Should I Replace My Clay Sewer Pipes?

Denver and its suburbs contain nearly 2,000 miles of plumbing pipes. Roughly 10% of those pipes are over 100 years old and made of vitrified clay.

Used in plumbing for over 6,000 years, vitrified clay pipes are relatively common in Denver and throughout Colorado. If your home or sewer system was built before 1975, chances are it still uses the original clay plumbing pipes.

You probably don’t think about your sewer system too often. But a little foresight goes a long way toward preventing unexpected, costly repairs. Cracked or leaking clay pipes could cost over $10,000 to replace — not to mention the added expense of repairing any damage to your home.

How do I know if I have clay pipes?

Before you call in a plumber near you, consider the age of your home. In 1975, changes to the city’s plumbing code required new sewage systems to use alternatives, like PVC or ABS pipes. If you’re living in a home built after 1975, you likely won’t have to worry. Clay pipes aren’t installed in new homes.

The easiest way to determine what type of pipes you have is with a video pipe inspection. We offer video sewer pipe inspections in Denver using state-of-the-art equipment for an affordable price.

Should I replace my clay pipes?

Yes — and the sooner, the better. Clay pipes, especially those dating back to the early 1900s, are fragile and porous, making them a major target for tree roots seeking water and nutrients.

Clay pipes present an array of problems. Not only are they more susceptible to tree root intrusion, but their looser fittings are more likely to cause leaks. Erosion and soil settlement can also put pressure on the pipes, causing them to collapse. Every year, hundreds of Denver homeowners experience these and other problems due to their clay pipe systems.

Even if they’re functioning fine now, clay pipes will need replacing eventually. The average lifespan of a clay pipe sewer system is 60 years — which means an upgrade is decades overdue for many Denver homes. For your peace of mind, have your sewer pipes inspected and replaced before a major problem occurs.

Remember, you’re responsible for maintaining and replacing all sewer pipes that connect from your home to the public sewer line.

What type of pipe is best for replacing clay pipes?

PVC and ABS are the best alternatives to clay sewer pipes. Both types have different uses as well as their own pros and cons.

Ideal for indoor plumbing, PVC pipes are lightweight, relatively inexpensive, and last well over 100 years as long as they’re maintained. They’re also highly resistant to tree root intrusion and erosion. Plus, their inner lining allows for optimal water flow and prevents the build-up of bacteria and toxins. Installing PVC pipes requires the use of a special primer in addition to the cement that connects each pipe.

A good choice for underground plumbing, ABS pipes are thicker, more rigid, and resistant to extreme temperatures. ABS pipes contain BPA while PVC pipes don’t. BPA is commonly used to harden plastic and make it more durable. ABS pipes are easier to install than PVC pipes, since they don’t require a primer. However, they’re also more susceptible to cracking and warping. Often, local plumbing codes will dictate what is used in your home.

Need to replace your clay pipes? Contact Golden West, the trusted name in Denver sewer pipe installation

We’ve replaced countless clay pipes for the homeowners of Denver. Whether you’re concerned about potential problems down the road, or you require an emergency repair, Golden West is standing by, ready to respond to all your sewer repair needs!