Clay pipes should be thought of as a thing of the past, and for a lot of people, they already are. All new homes built today do not incorporate clay pipes because there’s a newer, more effective option that also happen to be more affordable. Clay pipes are still a concern for some homeowners with property that pre-dates the 1980s, when it was still used in residential construction, before the plastic and copper options that are so popular today entered the market.
What homeowners might not know is that living with clay pipes is a real liability. If they are not busted or ineffectual yet, they will be in no time. Why is that? Here are a few reasons why clay piping has been phased out of use in residential and municipal plumbing and sewage infrastructure:
• They’re not airtight or watertight. Even from the first day of instillation, clay pipes have not been airtight, which means, of course, that they have not been watertight either. If a homeowner with clay pipes is not pulling their hair yet, then Lord knows what will make them do so. Clay pipes were installed using very basic system of extension: the narrow end would slide into the wider end, and it would be ‘sealed’ by the plumber with a ring of concrete mortar. These joints would hold the whole system together, but they were not airtight or watertight.
• So did this do the trick? Not at all. What would happen is that moisture would slowly creep out of the piping as the days went by, and guess what needs water to grow? Trees. This is the reason why root infestation has always been an issue with clay piping. Root infestation refers to the predominance of tree roots growing over the clay piping and busting through it in search of more water.
Part of the reason why it’s so predominant is that clay piping came in 3-inch sections, which meant there were a lot of joints over a relatively short distance, and a lot more space in which roots could grow.
Luckily enough there are a number of drain cleaning services that can take care of this issue, and what a professional plumbing company will do is replace clay piping with PVC (a thermoplastic substance that is air tight and water tight). A popular method of inserting PVC piping is the torpedo method, in which a crack is made in the existing clay pipe that is large enough for the PVC.
Clay is at risk of collapsing. Partly because it is not built with the molecular strength of PVC plastics, clay is simply not as able to withstand a lot of weight over many years, and once cracking has set in, the likelihood of collapse increases quite dramatically.
These are only a few of the reasons why clay piping is ineffectual. It’s wise for a homeowner to invest in PVC piping now so as to avoid costly leaks and damages in the future.