Pipes aren’t something you should think about replacing, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need it after some time. Every type of pipe has a different lifespan and here are a few signs for when you should call an expert plumber to replace them.
Obvious Signs Your Pipes Need Replacing
There are a few obvious signs you should look for if your house is old and has older piping. One of the most obvious things are cracks and leaks. A cracked pipe should be pretty easy to spot — look for a crack in the pipe itself or leaks. If you notice a leak, follow it as much as you can (or call a plumber to check out the pipe from the inside), and you’ll likely find a crack.
If you do notice a leak, call a professional immediately. It doesn’t take long for water to damage your floor or walls! A plumber might be able to repair a plumbing leak without replacing pipes. But they might also suggest pipe replacement if the pipes are in especially bad shape.
Corrosion is a natural process that destroys the material it affects. It usually occurs in refined metals. Corrosion isn’t that common with modern piping materials, but is possible in older homes. This is why the answer to “how often should you replace your pipes” isn’t as straightforward as saying “once every X years.”
Galvanized steel pipes, which aren’t as common nowadays, are known to corrode. Once corrosion sets in, it’s only a matter of time before you’re going to need to replace your plumbing pipes to allow water to flow through them freely again.
Less Obvious Signs that Your Pipes Need Replacing
There are times when your pipes won’t be clogged due to corrosion, where they will be as dry as the Arizona desert, and where no cracks are visible. But that doesn’t necessarily mean your pipes don’t need replacing. Be on the lookout for these less obvious signs.
Discolored water is not always a sign that you need new pipes, especially if you live in an area with a “boil order” in place, if you have well water, or live in a rural area. But if you filter your water and none of the above is true, it’s possible the discoloration is due to corrosion. This puts rust in your water, thus resulting in the brownish tint. Though rusty water may look and taste unpleasant, it is not a health concern.
It is a concern to your pipes, though. The rust can cause minerals to build up, which in turn either clogs your pipe or slowly builds pressure in it. The pressure, if left unchecked, can cause the pipe to burst. A burst pipe can cause catastrophic damage to your wiring and insulation, and may even lead to a house fire.
If you suspect rust or corrosion, call a professional plumber immediately.
Just like how technology goes in and out of style as new and better models are released, so does plumbing. Pipes have drastically changed in the past century to become more reliable and safe. Depending on when your home was built, you may want to consider replacing your pipes to modernize your home before any problems arise.
Most modern systems use brass, copper, or PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipes. However, older buildings used cast iron, lead, and galvanized steel. Brass, cast iron, and galvanized steel have a lifespan of 80-00 years, copper lasts 70-80 years, and PVC piping only survives for 24-45 years.
Lead pipes are a huge concern if they’re in your home. Lead is highly toxic and should not be consumed in any quantity, no matter how small. It can be found in brass pipes too, as it is an alloy. Tests can reveal how much lead is in each pipe, and if it’s above the federally suggested level, you should cease water usage immediately.
Pex pipes are the newest thing in piping. Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) tubing is a plastic material that has several advantages over previous materials like copper and PVC. It’s flexible, much easier to install, and has an estimated 100 year lifespan. It is also highly durable and heat resistant.
So, Do You Need to Replace Your Pipes?
If you haven’t noticed anything unusual with your pipes, you probably don’t need to replace them. Be sure to keep an eye out for any of the signs mentioned above. If you’re looking to buy a house, ensure that the pipes are good to go by having them inspected (especially if the home is older).
If you need prompt and reliable service to either replace a pipe or just check them out to be sure, contact Economy Plumbing. Their business is family owned and operated and is a member of the Registrar of Contractors (ROC) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Give them a call today!