A Complete Guide To Sewer Pipes

It may surprise you to learn that there are several types of sewer pipe systems, each of which requires a different approach when it comes to repair or replacement.

It is important that you hire a qualified and experienced plumber if you encounter any problems with your sewer pipes. At Mason Mechanical, we have the experience to ensure that any sewer pipe maintenance is carried out effectively and at a cost you can afford.

Plastic Sewer Pipe

There is a very good chance that plastic sewer pipes have been used in your system. The unfortunate truth is, homeowners usually discover their type of sewer pipes when there is a major plumbing issue. If you are having problems with appliances such as toilets that flush into the sewer system or septic tank, call a professional plumber right away to avoid costly repairs.

Cost aside, no homeowner wants to see a sewer pipe being repaired or replaced. The reality of the situation is the pipe either needs to be repaired or replaced. The potential for severe damage to your landscape is high but the alternative is waste backing up into your home.

Clay, Cast Iron, and Orangeburg in Older Homes

Depending on the age of the property, sewer pipe materials may include cast-iron, clay, or Orangeburg which is a fiber conduit line. For the most part, you don’t need to worry about replacing cast-iron or clay piping that is working effectively and doesn’t have any defects. Dealing with Orangeburg is an entirely different concept. Ideally, you should have Orangeburg pipes replaced even if they are undamaged.

You may encounter a mixture of piping materials in an older home. The most likely reason for this is repairs that have been carried out over the years. Although these replacements are not technically patch jobs, there is the potential for problems to arise due to the deterioration of pipes. You may have to replace the entire system.

Developers or builders of newer properties tend to favor plastic sewer piping. This trend began sometime in the 1970s and has persisted to the modern-day. The issue with plastic pipes is that they are not as durable as clay or cast-iron. For a new build, the contractor may suggest PVC or ABS plastic. By consenting to using these materials, you are sacrificing the longer lifespan of clay or cast-iron.

Plastic Sewer Pipes

As mentioned, there are two types of plastic sewer pipe found in modern underground installations. ABS and PVC are designed for efficient carrying capacity. Root anchorage can be avoided due to the smooth exterior surface of plastic sewer pipes. There are benefits to using plastic pipes, including the fact that the material is cheap and easy to work with. You can also integrate plastic sewer pipes with pipes constructed of other materials such as clay or cast-iron.

Cast Iron

Not all cast-iron sewer pipes are relics installed in older homes. Some contractors prefer this material over plastic pipes. Cast-iron pipes are durable and don’t break easily under pressure. For homeowners who prefer to carry our DIY repairs, cast-iron is not as easy to work with as plastic piping. For starters, you will need a soil pipe cutter to get through cast-iron. There is no risk from cast-iron melting in a fire so, if you use this piping from the sewer line to your home, you will avoid costly repair or replacement.

Clay Sewer Pipe

You can still have a clay sewer pipe installed in your system. However, sourcing this material is only your first problem if you are considering a DIY replacement. The major retailers do not supply clay sewer piping. If you do manage to find a supplier, you could end up out a fortune when you destroy the clay piping trying to cut the material. As an inert material, clay sewer pipe does not suffer from chemical degradation. The downside is that clay pipes can attract tree roots which could eventually result in a breach.

Orangeburg Sewer Pipe

You won’t find a contractor installing Orangeburg in a new build or as a replacement system. The problem with Orangeburg piping is that it often collapses under stress. The material is constructed from wood fibers. The fibers are bound with an adhesive that provides waterproofing. This property, combined with the fact that Orangeburg is lightweight and easy to work with, made it a popular choice at one point with plumbers.

The reason that plumbers recommend replacing Orangeburg is that the material is vulnerable in the wrong conditions. If you leave Orangeburg pipes installed, you are risking a plumbing disaster that could occur without warning.

To learn more about effective, efficient and reasonably priced sewer pipe replacement, reach out to the experts at Mason Mechanical. We can carry out a full inspection of your underground plumbing system using specialist equipment. If repairs or replacements are needed, your Mason Mechanical plumber will do everything possible to minimize damage to your property.