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How to Know When to Replace Your Plumbing

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Whether it’s your car battery, the lawn mower sitting in your garage, the hot water heater, the shingles on the roof, or the plumbing in your home, nothing lasts forever, and when something is used day in and day out, it’ll eventually need to be replaced. Your household plumbing system is no different.

When it comes to the materials used to build a home, many of them come with a shelf life. As far as the home’s plumbing is concerned, eventually the system will start to show signs of wear and tear and break down.

As plumbing ages, it’s common for it to develop leaks, and if they are ignored for too long, they can lead to:

  • Flooding
  • Unhealthy mold
  • Water damage in the walls, ceilings, and floors
  • Raw sewage can seep out and damage the floors, walls, and furnishings

An old or neglected plumbing system can lead to a system failure, resulting in thousands of dollars in damage to the home and the furnishings inside.

Should you be concerned that a plumbing disaster is on the horizon? Since replacing old pipes involves cutting into the walls and floors, we certainly wouldn’t want you to start such a big project before it was necessary.

What Types of Pipes Do You Have?

This is a key question and will help you determine how long your plumbing system should last. If you’re not sure what type of pipes you have, grab a copy of the home inspection report that you paid for when you bought your home and see what types of pipes you have.

There are various pipe materials that have been used for drinking water lines, drain lines, to connect plumbing fixtures and faucets throughout your home. A few of the more common pipe materials used in plumbing systems:

  • Galvanized pipes
  • PVC pipes
  • Cast iron pipes
  • Copper pipes
  • Lead pipes
  • Steel pipes
  • PEX pipes (often used to replace polybutylene pipes)

If you’re not a DIY or avid home improvement, you can call an experienced plumber and have them check out your plumbing system. Brass, copper, and galvanized steel supply pipes can have a life expectancy of about 80 to 100 years but can fail from corrosion, or if there is an exposed pipe, so these pipes can fail sooner if they aren’t properly maintained.

If you know that your pipes have outlasted their lifespan, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to be replaced, especially if they have been well-maintained over the years.

If your pipes are made out of the lead, which was common during the early 1900s, then they should be replaced because they deposit lead into the drinking water, which is dangerous to your health.

Also, if you have polybutylene pipes (used during the 1970s through the 1990s), they should be replaced because they are heavily prone to breakage.

When to Call a Professional Plumber

If you’re looking into renovations, or if your home was built more than 60 years ago, make it a habit to check your pipes for any signs of trouble. Look at the pipes in the basement and crawlspace. Are there any stains, flaking, leaks, discoloration, or dimpling? If so, it’s time to call in a plumber for an inspection. Additionally if you have odd odors when running your washing machine, kitchen sink, hot water, or if you have older pipes, or your garbage disposal is well maintained but has consistent odors or leaks.

Also, keep an eye out for rust-colored water when you turn on the bathtub, especially after you’ve been away on vacation as this is a sign of decaying pipes.

Repiping can be quite the plumbing repair undertaking, and goes beyond removing tree roots or basic clogs when resolving plumbing issues. Not all plumbing services are equipped to handle replacing water pipes, mainline or other old plumbing with new plumbing. Homeowners also often look for a professional plumber who has experience in pipe replacement for their specific plumbing pipe needs, and working with established and reputable companies can put your mind at ease. 

Need your aging pipes inspected or other plumbing needs? Contact A-1 Sewer & Septic Service Inc. for the help you need!