over 350 psi. Clay, ABS, and PVC pipes, on the other hand, are all subject to breakage. Although sewer pipes are never pressurized, pressure ratings can give you an overall idea of your pipe’s tensile strength.


Among other properties that make cast iron one of the best, cast iron sewer pipe is non-flammable. However, cast iron sewer pipes have their own downsides. Common problems that occur over time include sewer backup into your home, roach infestation, pest infestation, and slow-moving drains. The only significant disadvantage associated with cast iron sewer pipes is the cost and weight.


Why Should I Use a Cast Iron Sewer Pipe?


Cast-iron sewer pipe is mostly found in older homes, although a good number of modern houses still use cast iron. The main advantage of cast iron, when compared to other pipe options, is its long lifespan and durability. These pipes are known for strength, which is why they are used widely. 


For example, a sewer pipe with a diameter of 4″ can withstand almost 5,000 pounds of pressure per linear foot. On the other hand, a plastic sewer pipe can be damaged by applying very light pressure to it. 


Do You Live In a House Built Before 1975?


If you currently live in a home built before 1975, the pipes used in your home’s sewer system may be made of cast iron. Ideally, you should carry out routine maintenance of the pipe to spot any signs of damage easily. Most homeowners do not even know much about their sewer and drainage installations, and therefore., may not be able to understand when something is wrong. 


Because of the nature, position, and age of the pipe, chances are that the cast iron sewer pipes can begin to deteriorate. To prevent this, it is usually advisable to conduct periodic checks. Usually, cast iron sewer pipes are hidden underground or in the basement, and will typically last up to 25 years before deterioration of the pipes begins. You don’t want to end up with a blocked sewer line on a peaceful morning or be forced to move out of your home because of sewage backup.


In essence, if your house uses cast iron pipe, it is important to have a sewer and drain specialist examine the pipes for signs of damage at regular intervals. 


How Long Do Cast Iron Sewer Pipes Last?


With wear and tear, cast iron sewer pipes are expected to last anywhere between 50 and 100 years. Deterioration is normal in every residential pipe system. To ensure you don’t end up with a terrible pipe situation in your home, you should ensure periodic examination and maintenance of your drain pipes.


What Are the Signs Of Issues In Your Sewer Pipes?


Like all other pipes, cast iron sewer pipes can be replaced when they become old or damaged. You can tell that the pipes have issues when you notice rust, decay, discoloration, or cracks. There are also more visible signs that homeowners can watch out for.

  • Here are some common signs that your sewer drain pipes are faulty: 
  • Slow-moving  drains
  • Sporadic leaks are a cause for concern
  • Sewer line clogs or backups
  • Foul smells emanating from sewer gasses
  • Infestation of roaches and rodents.
  • Raised floor tiles, which indicates penetration of water. 
  • Loose or broken floor tiles
  • Water-stained floor tiles (grout)
  • Water-stained/discolored carpet


It is advisable for homeowners to quickly reach out to local drain and sewer experts to determine if a repair needs to be done or if the entire piping system needs replacement. When allowed to linger, the situation may lead to more severe deterioration in your home. 


Best Cast Iron Sewer Pipe Repair & Installation in Seattle, WA


Are you looking for a reliable sewer and drain specialist to help you sort out issues with your home’s sewer line or install a replacement? N.W Sewer & Drain has got you covered. We are a team of experienced sewer and drain experts serving communities in Seattle with the best drain cleaning solutions and sewer line replacement, repairs, and installation services.


N.W. Sewer & Drain currently serves residential and commercial properties in the Greater Seattle area, including Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Renton, Lake Forest Park, Bremerton, Mountlake Terrace, Auburn, Mount Vernon, Oak Harbor, Marysville, Everett, Kenmore, Lynnwood, Bellingham, Anacortes, Edmonds, Arlington, and Bothell. 


Have more questions? Give us a call today at 206-931-7728 to schedule an inspection of your pipes.


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