Modern plumbing owes a lot of its history to a material that man has used
for thousands of years: clay. In fact, the ancient civilization of Babylonia
used clay pipes to provide local residents with water from a municipal
supply, back as far as 4,000 BCE! Today, the city of Ephesus (now located
in modern day Turkey) was one of the first to provide citizens with running
hot and cold water, utilizing clay pipes.
Today, these pipes use the same natural material with slightly more refined
processes to produce pipes that can last for centuries. In fact, some
clay pipes installed in cities across the United Sates have been in operation
for 100 years or more and are running as well as they were on the day
they were first used. This is because they’re resistant to one of
the largest threats to modern plumbing: acid disintegration.
However, despite the amazing ability of this material, clay pipes are on
their way out because they suffer from several issues that most modern
materials don’t have to deal with. Clay pipes are prone to cracking
and shattering under blunt impacts. While they’re tremendously strong
under pressure (known as compressive strength), they can’t say the
same about their tensile strength. It’s not uncommon for these pipes
to eventually crack, causing leaks or even serious bursting. This cracking
and breaking often occurs due to ground shifting, such as during earthquakes.
Here are three other major issues that are causing clay pipes to go the
same way that many of the ancient civilizations that pioneered their use.
If you’re having an issue with the plumbing in your home or business,
call Smith’s Plumbing Services today at (901) 290-1110 and let a Bartlett plumber fix your issue quickly
Difficult to Work With: Clay pipes are two things: heavy and fragile. That makes them incredibly
difficult to install, requiring a lot of heavy machinery and careful attention
to detail. That also makes clay fairly expensive. PVC, the favored modern
material, is cheaper, easier to replace, and won’t break with a
small blunt bump.
Difficult to Transport: For many of the same reasons listed above, clay pipes, especially large
ones, are extremely difficult to get where they need to be. You need a
heavy-duty truck with specialized cargo-securing devices to make sure
pipes won’t budge even an inch while tackling the bumps and turns
on the roads.
Susceptible to Root Intrusion: Clay pipes don’t fit together quite as well as PVC, and that means
there will be small gaps. Small gaps are a pipe’s worst nightmare
because that’s all a tree root needs to intrude into the pipe, where
it grows and turns into a huge blockage, requiring a lot of labor to fix.