Not a fancy topic but an important one! If you own a home/or want to own home in Philadelphia or the Suburbs pay attention.
Older homes in this area were built with cast iron sewer and drain lines. If you look in an unfinished basement they are usually the two large pipes riding along the bottom of the wall. Why are these important? Basically what they do is one carries out your rain water and the other carries out your sewage and used water. These pipes run throughout your house in areas you may not be able to see them and out to the street. You may even have PVC exposed piping then at the walls there is a black coupling which connects to cast iron once you get in the wall. I rarely have seen a home without some cast iron in it.
You are responsible for those pipes out to the street!
If you have these pipes in your house they are most likely decades old. Unless they have been properly maintained they are probably deteriorating even where you cannot see. These are usually one of the ticking time bombs I see when showing homes, buying homes myself, or going over inspection reports. They can be tens of thousands to replace. Think if these pipes run from the back to the street outside your house what you would have to tear up to get to these pipes and replace them. If outside your yard/sidewalk is getting torn up. I had a client who told me in the past had dealt with this issue. The pipes ran under their den which had to get torn up, then the concrete floor of the den, all in they said it was a 30k expense. If you do not have the necessary insurance you most likely will not be covered by general home insurance. Usually I hear the expense is 10-15k to replace them but it could be more.
The picture on the left is the back of a basement where PVC pipes have been connected to the cast iron pipes. On the right is a split cast iron pipe which can be patched but will need to be replace eventually. These are from an inspection report of a home I almost bought.
How can we fix the pipe issue?
Not everyone has 10-15k or more to go and replace pipes after buying a house. When I originally bought my first house I had a really hard time finding anyone to insure these pipes for me. I got a rider from Erie Insurance which is additional insurance and only covers me I believe up to 10 or 15k in the even these need to be fixed. It is raised my insurance a lot also.
A new insurance however come to market a few years ago called American Water Resources. From talking with them they informed me they will insure the pipes for an unlimited amount. So if the pipes rupture and it costs 30k to replace them it will be covered. There are two different plans on to cover the drain and sewer line.
The water and sewer line protection together is only 7.98! I think that is an amazing deal which removes the burden of worrying about when these pipes will go. When I bought my first house this insurance didn't exist and I called 20 different companies trying to insure them.
Here is the link below to the plans (just make sure you put in your specific zip code):
I always think insurance and inspection are the two best ways to spend money! These repairs happen but they can be small problems when you have the right insurance.