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Cast Iron Pipe Tips and Suggestions

Cast Iron Pipe Tips and Suggestions

Cast iron pipe is really easy to install. I have installed it myself on several recent jobs. You really only need two tools to install this fine material: a snap cutter and a small torque wrench. The snap cutter is an interesting tool. There are two types of cutters, both of which cut cast iron pipe by snapping it in two. The cutter has carbide cutting wheels that are attached in between the links of a chain. The wheels surround the pipe at the point where you want it cut. You apply pressure to the cutter with your arms and BINGO, the pipe snaps in two very cleanly.

Assembly of the pipe is even easier. The pipe and fittings are attached to one another by using rubber gaskets that slide over the ends of the pipe. The gaskets have small ridges on the inside to firmly grasp and seal the pipe. A large stainless steel band completes the installation. This clamp slides completely over the rubber gasket and squeezes it firmly against the pipe. When the clamps are installed properly and tightened according to the manufacturer's recommendations, the joints absolutely will not leak. Since the clamps are made of stainless steel, moisture, salt spray, etc. will not affect them.

Weight Considerations

Cast iron is a heavy material. It needs to be supported adequately so that it does not fall. Homeowners or non-professional plumbers who try to do their own installations often do not install adequate supports when installing drain piping. This is especially true of plastic PVC piping. They feel how light the pipe is and feel that they only need to support the weight of the pipe.This is where they make a mistake. What they fail to take into consideration is the weight of the pipe when it is filled with water! Drainage pipes can readily fill with water for two reasons: clogs or temporary filling due to large discharge amounts of water from multiple fixtures. I have seen a small 1 1/2 inch branch line from a kitchen sink completely fill with water when a standard double bowl sink was drained. Recently, I relocated my kitchen sink drain line. After the work was completed, I filled the sink bowls to flush the line of any small installation debris that may have found their way into the plumbing lines. Because I installed a cleanout which faced the ceiling, I was able to view the water as it rushed by. I was amazed to see the entire pipe fill with water as the plugs were pulled from both sinks.

You may choose to use this information to help you keep your drain lines clear. I do this once a week. I fill both sinks with water and pull the plugs! Flush a toilet or two at the same time if you wish to really clear your entire sewer line. If the plumbing system is sized correctly and you have no obstructions, you will not cause any harm to your system.

Column B380


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