Cast iron pipes were widely used in the 1970s and the first part of the 1980s. These are extremely strong and have excellent damage resistance. But why aren’t homeowners nowadays sick of cast iron pipe repair every now and then?
To begin with, these homes are really ancient! Plumbing pipes don’t last a lifetime. The rust that has built up over time, especially in the case of cast iron, will slowly corrode and eat away at the metal, causing many fissures and leak difficulties. However, there are techniques for cast iron pipe repair. If the injury is very severe, you should speak with a specialist immediately.
What indicates cast iron pipe leakage?
First of all, one of the most obvious warning signs of a leaky pipe is off-smelling sewage. Use a flashlight to find the leak, hole, or fractures after determining where the pipes may be leaking. You might further your search by checking the nearby soil for signs of moisture. A paper towel wrapped over the suspected leaky area might also assist you in locating the issue. At regular intervals, look for any moist areas.
How can a hole or crack be fixed in cast iron pipe?
You may quickly fix tiny holes or cracks in your cast iron pipe with cast-iron repair solutions. For cast iron pipe repair that is easily accessible yet damaged, use this do-it-yourself method. Before starting the work, make sure you have all essentail materials for repiping. After doing so, follow the steps below.
Step 1: Put on Safety Equipment
Even if fixing a cast iron pipe might not appear like a dangerous task, you still need to take precautions to avoid the later-on rotten smell and rust. Before getting your hands filthy with this do-it-yourself repair project, put on a mask and some work gloves.
Step 2: Clean up the damaged area
Using a putty knife, start by removing any significant bits of rust from the area. Then use a wire brush to smooth the area. Feel free to use a sander to remove the rust if it is too thick. Use a cleanser to remove any sticky or oily residue from the surface after it is nice and smooth. By doing this, you may make sure the cast iron mending material sticks to the surface firmly.
Step 3: Fill in the imperfection
The cast iron surface is now prepared for repair and healing. Fill the hole or fracture with the compound using a putty knife. JB Weld Twin Tube and EP-200 plumbing epoxy putty are two of the best epoxy products for cast iron pipe repair. Let the compound set after applying it.
Step 4: for larger holes, use a weatherproofing material:
Large holes should be filled with more than epoxy since the epoxy won’t have time to cure. Instead, cover the damage with a layer of waterproof plumbing tape or weatherproof adhesive membrane. To make sure the layer is well-bonded and well-sealed, use epoxy adhesive in advance.
Depending on the size of the hole, apply a few clamps now to make sure the membrane sets correctly. To avoid leaks, keep in mind that the clamps need to be appropriately nutted.
Step 5: Apply surface paint:
Rust accumulation over many years is a common source of damage to cast iron pipes. It is preferable to put a coat or two of waterproof paint on the pipe after you have repaired it to ensure that rust won’t affect it again for at least a year or two.
Step 6: Double-check the area:
You could overlook a few little holes here and there while focusing on the larger issues. Check the surrounding regions for little problems if the cast iron pipe is too old and rusted. This step is easier with running water.
How can leaky cast iron pipe joints be fixed?
Molten lead and oakum are frequently used to seal joints in antique cast iron pipes. Follow the three methods shown below to reseal the junction if you have a leak coming from a pipe joint.
- Repair with oakum
With the use of a hammer and a chisel, try to pack the lead back into the hub. Even while the lead can still rearrange itself close to the issue, this approach may occasionally fail.
If so, take the lead and oakum fragments out of the hub. Utilizing a caulking tool, tamp fresh oakum into the hub until it is twice the circumference of the pipe.
To seal the oakum in place, use a plastic lead or soil pipe sealer. Prior to putting the drainpipe back into use, give the seal time to set for around six hours.
- Caulking to repair:
Although lead pipes were utilized in the past to seal cast iron connections, today’s lead-free laws make them less preferred. Therefore, you should use this as a chance to repair your cast iron lead joints with a cold caulking seal if they are leaking.
With the use of a chisel or screwdriver, drill the lead and carefully remove it from the hub. Although it may seem like a difficult process, you may install a new seal while you’re getting your hands muddy!
Start by taking a measurement of the pipe’s circumference, just as you would with oakum. The fix calls for a cold caulking compound twice this length. Spray or brush some water onto the compound after it has been cut.
Refrain from totally immersing the caulking compound. Press the compound into the hub using a caulking iron and a hammer until it is all uniformly packed. Before allowing fluid into the drainpipe, give the caulk six hours to dry and set.
Benefits of cast iron pipe replacement with PVC
Plumbing professionals usually advise their clients to replace their cast iron pipes with PVC rather than offering band-aid fixes. They do have a point, though! The advantages of PVC pipes versus cast iron pipes are listed below.
PVC pipes are lightweight. Therefore, replacing them will take a few plumbers. This implies that the replacement procedure will be much less expensive for you. Heavy cast iron replacement necessitates more time and labor, which drives up the cost of installation.
- Less common plumbing issues:
Your system will only endure for a short time if your decades-old cast iron pipes have a few joints that leak or have holes and cracks here and there. Patchwork may be something you do. However, these short-term fixes are only effective for a few weeks, months, or even a year or two.
Conversely, PVS pipes have flexible joints and tighter fittings. These characteristics guarantee that you won’t have PVC pipe fractures, holes, or joint leaks for years or even decades.
- Long-term and cost-effectiveness:
PVC pipes are absolutely worthwhile in the long term, even if initially, it may seem like an unnecessary expense to replace the pipes.
First off, replacing the old cast iron pipes will result in less expense and labor for upkeep. Furthermore, the lifespan of your cast iron pipes is only a short time. Eventually, a replacement is required. Therefore, why not repair all of the pipes at once and put an end to the plumbing-related hassle?
You would have just set up an entirely new PVC plumbing system. You can depend on these pipes to last for many years. PVC pipes often have a lifespan of over 70 years or perhaps a century or longer if properly maintained.
While cast iron pipes are still quite resilient, they tend to degrade rather fast due to oxidation and corrosion. A cast iron plumbing system will also require more upkeep than a system made of other materials.
PVC pipes are undoubtedly well ahead in the competition for the finest plumbing pipe when all four factors are considered. Your plumbing system may be begging for PVC replacement if you become overly anxious about your home’s plumbing problems.
When should you contact a professional?
You should certainly contact a plumbing expert if cast iron pipes that are underground and beneath concrete are broken.
Professionals begin the diagnostic by examining the suspected problem area using a tiny camera. They then devise the greatest remedies for the injury. If the damage appears to be beyond repair, they’ll likely recommend replacing the pipes.
They could have to employ Cured-In-Place Pipe (CIPP) technology, which involves inserting a resin liner in a portion of pipe if the holes are too large and in several procedures.
Even if the pipe only needs a patch job, you won’t have the tools to accomplish the DIY in difficult-to-reach spots.
In the end, we hope to have addressed all of your concerns about cast iron pipe repair. Determine the location of the leak first, then treat the surface using the instructions below. If you have any further questions, please leave a comment below.