Is It Time to Replace Your Home’s Plumbing?
When any part of your residential plumbing fails, the potential for property damage and expensive repairs exists. Often, pipe connections and piping material fail because of the following:
- Low-quality installations
- Bad components
- Serious temperature fluctuations
- Poor maintenance habits
- Age-related failures
Most of these problems happen out of sight, too, because the majority of plumbing is hidden behind concrete and drywall. That’s why it’s very important that you are aware of the anticipated life cycle of your home’s plumbing and signs of pipe failure.
About Pipe Material
What type of material is the piping made from in your home? Knowing this information is extremely valuable because different materials last longer and experience different problems.
How do I find this information?
That’s a question we’re asked frequently. Do you have a copy of your home’s inspection or appraisal report when you bought it or built it? In these reports, you should find information about the type of piping material in the home. If not, consider the type of home you have and its age. For example, older homes built in the 1950s often used clay piping for sewer lines. Newer homes use plastic piping that stands up to changes in the soil better. Below is a list of the most common pipe material used and the average lifespan of each:
- Copper: 50+ years
- Brass: 40 to 45 years
- Cast Iron: 75 to 100 years
- Galvanized Steel: 20 to 50 years
- PVC piping – indefinitely
Keep in mind that while the lifespan of the piping material looks impressive, you also have to consider the fittings, the quality of the installation, water quality, and maintenance. Often, pipe lifespans are significantly lower than what’s listed above.
Signs that You Need Pipe Repair
Cracks in piping material are the most obvious sign. However, other signs include the following:
- Wet baseboards
- Wet areas behind dishwasher or sinks
- Water-stained or warped flooring
- Water tubing that is rust-colored often signals that there are leaking or corroding pipes.
- Low water pressure
- Gurgling or rattling sound from your piping
- Dampness or mold in crawl spaces
- Slow-moving drains
To know for sure what you’re dealing with, you need to call a plumber to inspect the problem. Sometimes what looks like a pipe issue is something entirely different and vice-versa.
How to Choose Between Pipe Repair and Pipe Replacement
If pipes are cracked or leaking, you can often replace just the affected section. This costs considerably less and takes less time. However, keep in mind that if your plumbing’s old, that you might find that areas begin to develop leaks. It’s a domino effect that happens in many older homes with aging piping. In a case like this, you want to weigh the benefits of whole-house plumbing replacement.
Also, if you’re in the middle of a kitchen or bathroom remodel and notice issues with several pipe sections, why not completely replace the plumbing. In all likelihood, the walls are open, and the area already disturbed. It shouldn’t add too much more to the completion timeline or cost to make the fix now.
Lastly, listen to your plumber’s suggestions. These men and women are professionals who’ve seen it all. They won’t lead you in the wrong direction.
If you’re experiencing leaks or other problems with your pipes, contact Wise Choice Plumbing & Rooter. We offer pipe repair and replacement in San Gabriel, CA, and all other Southern California regions. Contact us today to learn more!