Older Sewer Systems in Seattle
August 21, 2018
Before PVC pipes revolutionized plumbing in the late 1970s, cast iron, galvanized steel or clay sewer pipes were commonly used in Seattle homes. These materials have an average life expectancy of 30-50 years (though some can last longer under good conditions). If your house has been around since before the ‘70s, you may have sewer pipes reaching the end of their life. Here are some tips from Best Plumbing of Seattle on signs that your sewer system is starting to go!
Know Your History
Do some research to determine the age of your home and to see if you can find any history of sewer repairs. If you have an old house with a short or nonexistent sewer repair history, consider calling the professionals to get things checked out. Keep in mind that older homes might have a sewer system made from several different pipe materials, due to previous repairs or remodeling. Just because the sewer lines in the house are new, doesn’t mean that the entire sewer system has been updated.
Metallic sewer pipes are susceptible to corrosion due to exposure to acid from food and waste. If you can, visually check your pipes to look for signs of rust. This can indicate corrosion that has penetrated the pipe wall. Meanwhile, non-vitrified clay pipes, which were common in the early to mid-1900s, can be penetrated by plant roots. Slow drainage, unexplained clogs, or ground sinking where a sewer line runs outside can indicate corrosion, root infiltration, or cracks.
What should you do if you have older pipes that are showing their age? The best course of action is to contact a professional plumber immediately. Ignoring a failing sewer system can lead to major property damage. A professional plumber can do a full video inspection to identify the most problematic pipe sections and let you know what your options are.