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Cast Iron Pipes

If your house was built before 1975, there is a good chance you need to replace your pipes. An estimated 76 million older homes in the U.S. have failing cast iron pipes. Though these pipes usually have a lifespan of 50 to 75 years, in some environments they can start breaking down as early as 25 to 40 years after installation.

A few signs that a homeowner may have damaged piping include:

  • foul smells from plumbing or sewage pipes,
  • broken or loose floor tiles, and
  • discolored or stained carpeting.

Here are two possible claims in a cast iron pipes lawsuit. These are that a homeowner either:

  • filed a damage claim (because of the pipes) with his insurance company and it was denied or underpaid, or
  • a homeowner discovered damage to his home (because of the pipes) and has not yet filed a claim.

Note that a requisite for both claims is that the homeowner’s residence was built prior to 1975. This is because cast iron was the piping material used in most U.S. homes prior to 1975. The material was used for plumbing and sewage related pipes.


Today, most new homes use PVC piping.

Many cast iron pipes lawsuits are based on the facts that:

  • a homeowner has filed a damage claim under his homeowner’s insurance policy (because of damage due to the piping), and
  • the insurance company has either underpaid or denied the claim.

Please note that many insurance companies deny coverage by saying that:

  • there is a “water damage” exclusion clause within the policy, and/or
  • the insured homeowner failed to give the company adequate or properly timed notice of the damage.

In other instances, a company might accept a claim but then pay the insured at a lowball rate.

If claim denial or underpayment, the homeowner can either:

  • try to work with the insurance company to receive a just settlement, or
  • attempt to bring a lawsuit against the insurance company in state court.

In both of these pursuits, it is a good idea for the owner to:

  • consult an expert (e.g. an engineer) in order to show that
  • the cast iron pipes are a cause of any damage.

This second basis pertains to a homeowner that has:

  • discovered damage due to cast iron piping, but
  • has not yet filed a claim with his insurance company.

In these situations, owners should know that most homeowner insurance policies:

  • require the insurance company to repair any visible water damage, and
  • replace any cast iron plumbing with new plumbing.

When no claim has yet been filed, owners should document evidence of faulty piping. The same is true for any damages caused by the piping. The homeowner should also review his insurance policy to learn the language most pertinent to his claim. Prior to filing the claim, it is a good idea to consult with an insurance claim lawyer. Companies often try to deny coverage by pointing to certain exclusions. An insurance claim attorney will know whether any exclusions really apply.

The majority of homes built before 1975 were constructed using cast iron piping. This was the standard of the time and the pipes were supposed to have a lifespan of 50-75 years. The problem, though, is that the pipes began failing and breaking down way short of their projected lifespan. Most often, the pipes began to show damage within less than 25 years after their installation. Corrosion is the main cause of failure. This includes corrosion both from inside and outside of the piping. As the pipes corrode, they become thinner and more susceptible to cracking since they cannot withstand pressure from within.

The Attorneys at Chhabra Gibbs & Herrington PLLC are currently accepting Cast Iron Pipe cases. If you or someone you know had their house affected by having cast iron pipes, you should contact us immediately for a free case consultation.

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