If you live in an old house, you may have cast-iron pipes, which normally lasts for many years. However, the iron does eventually wear down and is prone to rust and corrosion. If you are wondering if it is time to replace your home's cast-iron plumbing, look for the following signs of deterioration.
1. Water Coming out of Your Faucets Is Discolored
One sign that your cast-iron pipes are starting to deteriorate and need to be replaced can be found in the water coming out of the faucets. The water may become discolored, taking on a brownish or reddish tint. The water may also have a metallic taste to it.
This discoloration is caused by rust that is flaking off into the water. You may even see the rust particles if you hold a glass of water up to the light and look through it.
If your hot water heater is old, however, this could be causing the discoloration, especially if only the water coming out of the hot tap is affected. If the water is discolored coming from both hot and cold taps, then the cause is most likely rust and deterioration of your cast-iron plumbing.
2. Pipes Have Noticeable Damage on Their Exteriors
Another sign that your cast-iron pipes are in need of replacement is when they have noticeable damage on their exterior surfaces. While surface rust may not be cause for replacing the pipes as soon as possible, other signs could indicate that a leak in the near future is possible.
As the cast iron deteriorates, it starts to shed off in layers, making the surface peel off. The surface becomes rough and flaky, which allows moisture to contaminate the interior layers of the metal.
Over time, as the iron continues to flake, a hole starts to form and become bigger after exposure to water. Eventually, the damage will pierce through the layers and allow water to leak out. The damage also weakens the overall integrity of the pipe, making it more susceptible to cracking, especially when the plumbing experiences extremes in temperature.
If you notice either or both of the above signs, your cast-iron pipes are affecting your water quality and most likely getting close to springing a leak, which can be very difficult to repair. Instead of waiting for this to happen, contact a plumbing contractor about replacing the pipes and updating the plumbing in your home.