Here is what I know so far

  1. The house I live in was built in the 1920s.
  2. It is located in central Illinois.
  3. The damage you see around the pipe is only in that section of the basement. Everything else is fine.
  4. I am very limited on what I can do to investigate on the outside as the outside portion of the basement wall is directly under my backyard deck.
  5. The gas line for the house comes in through a pipe on the opposite side of the house.
  6. The house was set up for coal heating as there is still a coal chute hole and room still present.

What is the best strategy for removing it and repairing the wall?


  • from the pic it looks like that may be PVC. If so it is modern and newer to the home. Can you verify the material the pipe is made of?
    – RMDman
    Jul 8, 2023 at 15:21
  • It is made from galvanized steel. It is similar to the old water pipes in the house. Jul 8, 2023 at 15:36
  • 2
    You need to investigate further, even if it means removing a few planks from your deck and digging a bit. The pipe could be for an outside spicket, etc.. You shouldn't try removing it until you're sure where it goes.
    – JACK
    Jul 8, 2023 at 17:50
  • Why do you need to remove it? Are you planning to convert the basement to living space? It is in the corner and It does not look like a great inconvenience. Since it is unknown it is a risk to remove without knowledge of what it actually is.
    – RMDman
    Jul 8, 2023 at 18:08

1 Answer 1


Mystery pipes are always something of a risk.

Could be abandoned and empty and nothing bad happens.

Could be inappropriate piping misused as electrical conduit.

Could be a waterline to an outside spigot, active, or still pressurized even though the spigot has been lost track of. That would be a minor pain until you found a valve to shut it off.

Could be connected to an abandoned oil tank (perhaps "coal oil") which might not be empty. That's a glimpse of the bad end of the spectrum.

  • Is there any radiographic/electromagnetic/acoustic/thermal way of telling - for example, could OP turn all the taps in the house on (or one by one) and use some device to listen for changes in the pipe's audio, thermal, or some other signature?
    – stevec
    Jul 10, 2023 at 9:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.