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Types of Sewer Pipe: Tips for Choosing the Right Plumbing Pipe | Gallegos

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right sewer pipe

Table of Contents

  • How Does the Sewer Pipe Work, and what is it Made of?
  • Main Types of Sewer Pipes
    • PVC and ABS
    • Cast Iron Sewer Pipes
    • Clay Sewer Pipes
    • Orangeburg Pipes
  • Easiest Sewer Pipe to Repair: CPVC
  • Safest Home Drain Pipe Material: Polypropylene Pipe (PP)
  • How Long Do Sewer Pipes Last?
  • Sewer Pipe Preventive Maintenance:
    • How to Keep Sewer Pipes in Good Shape
  • Sewer Pipe Replacement:
    • Replace Exposed Sewer Pipes When You Want, Buried Pipes When You Must
  • 5 Tips to Choose the Right Plumbing and Sewer Pipe
    • 1. Evaluate the Quality
    • 2. Opt for Easy-to-Install Pipes
    • 3. Prioritize Durability over Price
    • 4. Corrosion-Resistance
    • 5. Check for “Lead-Free”
  • Sewer and Drain Cleaning Company Near Me

How Does the Sewer Pipe Work, and what is it Made of?

The sewer line pipe is responsible for transporting all the wastewater or sewage from homes or commercial buildings to the sewer main.

Sewer pipes usually have two types of different destinations. Most homes inside cities, towns, and developed areas are connected to a public sewer system. In relatively inaccessible lots or obscure places, you will likely find septic tanks- private water waste treatment systems whose maintenance costs are absorbed by the owner. In comparison, taxes cater to the maintenance of public sewer systems.

Gravity is the preferred medium of transport for sewage. Wastewater feeds into larger Plumbing Pipes via smaller pipes in a constant flow towards a wastewater treatment plant. However, lower-lying areas often demand that content be pumped to higher regions where gravity does the rest of the job.

Sewer pipes are made of various materials, which affect their longevity. We will dive into these materials in the next section.

Main Types of Sewer Pipes

Understanding the sewer line you have at home helps you decide between continuing with the same pipe and upgrading to a newer type. This section classifies sewer pipes according to their construction materials as follows:

Sewer Line Repair the Traditional Way

» PVC and ABS

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) pipes are quite similar plastic pipes used for sewer lines. They are good choices for new sewer lines because they are inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to cut. Also, their smooth interiors facilitate the excellent transfer of solid waste matter and help resist root anchorage.

However, these pipes have different codes and require different adhesives. And whereas ABS is black, PVC is white. You will also note that ABS is more robust while PVC is slightly softer and more flexible.

» Cast Iron Sewer Pipes

Whereas cast-iron sewer pipes are often associated with older homes, they still find applications in modern sewer systems. However, they are not used as often as modern plastic pipes.

The most popular thing about cast iron pipes is their incredible strength. In fact, a four-inch cast iron pipe can stand up to over two of pressure per linear foot, unlike clay, PVC, and ABS pipes that are subject to breakages. Additionally, cast iron is non-flammable.

The pipe is viable until the point it rusts entirely through. Besides, it is heavy, expensive, and requires special tools to cut. These downsides are among the reasons why retrofits often replace cast iron sewer pipes with rigid plastic pipes like ABS.

» Clay Sewer Pipes

While no longer popular, clay sewer pipe is still applicable for new installations today. It is heavy and tricky to transport and cut, making it unsuitable for DIY sewer line replacement. It is also prone to breaking under pressure from underground roots. Note that sewer line repair with these pipes can cost you a substantial amount of money.

But clay pipes do not degrade when exposed to chemicals. That means these pipes can last for thousands of years if not affected by ground shifting or tree roots. Modern installations include encasing clay sewer pipes in concrete to protect against physical damage.

» Orangeburg Pipes

Manufactured from wood fibers bound with special water-resistant adhesive, Orangeburg sewer pipe was a favorite among plumbers in the past because it was light and easy to cut with a regular wood saw.

Originally, Orangeburg pipes were approved for transit applications (where contractors ran cable and other lines through the pipes). However, during World War II and the Cold War when steel and iron commonly used for sewer pipes were in short supply, Orangeburg piping served as a saving grace for homeowners looking for relatively reliable but cheaper sewer drain options.

These pipes were expected to last at least 50 years. However, they often required frequent repairs and replacements just after 30 years due to poor waterproof qualities. That is why Orangeburg piping is no more a viable option for new installations.

Easiest Sewer Pipe to Repair: CPVC

Polluted water and highly corrosive chemicals associated with wastewater treatment demand appropriate material for efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Enter chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) sewer pipes.

People prefer CPVC for its reliability and better performance for an extended lifespan. It also eliminates external and internal chemical corrosion.

CPVC requires substantially less maintenance than cheaper plastics. When repairs are needed, you only need to cut the damaged portion using a handsaw and refit with adhesives.

Contact your local plumbers for Professional Trenchless Sewer Repair in Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park and throughout Ventura County at Gallegos Plumbing today by calling (805) 243-2622.

Safest Home Drain Pipe Material: Polypropylene Pipe (PP)

With durable, high tensile strength coupled with high resistance to temperatures and chemicals, Polypropylenes (PP) is an ideal material for home drain piping.

PP plumbing pipes do not leach trace chemicals into potable water, protecting the safety and health of people using them. However, they cost more per foot than other types of pipes and have a complex installation process.

How Long Do Sewer Pipes Last?

The lifespan of a sewer line primarily depends on the pipe’s material. But if your sewer pipe was installed in the 70s and has not been subject to any maintenance, chances are you may need sewer pipe repair, maintenance, or retrofitting services within the next decade. It is probably time to hire a sewer and drain cleaning company to inspect your sewer line and implement necessary measures to clear and prevent clogs.

Clay pipes last anywhere between 50 and 100 years, while cast iron sewer pipes last between 75 and 100 years. PVC and ABC sewer piping can last up to 100 years. But does it mean these pipes last that long? Not really. But it is the best estimate experts make for each material in ideal conditions.

Also Read: Sewer Line Repair: Which Method is the Best?

Sewer Line Repair the Trenchless Way

Sewer Pipe Preventive Maintenance:

How to Keep Sewer Pipes in Good Shape

Sewer backups and overflows are inconvenient and costly. Here are a few preventive maintenance tips for keeping your sewer line and plumbing pipes working consistently.

  • Limit the food you drain down the kitchen drain line. Keep fibrous/stringy food (like potato peel and corn husks), FOG (fats, oils, grease), coffee grounds, eggshells, and starchy foods (like pasta, potatoes, and rice) away from your kitchen drain.
  • Avoid flushing sanitary napkins, paper towels, diapers down your toilet.
  • Tend to your roots. If roots tend to penetrate your sewer pipe, have a reputable sewer and drain cleaning company clear the line at least yearly.
  • Use soda and vinegar solution to dissolve clog-causing grease in your drain line.
  • Install a bathroom sink/tub hair catcher to keep hair from washing down your shower drain.
  • Have a trustworthy plumbing professional inspect your sewer line regularly to catch minor issues before they escalate into costly complications.

Sewer Pipe Replacement:

Replace Exposed Sewer Pipes When You Want, Buried Pipes When You Must

The possibility of replacing your sewer pipe will depend on the age of your home, the length of your occupancy, and how your household members consume water and treat the drains.

For better water flow and quality, you might hire a professional plumbing contractor to replace sections of your sewer line. The best candidates for replacement are the exposed lengths. It is often difficult to access the hidden areas, but you have no choice but to dig them up in the event ruptures, corrosions, or leaks occur along those lengths.

Related: Sewer Line Repair vs Replacement

5 Tips to Choose the Right Plumbing and Sewer Pipe

Picking the piping material can be overwhelming, especially if you have little to no previous plumbing experience. To help you make more informed decisions, your trusted Southern California plumbing pros at Gallegos Plumbing bring you five tips to choose the most suitable sewer and plumbing pipes for your home.

1. Evaluate the Quality

It is tempting to compromise on the quality when pursuing the best deals on plumbing and sewer pipes. But this could do more harm than good to your plumbing system. Whereas it is advisable to compare prices, it is wise to conduct a bit of research. Check the best pipe in the market, as well as the track record of the manufacturers. Consider manufacturers that adhere to the industry standards for quality and endurance.

Generally, the quality of plumbing pipes is discernible from a manufacturer’s warranty guarantee, general brand reputation, and regulatory approval and certification.

2. Opt for Easy-to-Install Pipes

Installation is an essential aspect of any plumbing project in terms of time and labor investment. Cumbersome pipes are costly to transport and install. As such, go for lightweight pipes that are easy to install.

3. Prioritize Durability over Price

At Gallegos Plumbing, we advise homeowners to purchase solid and resilient pipes that serve long without issues. Whereas mediocre models may cost less, they may cost you a ton of money in the long term. They are highly susceptible to damage and may stall your plumbing project.

4. Corrosion-Resistance

When selecting sewer and plumbing pipes, pay attention to their corrosion resistance. Poor quality pipes are likely to corrode and hamper water and wastewater flow. Pipes vulnerable to corrosion can compromise water quality, putting you and your loved one at risk of severe health issues. With that in mind, choose CPVC, PP, PVC, and other chemical and corrosion-resistant pipes.

5. Check for “Lead-Free”

To ensure overall hygiene and prevent water contamination, choose lead-free pipes, especially if you intend to transport drinking water. Lead is a toxic metal. It can accumulate in the body, causing cardiovascular problems, kidney malfunction, and reproductive problems in adults. In children, lead can cause behavioral issues, learning problems, slowed growth, anemia, and lower IQ.

Sewer and Drain Cleaning Company Near Me

Sewer and drain works pose several safety issues and hence require excellent skills and specialty. That is why you should trust a licensed, insured, and experienced plumbing contractor to service your drain and sewer pipes.

Gallegos Plumbing is a leading choice for drain and sewer services for residential and commercial properties in Ventura County. We guarantee maximum customer satisfaction, fair prices, and 24/7 plumbing services. Trust our experience to inspect your sewer and drain pipes and implement the necessary measures. To schedule a consultation with a Gallegos Plumbing technician, please call (805) 243-2622 now or contact our plumbing experts online today.

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