In our post on cast iron plumbing in Florida, we looked at the basics of this growing problem for area homeowners. We explained the origins of the situation, how cast iron corrodes, and why it’s coming to a head at this time. In this post, we’ll drill deeper into the details, and discuss practical, proactive steps homeowners can take. Cast iron piping failures are a unquestionably a sign of our times.
WIDESPREAD PROBLEMThere are about 4.8 million single-family homes in the state of Florida. Of these, somewhere between 2 million (40%) and 2.4 million (50%) have cast iron drain piping. The youngest of these homes is now 44 years old. That’s because builders stopped using cast iron after 1975.
CAST IRON PIPING FAILURESCast iron drain piping has a theoretical useful life of 50-75 years. Indeed, in other parts of the country and of the world, that may be the case. It is becoming clear, however, that our region is different. Conditions in Florida are very tough on cast iron. We’re talking about underground piping, after all, and our soil is salty and moist. That’s a perfect storm for corrosion where cast iron is concerned. Now, as the youngest homes with cast iron piping reach 44 years, it’s becoming clear. Cast iron piping failures are an epidemic in Florida.
IS IT YOUR PROBLEM?Based on the numbers above, if your house was built before 1975 the odds are almost 50-50 that it is your problem. Or will be. If you’re seeing the symptoms of drain piping failure, it’s an urgent problem. These indicators include:
- Backing up in drains and toilets
- Discolored, bulging, cracked floor tiles
- Water stains in carpets
- Sewage odors in the house