Here at Next Level Pipe Lining, located in Charlotte, North Carolina, we have years of experience repairing cast iron sewer and lateral pipes. Not only do we understand the qualities and flaws of cast iron, but we know what is a common pipeline material likely installed at your property. Without proper maintenance, if the sewer lateral in your home or any commercial property isn’t taken care of, then you are drastically reducing the effectiveness of the pipe’s lifespan. Cast iron, which is very common here in the greater Charlotte area can start to ‘pit’ or ‘flake’ off inside the pipe. We have seen varying degrees of damage inside these lines, all the way from the complete bottom being rotted out, not unlike a Coca-Cola bottling plant or even at the local bar or restaurant, to minor cracking where tree roots can penetrate. Both scenarios can end badly for you or property because it’s inevitable that the sewer lines will fail, and when they do, it’s usually a horrific mess on a scale you need a professional to fix.
How is the life of cast iron sewer and lateral pipes extended?
The easy answer is proper maintenance. However, this basically means or requires you to have your commercial or home sewer line inspected. It all starts with a basic inspection, and most plumbing companies typically charge anywhere from $199-$299 to spend about an hour running a small but powerful camera down into your lateral. It will need to be inspected from your home or commercial property all the down to the city’s mainline which is located in the street.
What are the cleaning options?
Typically, there are two acceptable methods for cleaning or descaling cast iron pipes. First, if the structural integrity of the pipe is sound or it’s not on the verge of collapsing, our team will use chain cutters. Chain cutters do not require high speed water jetters, and the chains themselves oscillate at a high rate of speed. The chain will fit the desired size of any pipe, so if you have a 4-inch pipe, the chain cutter used would be 4 inches. We insert the chain cutter inside your pipe, and it spins at fast speeds that allows it to remove all of the scale and debris. These qualities make our preferred cast iron cleaning method whenever possible.
The next option, if cast iron cleaning cannot be recommended, would be water jetting. Water jetting is a tried and true method of cleaning just about any type of pipe that is out there. Water jetting uses very high pressure water that can clean and jet, cutting through tree roots like a hot knife through butter.
Facts about cast iron pipes
According to Wikipedia, cast iron was first introduced in the 19th century and it’s still in use today.
There are four different types of pressurized classes for cast iron, and these vary in their outside diameter wall as well as the inner wall thickness. Class A or B cast iron pipes are most commonly found in most residential and light commercial properties, as these classes have a smaller diameter than Class C and D cast iron pipes. Different projects will vary in what class of cast iron piping you will need. In addition, the different classes of pipes come in all different sizes and lengths of pipe. For example, in residential homes, it is typical to find 4 to 6-inch pipes installed in sections of 8 feet.