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A Closer Look at the Problem of Sewer Line Corrosion

broken-sewer-pipeThe sewer line that connects the drains of your plumbing system to the municipal sewer line that runs down the center of the street is one of the most important parts of your household plumbing. Of course, it’s not actually inside the house itself and it’s entirely hidden from your sight down in a trench. This pipe is built to endure for decades without trouble, but many sewer lines are over 50 years old and made from out-of-date material such as cast iron and galvanized steel. This puts the pipeline in serious danger of corrosion, leading to leaks and breaks.

A damaged pipeline jeopardizes the sewer system of house and can mean catastrophic problems. You need to have professionals repair, and in most cases, replace the sewer line if it’s suffering from corrosion.

How Corrosion Can Affect the Pipeline

Corrosion isn’t a single process. There are different types of corrosion that can weaken a sewer pipeline. Iron and steel pipes are the most prone to needing replacement because of corrosion. Copper is the preferred metal today. Although it is corrosion resistant, it’s not completely corrosion-proof. Here are some of the types of corrosion that can ruin a sewer line:

  • Erosion: This type of corrosion happens because of a corrosive liquid within the pipe that starts to wear away the inner lining. This is the fastest way toward a pipe starting to leak. Unfortunately, many corrosive materials found in cleaning solutions go down these pipes. (And this is one of the reasons we tell people never to use liquid drain cleaners: they can easily create corrosion in drains and the sewer line.)
  • Pitting corrosion: This is the type of corrosion that may affect copper lines. It creates what is often known as “pinhole leaks” and is hard to detect. Over time, enough pitting corrosion can create serious problems.
  • Galvanic corrosion: A reaction between two different types of metal can trigger corrosion in the less corrosion-resistant of the two.

Dealing with Corrosion

Prevention is the best way to deal with corrosion in a sewer line before it causes major problems. If your home was built before 1970, we recommend you arrange for a pipeline inspection with professionals. The plumbers will use a special video pipe inspection camera that goes into a clean-out and can stretch the entire length of the pipe. The camera at the end of the long fiber-optic cable sends back images to a monitor, where a plumber can analyze the length of the sewer line and find areas of corrosion, as well as spot any other problems.

If an older pipe is starting to corrode, a full replacement is the best solution: steel and iron pipes should be replaced with corrosion-resistant copper. For copper pipes that had pitting corrosion, the problem can sometimes be fixed with a smaller repair. Let your plumbers help you find the best solution to ensure you have a strong sewer line.

To schedule a pipeline inspection in Orlando, FL to see if your sewer line is suffering corrosion and needs to be either repaired or replaced, contact us. We offer complete drain and sewer line services throughout Central Florida.

Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc. has been proudly serving Central Florida since 1975.

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