07:26AM | 09/12/06
Member Since: 09/11/06
1 lifetime posts
Help! I noticed water dripping down alongside the main sewer line (the big, black, metal drain that I see in my basement which goes into the ground, not sure what the correct name of this pipe is) whenever I turn on the water in my tub, sink, or flush the toilet from my 2nd floor bathroom. I haven't noticed any water dripping from my kitchen ceiling which is directly underneath my 2nd floor bathroom. My house is over a hundred years old. Could this main drainage

pipe which I believe is cast iron be leaking somewhere? Or could there be another explanation as to where the leak is coming from? Is the only way to fix this going to involve knocking down walls to get to this pipe? Would that big pipe have to be replaced? I'm worried as I have no idea how much this is going to cost me/how involved this is going to be. I only notice the water dripping down in the basement when the water in turned on, so I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the drainage pipes.


08:57AM | 09/12/06
Member Since: 09/06/06
11 lifetime posts
Dear Ant617,

"cast iron be leaking somewhere?"...YES

"Or could there be another explanation"... possible...If you had a water supply leak you would see water all the time and the damage would be very noticeable by now. The other explanation might be, maybe the roof is leaking leak at the flashing.

"involve knocking down walls to get to this pipe?"... Not only walls but maybe floors and ceilings.

"I'm worried"... You very well should be, this might cost, you can be looking at thousands of dollars possibly 10's of thousands.

Not only will you have the repair of the plumbing system but also repairs to floors, ceilings and walls, if the job escalates to a worse case scenario. Very hard to say exactly you might luck out and the repair might just require a band aid type repair but you won't know this till you find the problem. To find the problem I would contact a sewer company or firm which has a video camera and ask them to find the problem for you. You can than access the situation more precisely. This service will more than likely cost $250 to $500 for just the video, so while they are at it have them do the entire waste system of the house including the underground portion.

The pipe you are looking at in the basement is probably the waste stack and if house is 100 plus years old it is cast iron bell and spigot system.

Good Luck,



12:54PM | 09/12/06
Member Since: 01/24/06
1548 lifetime posts
Many of the homes I service are well over a 100 years old and they do not require extensive re piping.

Lets take it SLOWLY and consider the facts you gave.

You stated it leaks when you use the toilet, basin or bath tub this does not mean the cast iron is leaking or even damaged.

A lot of the older plumbing systems used the lead bend (lead pipe) with a lead branch attached to be used for the waste of the tub and basin.

This connection is lead pipe lead wiped to a brass ferrule lead wiped into the side of a lead bend.

Any of the wiped joints could have cracked over the years especially if someone was careless with using harsh chemicals or snaking the lines to aggressively

Having worked on several hundred leaks I found most insurance companies will NOT pay for the actual plumbing repairs but they will pay for the actual time needed to locate the leak and restore all the walls and or floors that are damaged from the leak or trying to locate the leak.

Call your insurance adjuster first THEN call a licensed and insured non franchise plumbing contractor to handle the "plumbing" and call either a handyman (insured) or a general contractor to handle the walls and floor repairs and painting ,tiling etc.

Good luck
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