Plumbing history Q


Old 01-28-19, 10:29 AM
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Plumbing history Q

Thought I would ask the pros what they think on this.

One of the prime class-action ambulance chasers down here is currently running an ad spot and the gist of the ad runs like this, almost verbatim:

"If your home was built before 1975 it was built with cast iron pipes that are corroding beneath your feet". Goes on to urge you to use them to sue your insurance company for a repipe, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Question: Cast iron pipes?

Just curious.
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Old 01-28-19, 10:53 AM
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My first guess is that they would be happy to help for a $500 consulting fee.

True, most houses built before then use cast iron drain pipes underground. Cast Iron generally is considered to have an ~80 year lifespan... so I'd imagine most houses in South Florida are still within that lifespan. Plus, I'm not sure why any insurance company would pay out on a good product.

But hey, everyone needs to make money somehow!
Old 01-28-19, 11:05 AM
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I have no experience with that particular case but my suspicion would be that it is about one of two things:

1) They will want a fee and the money they hope to make will all come from you.
2) They have figured out an angle to extort money from insurance companies. I say extort because let's face it, your insurance company had nothing to do with your pipes.

So the question remains, can you make any money on the second event above.

In my experience, the only people that make any real money on class action lawsuits are the lawyers. The only exceptions to these is in the event of mass deaths or disabilities. The reason no real money is made by the plaintiffs themselves, is that these are all about a quick money extortion. BOTH the lawyers for the plaintiffs and the defendants know how much money this case will take to settle. Basically how much does the defendant have to pay the plaintiff's lawyers to go away. It will be a ratio of the total suit but in the end, the lawyers will make a few million and the plaintiffs will get 2 to 3 times that DIVIDED by the number of plaintiffs, that usually brings the net amount to a few bucks for each person. Doubt it would even pay for a dinner at McDonalds.
Old 01-28-19, 11:10 AM
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"ambulance chaser" is right! By that logic you should sue for old lead paint, asbestos duct insulation and pink bathrooms!
It's buyer beware unless the seller lied about the house in the sale.
Old 01-28-19, 01:56 PM
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On a finer point of the question, I know cast iron has been used in drain piping, but pressure piping? The way the ad copy reads, they are talking pressure side. That was what initially caught my attention. I'm familiar with iron pipe, but CAST for other than drainage?
Old 01-28-19, 02:16 PM
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Cast iron water mains do exist, having been installed in the first part of the 20'th century. But cast iron is rare for water service line to private properties and other water customers.
Old 01-29-19, 06:03 AM
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I used to know some plumbers in central fla back in the 80s that specialized in tunneling under slabs to fix leaks and some how the homeowner's insurance usually footed the bill - I don't know why. It was always my understanding that most of their work involved copper piping.
Old 01-29-19, 09:19 AM
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Cast iron water mains do exist, having been installed in the first part of the 20'th century.

Cast iron water mains were still being installed in the early '70s, but at some point ductile iron mains took over and then eventually PVC mains. I still see cast iron mains that break that are repaired by replacing short sections with ductile iron pipe.

2) They have figured out an angle to extort money from insurance companies.

I wonder if these are home warranty companies? I have never heard of homeowner insurance coverage that would pay to replace/repair anything in a house with a normal lifespan unless maybe the life had been shortened by some kind of storm, fire or natural disaster.
Old 01-29-19, 09:58 AM
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My educated guess;

A) Somebody won a small-claims-court case, or County/Parish Court case about rusted-out cast iron being hid by a seller. That was appealed and upheld, and seller or home-warranty company had to pay out.

B) Somewhere a municipality REQUIRED the installation of cast iron pipe 80 years ago; then tried to make homeowners pay for cast iron laterals beyond their property line- quick guess that court held that municipality knew pipes had 80 year lifespan and got greedy by trying to force homeowners to pay to replace case iron laterals that were really the municipality's responsibility.

C) It's the lawyer version of-THAT-mechanic and garage that posts all recent recalls in order to build their business.

Last edited by Hal_S; 01-29-19 at 10:37 AM.
Old 01-29-19, 10:40 PM
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In a few years, that guy will be saying that your house may be plumbed with PEX and you should sue. There are too many lawyers with not enough to do, so they go looking for this crap.

And, fwiw, ductile IS cast-iron. It's been heated to a point where it becomes molecularly less brittle.

All the cast-iron I've installed will almost certainly out-last me, but nothing lasts forever (except lawyers looking for something to do). It's great pipe.
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