Plumbing issues are rarely a good sign. Your house’s plumbing system is complex. When something within the system breaks, it can be annoying at the least (drip, drip) or cause devastating damage if problems are ignored (raw sewage).
Reasons You Need Your Pipes Replaced
There are several reasons that you may need to replace the pipes in your home.
- Age. The main reason pipes would need to be replaced is age. Even the best quality of piping will wear out in time. Some pipes can last up to 100 years, but it also depends on the material they are made from.
- Material. Many homes built before 1960 may still have galvanized steel pipes or cast iron pipes. These materials tend to corrode, rust, and decay, so they don’t last as long as the more modern pipes made from copper or PVC plumbing pipes.
- Maintenance. If you keep your plumbing system well-maintained, even very old pipes can still be functional. Regular plumbing maintenance will catch small issues that can be easily repaired, extending the life of the piping. If you don’t have a regular maintenance schedule, your pipes can get corroded and cracked without you knowing about it, leading to bigger problems that require total replacement.
- Code Violations. Older pipes, even if they are still sound and functional, may no longer meet code standards and restrictions.
- Health and Safety Risks. Some older plumbing pipes installed in homes in the early 1900s, were lined with lead. Although these pipes can last 100 years or more, the lead can leach into your drinking water. That’s a serious health hazard, putting you and your family at risk for lead poisoning. If you have lead-lined pipes, they should be replaced immediately.
How to Tell You Need to Replace the Pipes
You may have bought your home without knowing the condition of the plumbing system. Do you know what the pipes are made of? When was the current plumbing installed? What repairs did the former homeowner have done and why? If you didn’t get these questions answered before you bought the house, you probably have no idea.
Your first step should be to call a reputable plumber to do a thorough inspection of the plumbing. (If you’re in the process of purchasing a home, it would be a good idea to have this done prior to finalizing the sale.) They can tell you the approximate age of the plumbing system, the condition of the pipes, and whether you need repairs or a complete replacement.
You can also do some investigation on your own by checking your plumbing out yourself. Although you don’t have the diagnostic tools and knowledge that a professional plumber would, there are some clues that are obvious. Look for the following signs that indicate there are issues:
- Discolored water
- Slow drainage
- Frequent plumbing backups
- Mold in your home
- Sewer gas odor
- Very green lawn (sewage backups)
- Dramatic fluctuations in water temperature
- Low or uneven water pressure
- Scalding water
- Unusual sounds (rattling, screeching) from pipes
- Unexplained increases in your water bills
These issues don’t necessarily mean you need to replace all your pipes, but if you notice any of these signs, it definitely warrants a call to your plumber.
When and How to Replace Your Pipes
If replacing your pipes is the recommended solution from the professional plumber after inspecting your plumbing system, you still have choices to make. It may not be feasible to replace the entire plumbing system, so you need to consider options for remediating the situation. Here are some suggestions for mitigating the cost and chaos of a complete pipe replacement:
1. Replace the Exposed Pipes.
Plumbing is often behind plaster walls, wood paneling, or other areas that make it difficult to access the pipes. You can start your pipe replacement with those pipes that are more accessible, like inside the basement or utility room. Although it’s still considerable effort, it doesn’t require demolition of the walls to accomplish the replacements.
2. Wait to Replace until You Renovate.
If you are remodeling your bathroom or kitchen, that is an ideal time to replace your pipes. While the walls are down, the pipes are exposed, facilitating their access. The plumber will likely already be a part of these types of renovations anyway, so it won’t cost nearly as much to have them replace what’s there.
Call on the Plumbing Experts
If you believe your plumbing needs work, contact the professionals at Simply Green Plumbing, Sewer & Rooter. We have the diagnostic tools and over 30 years of experience to thoroughly inspect your plumbing system for vulnerabilities. We will give you the complete scoop on the condition of your pipes and recommend solutions.
If replacement of your pipes is necessary, we will work with you to develop a schedule to replace them. When we replace pipes, we only install pipes made from the most durable materials, like PVC, which doesn’t rust or corrode.
All our work is guaranteed and up to code and performed by licensed professional plumbers. Let us help you keep your plumbing system running smoothly and lasting for decades to come.