Are the pipes in your home getting old? Pipes can last for decades without major problems. However, over time, the pipes will start to deteriorate and, at some point, you will need to replace them.
Is now the time for a whole home plumbing replacement?
When you dig into the guts of old homes, you will see a variety of piping materials. Copper, galvanized steel, and lead are just a few materials you will see in your supply lines, while cast iron and PVC are common in drain lines.
The way each pipe material ages is due to a combination of its material and what is flowing through it.
- Lead – Lead piping is actually quite durable. The problem with lead is that it seeps into the water that flows through it. When people ingest the water, it can cause lead poisoning. That is the main reason why lead plumbing was phased out and why it should be replaced immediately if found in your home.
- Galvanized steel – This type of pipe is made from steel, then galvanized in a bath of molten zinc. Unfortunately, eventually the zinc coating will start to wear off, which exposes the steel to the water and air. The exposed steel can start to corrode, which can cause water quality problems and pipe damage. Galvanized steel can last up to 50 years or more. However, if corrosion sets in, its longevity can be much less.
- Copper – Copper pipes have become the plumbing standard for supply lines over the past few decades. They are durable and resist corrosion. However, they can corrode if pH levels are too high or too low or if the water is high in dissolved oxygen or salts. In most cases, copper pipes can last 50 to 70 years.
- Cast Iron – Cast iron was the standard for drain lines for decades. You can still find plenty of this material in older homes because of its longevity and durability. Cast iron can easily last 80 to 100 years.
- PVC – PVC has replaced cast iron as the material of choice for drain lines. It’s been in use since the 1930s and has a proven track record for longevity, with lifetime expectancy of 50 to 100 years, or more.
Unless you and your family have been living in the same house for decades, you may not know what kind of piping you have and when the last plumbing upgrade occurred. Even if you don’t know this information, there are other ways to tell if you need home plumbing installation services.
How Do You Know It’s Time for a Whole Home Plumbing Replacement?
Here are some common signs that you may need to replace your home’s pipes:
- The water pressure is low. As pipes start to corrode, the corroded materials can start to build-up especially at connection points. If you start to see lower water pressure, you need to have a plumber inspect the pipes for corrosion.
- The pipes are leaking. Leaking pipes can be quite obvious in some situations, but completely hidden in others. Look for stains in the ceiling or walls. Look for signs of mold or mildew. If your home has multiple or recurring leaks, it may be time to repipe.
- The water color is rusty or cloudy. As galvanized pipe begins to corrode, it will start letting rust particles out into the water, discoloring it. If your water is discolored, call a plumber for an immediate inspection.
- The visible pipes show signs of corrosion. Galvanized steel can corrode from the inside out as well as the outside in. If you have pipes under your sinks that is showing signs of corrosion, they need to be replaced to prevent leaks.
What to Expect When You Replace Your Home’s Plumbing
One of the biggest concerns homeowners have with replacing the plumbing in their home is the potential damage done to the rest of the house. The good news is that an experienced plumbing company can replace your home’s plumbing with minimal disturbance to most of your home.
The cost of the re-plumbing will vary based on how big the home is, how many fixtures are impacted, how many bathrooms are involved, and what kind of pipe material is used in the project. The job usually takes 3 to 5 working days, though that can vary due to complexities in the plumbing process.
If you want to know the condition of your home’s plumbing, or need an estimate for a whole-house replacement, call Accurate Leak and Line today. We are the plumbing team that Texas neighbors trust with their home plumbing installation needs.