Until about 1980 (when PVC was introduced to residential building), it was common for homes and commercial properties to use cast iron in the construction of their plumbing and pipe sewer systems.
Cast Iron Pipe Proves Problematic Over Time
Unfortunately, cast iron has proven to corrode over time and their failure due to corrosion and rust is inevitable. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average age of a broken water main in the United States is 47 years. This means that for homes that are 50 years or older, their pipes are getting close to their breaking point.
Under ideal conditions, cast iron has a lifespan of approximately 50-75 years, but, unfortunately because of the salt and moisture-rich environment, problems with cast iron pipes in Florida homes can start to develop at around 25 years.
There are an estimated 76 million homes nationwide that currently have cast iron pipes that need to be replaced. In Florida, there are nearly two and a half million homes and commercial properties that were built prior to 1975 and are starting to suffer from cast iron pipe deterioration and have cast iron pipes burst or failed. This failure can result in significant and extremely costly damage to the properties surrounding them.
Cast Iron Pipe Lawsuit
Between 20% and 30% of all insurance claims are for water damage. Water damage claims are also among the types most frequently denied and underpaid by insurance companies. Insurance carriers can make a bad situation worse by delaying and even denying leaky pipe or pipe burst water damage claims. Insurance carriers will often claim the alleged damage is due to simple wear and tear.
The Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA serves clients throughout Florida and across the nation. We can fight against your insurance company that has acted in bad faith or breached their obligations under your insurance policy. We can also assist you to secure funding to replace your cast iron pipes.
Contact an experienced property damage lawyer at (727) 451-6900 to discuss how we can help.
Causes of Cast Iron Pipe Failure
It’s crucial to know the know the warning signs of cast iron pipe problems on your property.
All pipe materials break down over time from many different causes. The most common cause of cast iron pipe deterioration is corrosion.
Corrosion can lead to weakened, leaky pipes which can raise water bills and slowly leak sewage into your property’s and local water supplies. This corrosion can also release rust into the water, which can cause water that is smells and tastes unpleasant, and can also pose health risks.
Over time, corrosion can eat away at piping causing it to crumble and burst under pressure. Hydrogen sulfide and other acids are common sources of corrosion, but the salt and moisture-rich environment in Florida can accelerate corrosion, causing pipes to fail prematurely.
Other Sources of Pipe Corrosion
- Clay soils and other natural conditions that cause dampness.
- Nearby construction activity
- Flushing acidic or caustic household chemicals
- The use of pesticides on soil
- Improper installation
- Acidic sewage
Signs of Cast Iron Pipe Failure
- Slow drains – rust and other sediments can clog the pipes and can result in slow drainage.
- Water backup in sinks, bathtubs and/or toilets due to rust and sediment buildup (corroded pipes leave behind a rusty stain).
- Insect infestation (silverfish and cockroaches).
- Foul or unpleasant odors from sewer gases
- Unusual water color.
- Warped or separated wood floors
- Floor tiles that are raised, loose or broken.
- Grout and floor tile that have become discolored
- Carpets, rugs or mats that are discolored or water-stained.
What are the Costs Associated with Leaky Pipes and System Failure?
If your cast iron pipes are 25 years or older, failure could come at any time. Absent of a visible water leak or damage, the best way is to have a licensed professional plumber fully evaluate your plumbing system by inspecting and documenting the condition of your pipes.
The cost to completely replace a pipe system alone in Florida ranges from $3,000 to upwards of $37,000. However, damage from leaking pipes can cost over $100,000 and therefore create a total loss of your home.
Proactive replacement of cast iron sewer pipe and plumbing systems will prevent recurring problems, toxic water contamination, extensive damage and ultimately, system failure. While removing all plumbing and replacing the entire cast iron pipe system is extremely expensive, it is sometimes the most economical. Therefore, it is in your best interest to act in advance of any problems or immediately upon discovery to prevent any possible or further damage to your home and/or property.
Does My Insurance Policy Cover the Repair or Replacement of Leaky Pipes?
Most property insurance policies may provide coverage for the replacement of your leaky pipes, but the cost to replace an entire cast iron pipe plumbing system can cost thousands of dollars so insurance companies may try to deny coverage or lowball pipe damage claims due to reasons that can include:
- Pre-existing damage
- Ordinary wear and tear
- “Water damage” exclusion
- Improper maintenance or failure to maintain
If old cast iron pipes have caused water damage in your home or business, your insurance company is required to repair or replace the pipes. If it is not possible to repair the pipes due to age, then the insurance company is required to replace and repipe the entire cast iron plumbing system.
It is important to contact an attorney experienced with cast iron pipe claims to make sure your insurance provider does what is right, under the circumstances.
Contact an Experienced Florida Cast Iron Pipe Damage Claim Attorney
Water damage claims are among the most frequently denied by insurance companies.
Was your home built before 1975? Did you file a water damage claim from failed cast iron plumbing that was denied or have you been offered a low settlement? Have you experienced water damage, but have not yet filed a claim?
An attorney experienced in cast iron pipe lawsuits at the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA can help maximize your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.
We will review your case and your insurance policy. Our attorneys will assist you in obtaining the insurance compensation you are rightfully owed. Contact the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA online today or call (727) 451-6900 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney at our law firm.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 N Belcher Rd
Clearwater, FL 33765
Phone: (727) 451-6900