3 Common Plumbing Problems in Old Houses

The Chicagoland area is famous for its beautiful, historic architecture. It’s an exciting area for first-time home owners, who have plenty of options for historic and spacious houses full of character. Unfortunately, behind all the charm in the old house of your dreams could be disastrous plumbing problems. If you are a potential home-buyer with your sights set on an older house, here are 3 common plumbing problems you should look out for.

1. Evaluate your pipes.
Homes built over two or three decades ago might have clay or cast iron pipes. Clay pipes are often put together with multiple short sections, and over time, become increasingly brittle. The other danger with these pipes is tree roots: given enough time, roots can become strong enough to block or separate pipe sections, and the last thing you want is a massive pipe blockage in your new lawn.

Cast iron pipes are sturdier, but the obvious problem is rust. It’s often hard to tell just how rusted over cast iron pipes are because they rust from the inside out, and galvanized pipes can corrode and cause low water pressure.

Ideally, your new old-home will have modern copper and PVC pipes. Talk to your plumber during your inspection about which pipes can be salvaged and which must be replaced.

2. Inspect the hot water heater.
This is critically important for Chicago-area homes. You don’t want to move in and be scrambling to figure out what’s wrong with your hot water heater in the dead of the winter.

First, determine the age of your hot water heater. Older heaters are inefficient and can cause costly problems. Then determine whether or not the size of the tank is large enough for your needs and check for mineral deposits that need to be cleared. Those deposits can slow down how quickly hot water comes out of the faucets, which can be a frustrating problem on a daily basis. Flatley’s offers hot water heater repairs and replacements for any problems that you may find.

3. Check for sewer line damage.
We can’t stress this one enough! Sewer line damage is a costly, smelly, and potentially disastrous situation and a terrible way to start your life in your new old-home. Always inspect for clogging in your drains, unusually high water bills, foul odors, and mold growth. These are signs that the main sewer line is clogged and potentially leaking.

The first thing you should do if you suspect sewer line damage is to shut off your main water supply. Then call your local plumber. Flatley’s offers 24-7 plumbing services for emergencies such as these. Your plumber should be able to remove roots, inspect the sewer line with a camera, and otherwise handle the damage without tearing up your lawn or walls.

Prevention is better than the cure

Old houses have plenty to offer in terms of aesthetics, nostalgia, and curb appeal. But they can also offer up plenty of plumbing problems, so don’t let these issues go forgotten during your home inspections. It can have costly and exhausting consequences. If you do suspect problems, don’t give up on your dream house: call Flatley’s Plumbing Express for any repairs or replacements so that you can get back to making that old house your home!

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