Mar 16, 2023
What is Orangeburg Piping and Why You Should Replace It
If your home was built between 1945 and 1972, your sewer pipe system may be made of Orangeburg pipe. Originally crafted in Orangeburg, NY, it became popular because it’s cheap and was meant to last for over 50 years. Unfortunately for homeowners, only the “cheap” part has proven true.
We’ll explain what Orangeburg pipe is, how to identify it in your home, and what you can do if you have it.
What is Orangeburg Pipe?
Orangeburg piping is made by combining wood fibers and asbestos fibers with bitumen (asphalt, which is made from petroleum). During World War II, when supplies of iron and steel were redirected to the war effort, home builders needed alternate materials for plumbing pipes.
Bituminous fiber pipes had been around since the 1800s. In Orangeburg, NY, manufacturers started mass-producing these pipes. Thus, Orangeburg pipes came to be. They were so cheap and easy to mass produce that for decades after the war, builders kept using them for homes.
The problem with Orangeburg pipes is that they’re extremely weak and fragile. Instead of lasting for 50 years, most Orangeburg pipes wear down and start to disintegrate within 30 years. This is because they’re little more than tar-coated cardboard.
Is Orangeburg Pipe Dangerous?
Because of how they’re made, Orangeburg pipes absorb water. And if you know anything about paper and water, you know that’s not a strong, long-lasting combination. They’re also extremely weak, and therefore highly susceptible to the weight of the soil on top of them. It’s not uncommon for tree roots to penetrate Orangeburg piping.
If your home has Orangeburg piping, you might notice random depressions in your lawn, clogs in your sewer line, stinky sewer smells in your home, constantly backed-up toilets, or a complete collapse of your home’s entire plumbing system. This can lead to sewage and/or gas leaking into the soil around your house – or coming up into your home.
How to Identify Failing Orangeburg Pipes
Orangeburg pipes are buried underground, so they can be hard to spot. If your home was built before 1980, check the paperwork. Do you have documents from the previous homeowner? If not, try checking your town’s records.
Lacking documentation, look for the signs listed above:
- Constant toilet backups
- Stinky sewer smell in your home
- Random indentations in your yard
- An unusually high number of clogged drains
- Your neighbors have had Orangeburg pipes
When in doubt, call a pro like CroppMetcalfe. We have the tools and expertise needed to identify Orangeburg pipes in and around your home, and we will work with you to find a solution.
The Importance of Orangeburg Pipe Replacement
As a homeowner, we know you’d rather not deal with replacing all of the pipes in and around your home. However, we also know that waiting until your Orangeburg pipes cause a plumbing emergency is even less appealing.
If you suspect you have Orangeburg pipes, call us right away to schedule an appointment. We’ll let you know whether or not your house was built with Orangeburg pipes, and what you can do now to avoid costly repairs in the future. At CroppMetcalfe, we believe in “better safe than sorry,” and that means looking for – and fixing – problems before they happen.
Repair & Replacement Methods
The hands-down best method for replacing your Orangeburg pipes is trenchless technology. This method avoids the costly and labor-intensive method of excavating the pipes, which will then require you to replace the affected areas of your lawn.
Trenchless technology works in 2 ways:
- Cured-in-place-pipe-lining (CPPL). This method involves your plumber reinforcing the inner walls of your Orangeburg pipes with a combination of epoxy, resin, and fiberglass. It can usually be done in a few hours, involves zero trench digging, and can help your pipes last another 50 years. This method works only if your Orangeburg pipes are still in usable condition and haven’t yet burst or broken.
- Pipe bursting. This method uses new pipes to burst the old ones as they are replaced, doing two things at once. It’s also completely trenchless and efficient. This method is used for Orangeburg pipes that are well beyond repair and need complete replacement.
After examining your existing Orangeburg pipes for damage, your CroppMetcalfe expert will discuss your repair or replacement options.
Replacing (or repairing) your home’s pipes will not only give you peace of mind, it’ll add value to your house if it was built between 1946 and 1972. By eliminating the need for future buyers to do the replacing (or repairs) themselves, you’re increasing your home’s return on investment (ROI).
Don’t Wait – Call the Pros at CroppMetcalfe Today
Not only is CroppMetcalfe the right call for all your plumbing needs – we can replace the Orangeburg pipes in and around your home. Our technical team of experts is reliable, trustworthy, and ready to tackle your Orangeburg pipe problems today. We offer a Plumbing Service Plan that guarantees you peace of mind and quality workmanship, including priority emergency service.
Don’t wait until Orangeburg pipes have caused you thousands of dollars in damages and repairs. Call CroppMetcalfe today at 888-316-6918 or contact us through our convenient online form.