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     Galvanized drains installed prior to the mid 50’s are likely to be at the end of their life.  These are fairly general guidelines that the inspector will use when he or she finds them in your dream house, to let you know that you should be prepared for replacement of the pipes—-even if they seem to be draining OK at the time of inspection.

     These pipes usually do not spontaneously start leaking.  In fact, failure happens pretty much continuously over the life of the pipe, gradually deteriorating on the inside, until small pin-holes start to develop.  These tiny leaks will seal themselves with rust until they corrode through again and then start to leak again.  Eventually the leaks can’t seal themselves any longer and the pipe leaks all the time.

     It is common to see these holes patched in a variety of ways from duct tape and tar to banding clamps.  I have sometimes seen repairs that would cost more than replacement of the pipe—-well except that the plumber would have to be paid for his time.  So the homeowner looks at the leak, and will spend 40 bucks or 10 bucks and figure out a way to beat a little more life out of the pipes.

     These pipes drained just fine at the time of inspection—–and were not even leaking—-and they are certainly WAY past the end of their expected life.  The inspector would be remiss to not recommend replacement NOW.

Bad galvanized drain

More bad galvanized drain pipe

     For arguments sake, let’s just say you are a “Pipe-Beater,” and you really need to get a little more life out of the drain before you call in the plumber—-and then have to fork over the big bucks.  The stainless steel no-hub couplings that one can see in the lower picture cost about $4.00 each, of which there are four—-for a total of $16.00.  To replace that same section of damaged pipe with new plastic pipe would have required about $1.00 worth of pipe and two connectors for a total of $9.00—-assuming you didn’t have to buy a hack-saw.

     Those of you that read my blog religiously will recognize the Asbestos wrapped pipes below the leak—-the subject of yesterdays post.

     Will the plumber be willing to work around the stuff?  Good question.

 

Charles Buell

 

 

 

 

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Raven DeCroeDeCroe, is my “etherial” home inspector assistant and occasionally flies into my blog and other people’s blogs to offer assistance. To find out more about her beginnings just click on Raven.

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