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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Fredericksburg, VA
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    885

    Default Cast Iron Fittings

    The 1985 house I inspected today had cast iron DWV pipes. All the connections I was able to see were made with flexible rubber couplings. Waste lines as well as venting. That's something I've not seen. Some repairs or connecting plastic to old cast iron yes, I've seen those. I did not see any evidence of leaking. Is this something with which to be concerned?

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    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Cast Iron Fittings

    Were the joints hubbed with a rubber gasket in place of the lead oakum joint? Or was it rubber couplings as in hose clamps with metal shields? The rubber donut is normal for pushing the fitting/pipe into the hubs instead of pouring a hot lead joint. The second picture is of what they call no-hub pipe, and its all joined with the rubber couplings. Which is normal as well, just needs a little more support than a normal hub pipe system


    do-multi-tite.jpgold-castiron.preview.jpg


  3. #3
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    Sep 2007
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    Fredericksburg, VA
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    885

    Default Re: Cast Iron Fittings

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Hasil View Post
    Were the joints hubbed with a rubber gasket in place of the lead oakum joint? Or was it rubber couplings as in hose clamps with metal shields? The rubber donut is normal for pushing the fitting/pipe into the hubs instead of pouring a hot lead joint. The second picture is of what they call no-hub pipe, and its all joined with the rubber couplings. Which is normal as well, just needs a little more support than a normal hub pipe system


    do-multi-tite.jpgold-castiron.preview.jpg

    The rubber coupling in the second picture is the type used. I haven't seen cast iron DWV in any house in this area built since the late 50's or very early 60's. Perhaps the original buyer of the house wanted CI and willing to pay for it.
    Thanks

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
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    4,549

    Default Re: Cast Iron Fittings

    Do you know where I've seen that? In highrise condo units. It is about fire safety. ABS or PVC will spread a fire up to the next floor where the iron pipe won't. Maybe what this guy was thinking, or maybe he brought stuff home from the construction job? Did he have a big lunchbox?

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Cast Iron Fittings

    The big advantage of using cast iron is noise. PVC you can hear the water run through it. Cast iron you can not. No-Hub cast iron is a little more than the cost of PVC in material cost, labor wise it is quicker so cost less to install.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Bennett (Denver metro), Colorado
    Posts
    1,394

    Default Re: Cast Iron Fittings

    I've seen this occasionally. I've never seen any problems with it in this use.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Mexico
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    1,258

    Default Re: Cast Iron Fittings

    I did a vertical drop with cast iron for noise reduction a few years ago in our remodel. We did it the way you are talking about with the no-hub connector. I would bet it was done for the noise reduction reasons.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,252

    Default Re: Cast Iron Fittings

    I've inspected many high-rise buildings, all with cast iron no-hub (hubless) ends and the Fernco fittings.

    The main problem with cast iron is that it is brittle and cracks easily, and the cracks are so small that only a proper water test reveals them (unless you are an experienced plumber and then you can tell the difference in the sound a piece with a crack in it makes from a piece which is not cracked, either by laying it on the concrete slab or tapping it with a screwdriver - the ring sound is definitely different).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Posts
    885

    Default Re: Cast Iron Fittings

    I had to go back to the house in question today to pick up a Radon monitor. I got a chance to talk to the husband of the seller. The seller's first husband (deceased) built the house on weekends, holidays, and vacations with the help of friends. Seems he was a union mechanical guy who was always bringing home "discarded" supplies from work. That helps explain the CI and a lot of coupled short pieces. Also, it helps explain why there was no insulation in the basement, siding was installed down to roof surfaces, and various holes were cut in the foundation wall to feed firewood to a large CI/steel wood stove; why almost all the neutrals in 2 service panels were doubled or tripled up; an okay but highly unusual porch construction method, no rain caps on chimney flues, welded heavy aluminum duct and plenum pieces, and no windows in the basement (foundation vents only).

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,549

    Default Re: Cast Iron Fittings

    Yep, big lunchbox, and I'll bet he liked the old Johnny Cash song.

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    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    89

    Default Re: Cast Iron Fittings

    Three months after my inspection, a client's main cast iron drain line collapsed, backed up and flooded his entire crawlspace. He tried to get me to pay for repairs but I easily proved to him that the problem had been underground where inspections were impossible. He finally gave up a month later. After that I have a stock statement in my reports on homes older than 1980 that the main drain line may be cast iron and that a plumber should check it out. That statement protected me years later against 4 more clients that later attempted the same repairs collection from me.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    869

    Default Re: Cast Iron Fittings

    In my neck of the woods (NYC), no hub pipe (hubless) with no hub clamps is all that you see (in newer construction, including commercial) and is standard. Fernco clamps are usually used between dissimilar materials. In 1-2 Family houses PVC is now legal for sanitary.

    The oddity is that on Staten Island, even though code allows for no hub pipe/fittings, the AHJ insists upon hubbed pipe below ground. Everywhere else no hub is fine.

    Last edited by Steven Turetsky; 05-25-2013 at 08:57 AM.
    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314
    homeinspectionsnewyork.com
    eifsinspectionsnewyork.com

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