Older homes have a charm that no new construction can match. Unfortunately, they also have repair costs that no new construction requires! Older homes feature the utmost in craftsmanship, but even the best materials eventually give out. So, when is it time to replace plumbing?
Lifespans of Plumbing Pipes
Depending on the original materials, pipes can last anywhere from 25 years to 100 years.
You’ll find supply pipes in a variety of materials, each with its own limitations:
Galvanized steel pipes: 80-100 years
Copper pipes: 70-80 years
Brass supply pipes: 80-100 years
CPVC supply: 50-75 years
PEX supply: 25-40 years
Waste and drainpipes have varied lifespans:
Cast iron: 80-100 years
PVC: 25-40 years
ABS Plastic: 50-80 years
Clay or Concrete: 80-100 years
Must Replace Situations
Regardless of age, in some cases, plumbing pipes should be replaced because they’re made from inadequate or even dangerous materials:
Pipes of polybutylene are considered inadequate and frequently break, resulting in property damage. So, they should be replaced as soon as possible. You’ll find them in homes built between 1970 and 1990.
Lead supply pipes are a health hazard, especially for young children. If any of your pipes contain lead, you should have them replaced immediately
Signs You May Need to Replace Plumbing Pipes
If your home is over 50 years old, perform an annual inspection of your plumbing pipes to assess their need for replacement.
Also, keep your eyes open for the following signs of trouble:
1. Leaks, obviously, are the first sign of impending replacement, specifically when a pipe is cracked or broken. Leaks at connections don’t always indicate a need for replacement.
2. Corrosion or rusted pipes, which frequently occurs with galvanized steel drainpipes.
3. Discolored water from taps. This indicates interior rust or other contaminants in the supply line. If you’re unable to get these replaced immediately, consider scheduling a hydro-jetting cleanout to remove the sediments and impurities.
4. Bad water pressure: Low pressure can indicate an intractable pipe blockage or hidden break in the line. Broken pipes should be replaced right away to prevent structural damage to your home.
5. Mold and mildew infiltration. While many factors increase the amount of mold and mildew in your home, hidden leaks are also a major cause.
Testing for Leaks
Test for hidden leaks by turning off all appliances that use water in your home. Make sure that the icemaker and lawn irrigation won’t turn on unexpectedly.
Check your water meter and write down the numbers that appear. Run an errand while you wait for 30 minutes or so to go by. Then, return to your home and check the meter again. Any movement means you likely have a leak somewhere in your home.