You may start to notice some issues with your plumbing and yard. Constantly clogged drains, poor draining speed, uneven and ransom indentations in your lawn, bright green and lush patches of grass. These might seem like random issues, but can be telltale signs of having Orangeburg pipes.
If you have a home that was built in or before the 1970’s, there is a good chance that you have Orangeburg pipes. If you notice any of the previously mentioned issues, it might be worthwhile to make a call to a licensed plumbing team for a pipe inspection.
What Is Orangeburg Pipe?
Originating in Orangeburg New York where the pipe took its namesake, Orangeburg pipes were made out of a compressed wood pulp pipe that was sealed with tar. At the time it seemed like a very reasonable way to make pipes as World War II required the majority of cast iron materials to be taken.
However, over time it became known that Orangeburg pipes became extremely brittle. They were also very prone to absorbing moisture and becoming deformed underground. The lifespan of the pipe was estimated to be 50 years or more, but in reality most pipes were failing within 30 years.
Does Your Home Have Orangeburg Pipe?
If your home was built in or before the 1970’s, there is a chance that it has Orangeburg pipes. However, even if your home was built in this time, you can’t automatically assume it has this type of piping. Instead, you can check the paperwork for verification.
If the paperwork does not specifically say, or you cannot find any verification on the pipe used at all, you can contact a plumber to do a pipe inspection. They will dig down to inspect the exterior of the pipe, as well as use a camera to visually inspect the interior of the pipe. This inspection can quickly and definitively tell you if you have Orangeburg pipes.
Should You Replace Orangeburg Pipe?
In the end, replacing Orangeburg pipes is your best option. While it may not have happened yet, the chance of a catastrophic failure to your sewer or plumbing pipes can happen unexpectedly. This can be due to general earth pressure on the pipes, tree roots invading the pipes space, and more.
While you can have the sections of your Orangeburg pipe repaired as issues arise, the overall cost will normally add up to more than the cost of a complete system replacement depending on the frequency repairs are needed.
If a complete replacement of the system is not financially possible for you now, you may want to have a plumber inspect your pipe system on a regular basis every 6 months. They can alert you in advance to any potential trouble spots that may need preventative treatment. If this happens, there are ways to reinforce that section of pipe to hopefully prevent failure. While this is not an overall fix, it can give you more time to financially prepare for a system replacement.