Plumbing system failures could lead to major damage to your furnishings and home. Regardless of the piping materials and system you have in your home, all pipes and fittings will fail eventually. Typically, that happens due to age, major fluctuations in water pressure and temperature, inadequate maintenance, improperly installed pipes, and/or faulty components. Because most of your piping system, including joints and fittings, is hidden inside your walls, floor, and ceiling, identifying the subtle signs of plumbing problems before they actually occur and knowing the expected lifespan of your plumbing materials and components could help you prevent unexpected plumbing failures that can end up costing you a small fortune.
Subtle Signs of Potential Plumbing Problems
Visible leaks along with corrosion or rust on exposed water pipes are the most obvious signs of plumbing problems. Because all of your pipes were probably installed at the same time, a corroded or rusted pipe indicates the overall condition of your plumbing system. If one of your water pipes has recently burst due to corrosion or rust, all of your pipes will fail sooner or later.
Besides rust, corrosion, and leaks, there are a few more signs that may indicate your pipes need replacement. One of these signs is rusty water. When your pipes start to rust or corrode on the inside, the water will turn rusty and may have a disagreeable metallic taste. In most cases, these two signs show that the water is mixing with rust or corrosion. Although rusty water could be coming from pipes that have corroded on the inside and need to be replaced, it may also mean that the inside of your hot water tank is rusting too.
Low water pressure is another sign that it’s time to repipe your home. Although low pressure could be due to a leaky pipe or joint, most of the time it’s caused by mineral buildup in your pipes. The minerals that accumulate on pipe walls will reduce the pipe diameter over time, leading to a reduction in the water flow rate and pressure.
Additionally, if you observe water stains on the ceiling or walls, peeling wallpaper or paint, and/or musty smell in your home, you should have your plumbing system inspected by a professional plumber as soon as possible. Depending on the nature and extent of the problem, the plumber may recommend replacing a single component, an entire section of your plumbing system, or repiping your whole system.
The Life Expectancy of Different Plumbing Materials
Knowing how long each plumbing material can last allows you to replace your pipes before they reach the end of their lifespan and start leaking. Fortunately, most plumbing materials have long lifespans. While you’ll receive nearly a century with galvanized steel and brass pipes, and between 50 and 80 years with copper, plastic pipes can last almost indefinitely when installed correctly and protected from UV radiation, chemicals, extreme heat, flame, freezing temperatures, and other factors that could damage them.
So, if your copper pipes were installed more than 50 years ago, replacing your entire plumbing system with modern materials, like PEX, before it reaches the end of its lifespan may be a wise decision. Most professionals recommend PEX piping because unlike copper, galvanized steel, brass, PVC, and CPVC pipes, which require plumbers to implement material-specific cutting and joining methods, PEX can be snaked into existing water line pathways in much the same way as electrical wires are installed. Because installing PEX piping requires fewer steps along the way, it’s less labor-intensive than installing rigid pipes. This may lead to lower installation costs. PEX piping is also approved for use in cold and hot water distribution systems and is significantly less expensive than metal pipes.
Do You Have Corroded, Rusted, Leaky Pipes, or Clogged Drain Lines? Call a plumber!
You might not always need a plumber to replace pipes, fittings, or faulty fixtures. But scheduling a consultation with our experts will help you find out exactly when your pipes were installed, what they’re made of, and what’s wrong with your plumbing system. For instance, what a homeowner perceives as a plumbing issue could actually be a tree root grown into a pipe or sewer line outside.
In addition, our plumbers are able to solve many plumbing problems in relatively noninvasive ways. If a partial or complete home repipe is necessary, we can also help you find a solution that works best for your property and budget. Whether you’re having a plumbing emergency, or you’re just concerned about your old pipes, which could burst when least expected, feel free to get in touch with us for a free consultation!