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The Dark Side Of Orangeburg Pipes

Orangeburg pipe in Spokane, WA

It might surprise you to learn that there are dozens of different types of plumbing pipes. They are made from a variety of materials and come in different shapes and sizes. They also have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. With over 20 years of experience, team Mainstream has seen it all. Our plumbing experts can take one look at a pipe and provide you with a host of information. The effect it has on your water quality, its durability, and its lifespan make up the most important factors associated with your plumbing pipes. Knowing what types of pipes are running through your home is essential to the health of your plumbing system. If your home relies on a problematic pipe like Orangeburg, you’ll want to know this information sooner rather than later.

The History Of Orangeburg Piping

The aptly named Orangeburg pipe gets its name from the town in New York where it was first produced. These pipes mainly consist of wood fibers, making them lightweight. Up until the 1970s, Orangeburg was a very popular pipe material, especially in the Pacific Northwest. Iron shortages during the second world war resulted in the desperate need for an alternative. Orangeburg was able to fill a much needed gap, and because it was inexpensive to produce, it remained prevalent in the decades following the war. Although it has a lifespan of up to 50 years, most Orangeburg pipes don’t last that long. Many Spokane homes’ sewer lines consist of this pipe material and it’s crucial that homeowners be made aware of this fact. If the Orangeburg pipes on your property were installed in the 1970s, their expiration date is fast approaching.

The Problem With Orangeburg Piping

The biggest problem with Orangeburg is its composition. This pipe consists mainly of wood pulp, which is then sealed by tar. This makes it lightweight and easy to handle. At the same time, this type of plumbing pipe is very fragile and can easily collapse under pressure. Orangeburg pipes also absorb moisture and are prone to bubbling. When this happens, the pipe’s shape can become distorted and obstruct the flow of water. As you can see, Orangeburg pipes have almost nothing but drawbacks. Symptoms of Orangeburg on its last legs include slow draining around the house, visible indentations in your yard, constant toilet back-ups, and even sinkholes in your foundation. If you notice any of these signs and suspect your home relies on Orangeburg pipes, contact a professional for a thorough inspection as soon as possible. A complete sewer line collapse could be just around the corner.

Orangeburg pipe in Spokane, WA

What A Professional Plumber Can Do

A professional plumbing outfit like Mainstream makes use of state of the art technology to identify plumbing problems. Our plumbers have the equipment and expertise to conduct sewer camera inspections, giving you accurate, real-time information. If the plumbing pipes under your home consist of Orangeburg, you’ll know within minutes. This non-invasive method allows our plumbers to take a close look at your drain pipes without the need for excavation. With a camera inspection, we’ll be your eyes and ears. If we find Orangeburg down there, it’s likely very old and rapidly deteriorating. You will need to have your sewer line replaced. Fortunately, there is a minimally invasive alternative when it comes to pipe replacement as well. Mainstream avoids the need to dig up your entire yard by using a method called trenchless sewer replacement. To remove your Orangeburg pipes and replace them with a more durable alternative, our plumbing team will perform “pipe bursting.” This trenchless sewer replacement method is as simple as its name suggests. Two holes are dug at both ends before an expander head is dragged through the existing Orangeburg pipe. Because the steel head has a slightly greater diameter, it will burst the old pipe and push its fragments into the soil. The brand new pipe follows closely behind and literally replaces the old as it’s traveling underground. To finish the procedure, the new sewer line is simply reconnected at both ends.

If you’re living in an older home, you could well be using Orangeburg pipes without knowing it. Reach out today and we’ll give you a straight answer before sundown. Mainstream has been providing 5-star plumbing and drain service to Spokane County and Northern Idaho for over 20 years. When you need your Orangeburg pipes replaced, you can count on us. Be smart, choose the company with heart!

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