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A Guide To Determining If PVC Or Cast Iron Is The Best Choice For The New Drain Lines In Your Home

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Although few people would be happy to discover that an unexpected leak has occurred in the bathroom plumbing or that the recent DIY repairs to the pipes leaving the laundry room have already started to fail, it's important to be aware what those problems might indicate. Sadly, leaky pipes will often preface a more significant issue, so it's essential to get an examination of your home by a plumber as soon as you can.  Therefore, it's best to be aware of the following information about your options for new drain lines, so that you can have a better understanding of the situation at that time.   

Remember That The Materials Used For Your Pipes Will Impact Their Lifespan...Significantly      

One fact that every homeowner needs to know is the material used for their pipes and another is when those pipes were installed or replaced. Unfortunately, that information is not always shared in the inspection report from when the home was purchased,  so it may be necessary to have a plumber inspect the pipes. That information can permit you to determine what the next step should be, as the age of the item can impact your choices, as explained next.   

Understanding PVC, Its Uses, And Its Drawbacks

PVC has become quite popular in recent years and is a very affordable option for drain lines. However, even assuming that it is used as suggested and that unapproved items are never flushed down the line, it might last only 25 years before needing to be replaced.

If the design, use or placement of the pipes in question will be near a bedroom, kitchen or other areas where noise might be an issue, it might be helpful to remember that one of the trade-offs for a more affordable piping option is a lesser amount of noise cancellation. That means that PVC pipes will be louder than those made of cast iron.  

Opting For Cast Iron For As A Long-term Investment

Alternatively, another material used for drain lines is cast iron, which has been referenced as lasting as long as 80 years. Again, that statement would be most applicable when homeowners comply with its usage and maintenance recommendations during that time period, so plan accordingly when you are considering the use of those pipes over that extended period of time. However, cast iron is usually more expensive than PVC. Its heavier weight might add to the amount of time that it would take to finish the work, which can then increase the cost as well.

Another aspect to consider is the safety of cast iron in the event of a fire. PVC is known to be a fire hazard and if your home were to catch ablaze, it is possible that its presence could worsen the situation. Cast iron does not share that risk.

In conclusion, the pipes, including the drain lines throughout your home, are susceptible to damage at any time and early symptoms of its failure are often patched, in lieu of replacement. However, doing so can be simply delaying the inevitable and it's important to have a clear understanding of the above information about choosing new drain lines when irreparable problems manifest.