Have you ever wondered what type of main sewer line you have at your home? Probably not. If your home’s plumbing and drain lines are all working well, it’s not a question most people seek the answer to. But, if you need to have your main line cleaned a couple times or more every year due to back-ups, it is a good idea to figure out if there is a larger issue going on. Knowing what type of material your sewer line is built out of could be determined by a camera inspection. A camera inspection can also identify if your pipe has any issues such as extreme scale and corrosion, heavy roots and debris, breaks, bellies, back-pitch, collapse.
Most older homes in the Twin Cities area that were built prior to the 1950’s have a clay sewer pipe, a cast-iron pipe or a fiber conduit pipe called Orangeburg. Beginning in the 1950’s and until the 1970’s, clay and cast iron were still being used, and piping made from an asbestos-cement product called Transite was also an option. Before we knew the dangers of carcinogens like asbestos used for Transite and lead-poisoning, sewer lines were also constructed out of lead. New or newer homes constructed since the 1970’s tend to have plastic sewer pipes called PVC or ABS.
Clay Sewer Pipe: Vitrified clay pipe is still a viable pipe used today and can last up to 50-60 years. Clay is highly resistant to chemical degradation, but it is porous, so it is more susceptible to invasive tree root growth.
Cast Iron Pipe: One of the best things about cast iron is that it is immensely strong and can survive 75-100 years. One of the worst things is that they are prone to scale build-up, rust and corrosion.
Orangeburg Pipe: Orangeburg pipe was used from the 1860’s until the early 1970’s and typically lasts or lasted only a few decades. They were constructed out of wood pulp/fibers bound with adhesive and lined with a liquefied coal tar pitch. If you still have an Orangeburg pipe, chances are it has deformed or deteriorated.
Transite Pipe: Original Transite or AC (asbestos-cement) pipes had 15-20% of asbestos fibers added to a cement base to provide tensile strength, and it is relatively resistant to corrosion. If you have a Transite line, the technology today to repair/retrofit these lines has greatly improved.
Lead Pipe: Prior to the serious findings that Lead piping adversely affects your health, this type of material was commonly used in homes built before the 1930’s and has a sustainability of around 100 years. If you have a Lead pipe, please consider replacement as a break or blockage can leach lead into the groundwater and/or into your basement.
PVC Pipe: Polyvinyl Chloride (typically a white pipe) is most commonly found in new and newer homes. It is a cost-effective choice, is highly resistant to chemical degradation, has a smooth interior which is ideal for the carrying capacity of solid waste matter and the plastic material helps prevent root growth.
ABS Pipe: Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (always a black pipe) is also used in new and newer homes since the 1970’s. ABS is another cost-effective choice, it is a bit stronger than PVC and has the same smooth finish, it will not flake/peel, rot or dissolve. It’s an ideal choice for underground use with our colder climate.
If you are curious about your main sewer line’s material, need to investigate a potential issue with your main line if you are having frequent back-ups or unusually wet areas in your yard, please reach out to Ken’s Sewer Service today.