The Cast Iron Pipe Problem
If you live in a home that was built before 1975, chances are your plumbing system consists of cast iron pipes.
Cast iron pipes can corrode over time compromising their structural integrity.
It is estimated that about 76 million homes in America have cast iron pipes that must be replaced. These 76 million homes risk severe plumbing problems.
At a low estimated average of $10,000 per home, we are talking about $760 billion of damages an repairs that need to be made. This makes cast irons a massive problem for insurance companies.
What is a Cast Iron Pipe?
Cast iron pipes are a type of pipes that are have been in use for plumbing since the 17th century. They are made of Iron and due to do oxidation and sue they can slowly chip and slowly fall apart.
Common problems over the years can develop like:
- Sewer Back Up Into Home
- Roach Infestation
- Pest Infestation
- Slow Drains
- Clogged Drains
- Water Damage To Home
- Mold Growth
This and many other types of damage can come due to pipe corrosion. These issues are not minor and most of the old cast iron pipes will show some of these issues.
Cast Iron Pipes In Florida
In Florida alone, nearly two and a half million homes suffer from this problem and need urgent attention.
Although cast iron pipes have been used in many different water systems throughout the United States in the last hundred-plus years, they do deteriorate over time. In addition, they have a lifespan of only between 40 and 50 years. They can even begin to develop problems at 25 years old, depending on their certain circumstances.
Because of the salt and moisture-rich environment, Florida homes are especially susceptible to this type of pipe corrosion.
Does Insurance Cover Cast Iron Pipes?
In general cast iron damages should be covered by your insurance.
However, many residents are finding that their insurance companies are not covering costs related to water damage due to corroded plumbing. Even if the effects of water damage can be quite significant and cost upwards of $10,000-$30,000 to repair or more.
A sewer backup into the home can be particularly detrimental to your property as well as to your health because you could potentially be exposed to harsh chemical additives, bacteria, pathogens, and other harmful substances.
Water Damage Caused By Cast Iron Pipes
Water damage is the second most common type of insurance claim. Between 20-30% of all property damage is caused by water.
Ignoring a faulty plumbing pipe system is just an accident waiting to happen, and it could only be a matter of time before you are faced with having to deal with an expensive emergency due to compromised cast iron pipes.
There is an ongoing lawsuit in Florida fighting to get insurance companies to replace cast iron pipes with new pipes, and you may have a claim for damages if you have experienced monetary loss or health issues caused by water damage from corroded pipes.
For more information check out our Water Damage Restoration Guide.
In addition, if water damage goes un attended, it can lead to dangerous mold in your home. If you suspect of having mold at your home, do not neglect it.
You need to call a mold restoration company immediately, so they can help you clean up the mold.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Cast Iron Pipes?
If you had no previous knowledge that your pipes could deteriorate because they are made of cast iron, then you could have a claim.
However, insurance companies are notorious for giving lower reimbursements for cast iron claims, so be very careful. Sometimes the insurance company can take years to pay you your claim. They can even deny a claim completely, even though the policy technically covers it.
So you have to know your insurance coverage, and how to process the claim correctly.
TIP: Always hire a public adjuster for a cast iron pipe claim
Because of how many claims are denied, there is a class-action lawsuit that has been filed. Because so many people have experienced the cast iron problem, insurance companies are scrambling to stem the tide of claims and minimize their losses.
There are policies now that are excluding cast iron coverage, so make sure you understand your policy.
To top it off many policy rates are increasing, and providing minimal stop-gap coverage.
Always have a public adjuster explain to you your policy and your coverage before you start a claim.
They are instead framing policyholder claims as fraudulent and using that to justify the denial of claims.
You can be left holding the bill even though you should be covered.
Policyholders have oftentimes been awarded insurance payouts 3 times higher than those without representation.
Contact us as Total Care Restoration for an estimate on the water damage. We will be happy to guide you and help protect your rights as a consumer.
Get A Second Opinion
If your insurance company has sent a plumber or hired an engineer to go to your home and evaluate your property, it is in your best interest to get a second opinion. If you have experienced minor leaks, or have seen rusty pipes, dimpling, discoloration or flaking on your pipes, then there is a good chance that they are corroding.
The inevitable remedy will be to replace them so that you can be sure they will not be causing water damage in your home. If you think that your pipes are corroded, the best thing is to hire a professional. You need to get an expert assessment of the situation.
How Can You Tell If You Have A Cast Iron Pipe
If you have any of the following you may have a cast iron pipe that is causing a problem:
- Bad smell that you can’t tell where it is coming from
- Frequent Backups
How Much Does It Cost To Replace?
You should know that if you have a cast iron problem is not going to be cheap.
Replacing a cast iron pipe without water damage will be much cheaper. However, most people realize they have a problem when it is already too late.
Replacing all of the plumbing in a 1,500 square foot home could cost between $8,000 and $10,000.
However, this doesn’t include water damage done to your property which could add another $10,000 – $30,000.
In addition, if you have water damage you will need to rebuild whatever parts of your home had water damage. This could add another $5,00 to $15,000.
So as you can see fixing a cast iron problem completely can cost you anywhere from $8,000 to $50,000
Our friends at Hernandez Plumbing can do an inspection to find out if you have a cast iron pipe that is corroding.
With this type of work it is extremely important that you use a license plumber with experience. This is not a simple job and it requires very technical knowledge.
In most cases, cast iron sewer pipes should last 75 years in a residential application. In commercial applications, the lifespan of cast iron drain pipes is 30-50 years.
Contact us, at Total Care Restoration for an unbiased opinion. If you didn’t know that there is was a problem with your pipes, then you could have a claim.
Nearly 40% of Florida homes have a cast iron pipe issue.
So it pays to find out now, rather than later, if your home has an issue.
Was Your Home Built Before 1975?
If you have insurance, your policy might cover the replacement of your old plumbing.
Contact us for a free consultation. We have helped many clients with their water damage cause by cast iron pipes in Miami and all over South Florida.