Your Drain Waste and Vent (DWV) system is probably one of the most important components of your plumbing system, allowing the flow and removal of grey-water and sewage down drains and through waste pipes. Unfortunately, as buildings age the corrosion of cast iron DWV piping can become a severe problem. Depending on the external environmental conditions and the corrosiveness of the liquid waste and gasses within the pipes, major blockages and even complete structural collapse are not uncommon.
One of the keys to protecting your property is to educate your staff on the signs of potential problems. Knowing what to look for can help avoid excessive obstructions, total system failure, and extensive water damage.
Here are the top four things to look for as DWV pipes age:
1. Rust forms on the inside of the pipe, creating a crust of “tubercules.” Tuberculation slows water flow, eroding the metal and increasing the chances of corrosion.
2. Corrosion appears in different forms: long cracks can form on horizontal sections, pipes can disintegrate in certain sections, fittings can often be problematic, and occasionally, pipes can become entirely blocked due to lack of maintenance.
3. Check the vent side of your system. Often, the vent side is in worse condition than the drain side, contributing to the release of sewer gas inside your building.
4. Repeated backups, slow draining, or unexplainable odors are signs your DWV piping system could be failing.
If your property is more than 20 years old and you are experiencing any of these signs, we recommend a camera inspection of the DWV lines to investigate any issues. Another best practice is to keep a record of leaks and blockages, reviewing them every quarter. This report can help you determine when pipe replacement may make sense.
Eventually, all drain and waste systems need to be replaced. Timely cast iron replacement will prevent recurring problems, system failure, extensive damage and toxic water contamination.
If you are experiencing issues with your drain, waste & vent piping system, contact us for a free consultation.