It’s easy to forget about plumbing fixtures, but like everything else in a home, they have a fixed life span. The wear-and-tear on plumbing fixtures can be substantial.
Toilets, sinks, showers, and water heaters are in constant use in most homes. Beyond looking old and outdated, these fixtures will eventually deteriorate, leading to plumbing problems and unexpected repair costs.
Advantages of New Plumbing
There are numerous benefits to replacing plumbing fixtures with brand-new models. Whether you’re doing a major kitchen or bath renovation or replacing one broken fixture, here are just a few gains you’ll experience.
1. Lower Utility Bills
Older fixtures use more water, causing your water bill to be higher. Energy saving fixtures lower your monthly water bill, as upgraded shower heads, faucets, toilets and water heaters are designed to use significantly less water than previous models.
For example, installing a faucet with the WaterSense label can save 2.2 gallons per minute without decreasing performance. Even replacing an old shower head with a new model designed for low flow or installing an aerator in your current faucet can make a positive difference in water savings.
2. Eliminate Plumbing Problems
Broken fixtures, toilet clogs, leaky faucets, and other plumbing problems can be annoying. They can also waste a lot of water and require multiple repairs. Replacing old and damaged fixtures eliminates issues and saves both time and money in the long run.
Keep track of plumbing repairs. If you find you keep repairing the same fixture repeatedly, it probably makes more sense to replace it.
3. Improve Functionality
The changing needs of your household may require new fixtures in a bathroom. You can increase the safety and functionality of your bathroom by determining which changes will make it easier for all family members to complete day-to-day tasks safely and efficiently.
A family with small children may want a combination shower and bathtub to make bathing easier. Older adults might want a comfort-height toilet and additional handrails to improve bathroom safety. A roll-in shower makes bathing easier for older adults or people with physical limitations.
4. Increase Resale Value
When it’s time to sell your home, new plumbing fixtures in bathrooms and kitchens will add value to your property. Even if you don’t have the time or money to do a complete remodel before selling, installing a new faucet and shower head is affordable, quick, and easy. They will give a bathroom a fresh clean look that appeals to home buyers. And of course, replacing any broken or leaking fixtures is a necessity if you want to attract top dollar for your home.
Signs You May Need to Replace Plumbing Fixtures
For many of us, the time to replace old plumbing fixtures is when the previous model breaks. Rather than waiting for your hot water heater to stop working or a garbage disposal to rupture and cause water damage, you’ll save time and money by knowing some of the common signs that a fixture is beginning to fail. Regular maintenance and inspections can go a long way toward extending the lifespans of plumbing.
Toilets typically last a very long time but they may develop problems. Some of their internal features, including flappers, need to be replaced every few years. Occasional clogs are not usually a cause for concern but if you are dealing with recurrent clogs or constant leaks, it may be time for a replacement.
Basic repairs can extend the life of a toilet but if the tank or bowl cracks, the entire unit should be replaced. Modern low-flow toilets use only 1.6 gallons per flush, whereas older toilets can use as much as six gallons.
Changing out an old toilet for a water-saving toilet can reduce your water bill by between $50 to $100 annually, so replacing an old, troublesome toilet may pay for itself pretty quickly.
Most garbage disposals will last around 10 years. However, they will only last that long if they are used properly. If you have an older disposal that is frequently clogging or worse, leaking, it’s time to replace it. A disposal that is leaking from the bottom is rarely repairable and it’s almost always more cost-effective to simply replace a leaking unit.
Water heaters last around 12 years on average, depending on the type you have. That lifespan can be extended with regular maintenance and routine repairs.
If you are experiencing problems with your water heater, such as leaks or insufficient hot water, call a plumber for an inspection. A simple repair may be all that is needed to restore its proper functioning.
If the tank is leaking or rusting, it will likely need to be replaced. Even if your old unit is still working, it may be time to replace it with a more energy-efficient unit before problems develop. The energy savings, along with rebates, can often pay for the cost of a new unit in 3 to 5 years.
Plumbing pipes last a long time but given the amount of wear and tear they receive daily, at some point replacements will be needed. Sometimes a single pipe may need to be replaced and other times, an entire plumbing system needs to be gutted and repiped.
If you spot any of the following problems in your home, there’s a good chance you need repairs or a complete repiping.
- Old age - if the pipes in your home are 50 years old or older, a professional plumbing inspection is a good idea. Besides routine wear and tear, older pipes may be made from unsafe materials, such as lead, and should be replaced immediately. Homes built with galvanized steel piping are likely to corrode and rust.
- Leaking - even small leaks should be dealt with immediately. It may be normal to have some condensation on hot water pipes, but it’s never normal for pipes to leak.
If you spot a leak and decide to patch it yourself, you are unlikely to have permanently solved the problem. Future repairs due to a burst pipe will be more expensive, so calling a plumber to properly repair a leaky pipe is always the best course of action.
- Visible corrosion - If you can see stains, discoloration, flaking, small indentations, or rust on exposed pipes, your pipes are corroding. Corroding pipes are more likely to leak (if they aren’t already) and should be replaced before they burst. Repairing corroding pipes isn’t usually an option - when corrosion is happening, replacements are usually the only way to correct the problem.
- Discolored water - if the water coming out of your taps is a yellowish, reddish, or brownish tint, that’s a clear sign that rust or sediment has built up inside your pipes. If the problem only occurs when you turn on your hot water, it may be due to a corroded hot water heater and not the plumbing pipes in your home. A plumber will be able to determine the cause and recommend the right solution.
- Low water pressure - Low water pressure can be caused by several factors but the most common reasons are sediment buildup and corrosion. Both block water from passing freeing through the entire pipe. This puts pressure on the pipe and can lead to a burst pipe.
If your washing machine, dishwasher, or showers are exhibiting lower-than-usual water pressure, you may need to have your home repiped. A professional plumber can identify the source of the problem and recommend the right solution for low water pressure in your home.
Don’t Risk a Burst Pipe
Worn-out plumbing fixtures put you at a higher risk for emergency plumbing problems. A pipe that has been broken down due to age and wear-and-tear can burst and cause significant damage. Seals and valves wear out which can affect water pressure and lead to leaks. Replacing worn fixtures before a complete failure prevents costly water damage and emergency repairs.
The professionals at Simply Green Plumbing, Sewer & Rooter have the training and experience to handle all of your plumbing needs. Call us at (408) 716-1686 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.
Our technicians have over 30 years of experience. We understand that plumbing problems can happen at any time, that’s why we offer emergency plumbing services at no extra cost.