How to Decide if You Should Get a Plumbing Upgrade
Although it’s seldom the first and foremost thought on most homeowners’ minds, when something goes wrong with the plumbing, it requires attention. These indicators may point to the need for a plumbing upgrade, or help you evaluate its condition to prevent the damage that plumbing problems cause.
- Go by age. The year your home was built might tell you what kinds of pipes you have and when it’s time to consider replacing them. Homes built in the early 1900s used lead pipes, and while they last a long time, they can and do leach lead into the water supply, leading to serious and often irreparable health damage.
- You see water leaks. Stained or damp walls and leaks under sinks and appliances indicate are telltale signs of plumbing issues. The problem might be a loose hose or fitting, or it could be indicate a leaking pipe, which could burst if left untended.
- Check the color from faucets you haven’t used for a while. Any color other than clear may indicate a corroding pipe.
- Plumbing fixtures start to drain slowly or bubble. If you keep your pipes clear and suddenly drainage slows, you could have a problem with the sewer line from tree roots or a collapsed pipe.When the signs point to the need for a plumbing upgrade, it’s better to take action before the situation escalates.
Between 1970 and 1990s, homebuilders often used polybutylene (PB) pipes that can leak or burst at anytime. Replacing PB and lead pipes should be a high priority plumbing upgrade. Supply lines made from brass and galvanized steel can reach 100 years and copper pipes up to 80.
Drainage pipes that run underground are normally cast iron in older homes and PVC (polyvinyl chloride) in newer homes. Cast iron has a lifespan around 100 years and PVC lasts about 25 years.