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Waste Pipes: Hole Repair Not Needed

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: A tiny hole in a waste pipe could be equaling a big problem for Isabelle in New York who listens to The Money Pit on WABC. How can we help you?

    ISABELLE: I have a question regarding the main waste pipe that is visible in our basement. Our house was built in 1950 and there seems to be a pinprick hole and we don’t know whether this can be patched or whether the hole pipe has to be replaced.

    TOM: Is this one of the old cast iron pipes?

    ISABELLE: I guess that’s what it is, yes.

    TOM: Usually cast iron has no holes or big cracks.

    ISABELLE: No, this is a tiny – it looks like there – you can see that liquid has dripped from it but we don’t see actual water coming out of it.

    TOM: Does it look like – almost like shiny; like there’s a stain on the pipe?

    ISABELLE: Yes, that’s it.

    TOM: OK, that’s not a leak. When you assemble cast iron pipes, the joints are packed with a material that oil in it. And sometimes the oil will leak out and it will drip down the pipe and it looks like a leak but it’s not. Waste pipes are designed not to be pressurized and when they’re assembled properly the water just drips right down the pipe and out. If you get a backup sometimes you’ll get a leak. But if you’re seeing that sort of oily stain on the pipe that’s not a leak. That’s normal and it has to do with the way the pipe is assembled and what was packed in the joint and there’s nothing to worry about there.

    ISABELLE: OK, great. Well thank you so much.

    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

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