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Many older homes in Hinckley, IL have clay drain pipes. They were commonly used from 1900 into the early 1980s because they were a cost-effective option for creating sewer lines in many different locations. PVC pipe was more commonly used after 1980, and PVC piping can last up to 100 years.
It’s important to remember that the estimated lifetime of any material is just that, an estimate. Many different factors affect their actual lifetime. Clay pipes can last for decades. The average lifetime is about 50 to 60 years, but clay can become brittle and susceptible to cracking from frost and moisture, shifting soils, and repeated physical impacts.
Potential Problems With Clay Pipes
Clay pipe is usually found in sections of 12 inches to several feet, and traditional pipes have sections joined with grouting seals. Seals can let moisture escape that attracts tree roots. Root infiltration can block and damage pipes in a remarkably short time. A root can get inside the tiniest hole or crack, even an opening the width of a human hair. Roots enter sewer lines and continue expanding and growing, which leads to extensive damage if it isn’t stopped early.
Sometimes a problem referred to as a low spot or ‘belly’ occurs. The low point interferes with wastewater flowing through the pipe. Water and sediment collect in the sagging area and cause backups or clogs. Issues that contribute to sag include bedding compaction, incorrect slopes, and even temperature fluctuations. Most problems start outside the building perimeter, but those problems can lead to replacing all the pipes under a basement.
Waste materials may corrode clay pipes or build up over time. This restricts water flow and may cause leaks. The resulting backup of wastewater into the home presents risks to the structural integrity and health of the home’s occupants.
Reasons to Consult a Plumber
Several common signs indicate that you may have problems in your piping. A strange or unpleasant odor may be noticeable in the yard. Foul smells can also come from drains or air vents. Pay attention to gurgling sounds in the bathroom, kitchen, basement or laundry room. Sediment in bathtubs or sinks is frequently caused by clogged pipes, poor drainage, or backups. Poor drainage and wastewater backup can also lead to flooding in the basement or outside the property.
There are advantages and disadvantages to replacing clay pipes. Clay is an environmentally friendly choice for plumbing systems, and clay isn’t vulnerable to acid damage. However, clay pipes are much heavier and more difficult to transport and handle than PVC pipes. A clay pipe is also more vulnerable to root intrusion, especially at joints. PVC piping is seamless. Clay pipes have lower tensile strength than PVC, which means they’re vulnerable to shifting grounds and may snap under pressure.
Even well-maintained sewer lines deteriorate over time. No plumbing infrastructure, whether it’s made from clay or any other material, lasts forever. Repairs or replacements will always be necessary at some point. Pipe replacement often occurs during renovations to kitchens, basements, or bathrooms. The work required for renovating a house often creates a good opportunity for plumbers to replace pipes and fixtures too.
Sometimes inexperienced homeowners underestimate the scope of a project. Amateurs can make mistakes breaking open the floor or while removing old pipes without too many repercussions. Mistakes in new installations are more serious and have long-term consequences. Botched installation can lead to extensive damage from flooding, inadequate drainage, and foul smells caused by poor ventilation. Amateur jobs can even lead to insurance denials for other problems down the road.
Peace of mind is a fact that shouldn’t be ignored. Homeowners in Hinckley, IL with old clay pipes, or old plumbing in general, know that something could go wrong at any time. Problems could already exist that will only become obvious after the damage has already been done. These worries can be mitigated by having a professional plumber evaluate your home’s plumbing infrastructure and make any necessary repairs. You’ll also learn if the entire system should be replaced or just a few sections.
Why Do I Need an Expert?
It’s best to call a plumber to assess the situation and figure out the correct tools and time required for the job. Plumbers have inspection cameras to view the layout, condition and any obstructions in drain pipes before work starts. They need to consider how much pipe needs to be replaced and take any potential problems into account. A plumber also looks at the best way to connect new plumbing to public infrastructure.
After removing old piping, bedding materials have to be placed before the new pipe is installed. The new system needs connections to outside sewers, new floor drains, correctly placed backwater valves, riser piping, clean-out positions, ventilation, and other tie-ins. Water doesn’t flow efficiently without the correct piping slope. Plumbers also choose the most appropriate materials for the job, such as ABS or PVC DWV-rated plastic pipes.
Trenchless sewer repair may be an option for some homeowners. This is a type of sewer replacement that avoids excessive digging and minimizes damage to landscaping and a home’s interior. A trenchless repair method creates new pipes within the existing pipes and uses more durable and resilient modern pipe-lining material.
Local codes and building surveys are some of the most troublesome aspects of home renovations and pipe replacement for non-experts. Your local plumber knows the applicable regulations and codes. New installations have to meet the requirements of a building inspection. Added complications may occur if a sump pump or well is involved. The floor slab has to be replaced too, often with re-poured concrete.
Call Just In Time in Hinckley, IL if you suspect a problem with your plumbing. You can also call Just in Time’s experienced plumbers for advice and estimates for home renovation or pipe replacement projects.