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Orangeburg Piping: Plumbing's Past Practices Should Be Replaced


In the late 1800s, getting metal piping for your property’s plumbing would be both expensive and impressive. To make plumbing more affordable, a new method was devised to make pipes: Orangeburg plumbing, named after Orangeburg, New York where it began.

Rather than relying on metal formed into pipes, Orangeburg pipes are created by mixing wood pulp with hot tar or pitch, which acts as a binding agent. By being compressed together and allowed to cool, the wood and pitch harden into a relatively durable pipe. Imagine soaking a newspaper in water and wadding it as tightly as you can — this is essentially the process for making Orangeburg pipes.

As you can predict, though, compressed paper is not highly water resistant and does not last very long. On average, Orangeburg plumbing begins to crack, bend, leak, and otherwise fail in as little as 25 years, with the longest lifespan being set around 50 years. Water running through a plumbing system gradually wears away at the Orangeburg pipes, rendering them unusable.

Why Does Your Home Have Orangeburg Pipes?

If Orangeburg pipes are clearly inferior to metal or PVC pipes, then why would it be that your home has it in its drain and sewer systems? World War II demanded as much scrap metal as possible to create rifles, bullets, aircrafts, etc., triggering a nationwide iron shortage. After the war ended, Orangeburg piping saw a resurgence due to its immediate availability. Thus, many properties built between 1945 and about 1972 have Orangeburg plumbing instead of better and more durable alternative materials.

What Should You Do About Your Orangeburg Plumbing?

Have you found out that your home has Orangeburg pipes running throughout its plumbing system? The first thing you should do is call a plumber to discuss getting them replaced. Given that Orangeburg pipes will fail eventually and that they only have a maximum 50 years lifespan, it is only a matter of time until something goes very wrong with your plumbing system. If an Orangeburg pipe fails or cracks, then it could cause major flooding within your home because the sewage drain is backed up, causing extensive repairs and property damage.

If you live in Idaho Falls, you can count on Advanced Home Services for Orangeburg plumbing and sewer line replacements. Go ahead and call us at 208-745-9406 to learn more, or to schedule your service appointment.

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