Bathroom Plumbing Problems Can Stem from Older Pipes

December 10, 2015

Getting clogs in your shower is common; everyone has them from time to time. Although the most common culprit for shower clogs is hair there are other things that can contribute to your shower's susceptibility to clogs. These include plumbing codes at the time the house was built, materials used, and quality of workmanship. Although you cannot control how the home was built, understanding a little about old pipes will help you know what to do to prevent clogs.

Problems with Cast Iron and Galvanized Pipes

As recently as the 1960s, cast iron and galvanized pipes were used by plumbers for both indoor and outdoor plumbing. There are many common problems with these pipes than can affect your entire house.

Mineral Calcification

They are susceptible to mineral buildup and calcification along the interior edges. This was discovered by a homeowner who was having problems with the laundry room drains. When the old pipe was dug up, it revealed an opening about 10 mm in diameter. Lint, hair, grease, food, and everything else that tried to flow down the pipe was trapped in that small opening.

Pitted Walls

Another problem is that they tend to corrode and rust. Long before they break or develop holes, they develop pits on the inside walls. The rough surface can snag hair and other waste products. The snagged hair will form a trap and catch hair, soap scum, food particles, grease, and everything else until a solid clog is formed.

Benefits of Modern Pipes

The most common materials for pipes today are copper and PVC. These products are far superior to cast iron pipes because they are very durable. In addition, they provide a very smooth surface that does not corrode, rust, or become pitted. At some point you may want to consider replacing your older pipes with newer, better pipes.

Actions to Take in Older Homes

Until it is time to call a plumber to replace older pipes, there are things you can do to help take care of the clogs in your shower. These include the following tasks:

  • Put a strainer over the drain to catch as much hair as possible.
  • Once a week pour three or four gallons of boiling hot water down the drain. This will break up the soap scum and flush it down the line.
  • Once a month use an environmentally safe drain cleaner to dissolve any remaining grime and coat the walls to prevent future buildup from accumulating.
  • When you start to notice a slow drain use your toilet plunger to dislodge the clog before it grows.


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