If you’re a homeowner, it may be time to think about new plumbing, especially if you’re in an older home with original plumbing. Over time, pipes start to corrode, decay and rust. Once this process begins, you can end up with small leaks or a major flood of unexpected water or sewage that can damage your home and belongings.
Replacing old plumbing can be expensive. You can easily spend between $5000 and $10,000 in a moderate two-bathroom home. In addition to new pipes, floors and walls have to be opened for proper installation. Take a look at ways to assess your plumbing and decide if it’s time for replacement.
Your Existing Pipes
The type of existing pipes in your home will impact their lifespan. If you’re not sure what they’re made of, call your plumber for an inspection.
* Drain pipes – most drain pipes are made of cast iron or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Cast iron pipes typically last for 80-100 years. PVC pipes will only last 25-40 years.
* Supply pipes – most supply pipes that bring water into the house are made of brass, copper or galvanized steel, but constant use and pressure can cause leaks. Brass pipes typically last for 80-100 years; copper pipes for 70-80 years; and galvanized steel pipes for 80-100 years.
If your existing pipes have been well-maintained, they may last longer. Lack of maintenance, improper repairs, and hard water with a high mineral content can wear pipes down faster. If you have lead pipes, used in the early 1900s, have them replaced. They can put lead into your drinking water and cause serious health hazards. Cheaper polybutylene pipes, used from the 1970s through the 1990s, are not dangerous, but they’re prone to leaks and breakage.
Signs of Trouble
If your house is more than 50 years old, have an inspection to check for flaking, discoloration and stains in your pipes. Fill your bathtub and check the color of the water. If it’s brown or yellow, this signals rust and signs of decay in the pipes.
Check around all pipes, including pipes under the house, for leaks. Even small leaks that can be repaired easily may signal signs of trouble. Since your pipes are likely all the same age, one or two small leaks may indicate others are on the way.
If you think it may be time to replace your plumbing, learn more at web.com.