When you bought your home, you were well aware that nothing lasts forever; this is true, and especially so for your plumbing. Pipes rust and corrode over time and use, and unless you repair or replace broken pipes, there are bound to be leaks and water damage.
Replacing broken pipes, however, is an extensive overhaul that takes considerable time and effort. Walls and floors have to be taken out to access the pipes. In this scenario, you would also have to pay thousands of dollars for repair, so it makes sense that you wouldn’t want to do this unless it’s necessary. Here are some ways to check if replacement is needed before calling your local plumbing services in Kennesaw, GA.
Determine What Pipes You Have
The lifespan of most pipes is dependent on what type they are. To determine what pipes you have, you should either look over your home inspection report that you received when you bought the home or have your plumbing system inspected by a plumber. Here are some estimations and guidelines from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Residential Rehabilitation Inspection Guide.
There are 3 common materials used to make supply pipes, which are under constant pressure of running water:
- Brass, with an average lifespan of 40-70+ years.
- Copper, with an average lifespan of 50+ years
- Galvanized steel, with an average lifespan of 20-50 years.
Drain lines are commonly made up of 2 materials:
- Cast iron, which can last from 75-100 years
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which can last from 25-40 years.
Even if your pipes are older than the values in the guideline, you do not have to replace them. Poorly maintained pipes or those that contain hard water may not last as long as expected, and ones that are well managed can last longer.
Remove Lead and Polybutylene
There are two types of pipes that require immediate removal: lead and polybutylene.
Lead pipes, commonly used in the early 1900’s, can leach lead, a severe health hazard, into your drinking water. For this reason, you should inspect the plumbing of a home that was built before and during that time.
Polybutylene pipes are an immediate danger because they break down on the inside as a result of oxidants in water that wear away at the material. For this reason, degradation can be hard to detect.
Keep an Eye Out
It’s recommended that you check exposed pipes annually if you have a home that is over 60 years old. Signs of corrosion to look out for include flaking, discoloration, stains, and dimples. If you find any aberrations in your pipes, you should schedule an inspection with a dependable plumber.
You should also, of course, look for any leaks or any discoloration of the water in your home. Even the smallest leak can accumulate and create a more significant problem. If your water appears yellow or brown, that is a sign of rust. Doing something so simple can prevent you from having to make an expensive emergency plumbing appointment.