When Should I Replace My Old Plumbing?

Your home’s plumbing system is essential for your daily comfort and routine functions. However, the pipes and other plumbing often experience corrosion over time. If you live in an old house, the plumbing may need maintenance or replacement.

You don’t have to wait for leaks in the bathroom, kitchen sink, and other areas. Below, we’ll outline the clear signs it’s time to replace your plumbing parts.

Signs That Your Old Plumbing Needs Replacement

Knowing when to replace plumbing parts in your home is not always easy, since some signs are less obvious than others. In addition, you need to check faucets, drains, pipes and other plumbing fixtures in many instances.

Discolored Water

Water discoloration is one of the most common signs of old plumbing in need of replacement. It’s also one of the easiest ways to spot problems with your pipes. You may find water coming out of the faucet with an unusual color – usually brownish or black in worse cases. It indicates corroded pipes, which also means your water may contain rust particles.

If left untreated, mineral deposits can form in your pipes and cause clogs. Clogging can cause pressure build-up in certain parts of your plumbing system, which cause pipes to burst. Do you suspect corrosion and rust build-up? Enlist trained technicians immediately to spot the cause of water discoloration.

Persistent Low Water Pressure

If your shower has low water pressure, several factors can cause this issue, such as pinholes, pipe leaks, and clogs, common in old plumbing. These problems do more than reduce water pressure in the shower. They can damage the frame and foundation of your house, increase mold growth and cause wood to rot. If left unchecked, excessive mold growth can also reduce the air quality of your home.

Slow Drainage

This sign is relatively easy to spot. If your sinks and drains accumulate water and are slow to drain, it could mean the pipes underneath have been clogged and corroded. It’s a telltale sign of when to replace plumbing parts in your home.

Unpleasant Odor

Apart from water discoloration, another sign to look out for is unpleasant odors in the water coming from the tap. This could mean there’s more than rust building up in your plumbing. Watch out. Strange odors indicate minerals and bacteria gathering in several pockets within your pipes. It’s advisable to avoid using water with a strange odor at all costs, as it can pose significant health risks to you and your family.

Leaking Pipes and Fixtures

An obvious sign that you need to replace the plumbing in your home is leaking. Watch for damp areas in the walls, which indicate leaks. Sometimes, the leak appears in faucets or the toilet, prompting homeowners to fix these plumbing parts. However, if the problem persists, it may indicate pipes in need of replacement. If this is the case, don’t hesitate to call for professional help.

Know Your Materials

The type of plumbing material used in your home will determine how long you should expect the pipes and other fittings to last. First, review the home inspection report that should have been given to you when you purchased the house. It will include a record of the type of pipes installed.

If you can’t find this document, call a plumber that you can trust to inspect the plumbing and identify the types of pipe material.

Here’s a quick rundown of the different types of pipe material used in homes as well as their average lifespans:

Supply Pipes

Brass lasts 80 to 100 years
Galvanized steel usually lasts 80 to 100 years
Copper lasts 70 to 80 years

Drain Pipes

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) lasts only 25 to 40 years
Cast iron lasts a lot longer than PVC, typically 80 to 100 years

You don’t necessarily need to replace all the pipes in your home if they’re older than indicated above. Sometimes they only need regular plumbing maintenance. Well-maintained pipes in your home will last longer. However, poorly managed ones will need replacement, especially if you have hard water running in the house.

Plumbing Fixture Lifespans

Your home’s plumbing system extends beyond your pipes. It includes other fixtures like faucets, toilets, and other essential elements. Here are the expected lifespans of different plumbing fixtures:

- Water heaters: 12 years on average
- PVC drain lines: 25 to 40 years
- Water softeners: 20 years on average
- Wax seals: 20 to 30 years
- Handles: no estimated lifespan
- Valves, flappers, and levers in the bathroom: four to five years
- Garbage disposals: 10 years on average

When it comes to your toilets, you should determine when they were installed. If they date back to 1992, you need to test if they still flush on 1.6 gallons per flush (GPF). If not, then it’s advisable to have your toilet replaced.

Watch Out For Exposed Pipes

Homes that are older than 60 years usually will have exposed pipes somewhere. The first place to check is the basement. The lines you find there will hint at the overall condition of your home’s plumbing.

Some of the signs you should watch out for include:

- Bumps
- Dimpling
- Flaking
- Discoloration

If you find anything out of the ordinary, call for professional help and have the pipes inspected. Look for signs of corrosion, loose seals, moisture accumulation and leaks. If you spot any of these signs, it could be time for an upgrade.

Trusted Plumbing Replacement Experts

Flatley’s Plumbing Express is the trusted name for plumbing replacements in many parts of Illinois. Our family-owned company has been in the service of residential and commercial establishments for more than 60 years. We proudly maintain an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Our technicians also specialize in water softener service, clog removal, and water pressure restoration, apart from plumbing replacement. Contact us and get a free quote today.

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