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Aging Plumbing Systems

If you live in a home that is twenty years or older, you may be wondering about what to do about your aging plumbing system. The plumbing in your home ages along with the other materials, and at some point in time most items will need service or replacement. Rust, leaks, and growing tree roots affect most residential plumbing systems over time. It’s important to understand the plumbing inside and outside of your home in order to avoid plumbing failures, even plumbing emergencies, due to the age of your home’s systems.

Warning Signs

What are the signs that your plumbing needs to be replaced? Below are the top 4 indicators of an aging plumbing system.

Low Water Pressure: Corrosion or mineral buildup in pipes can slow the flow of water in your home. This is most noticeable in faucets and showerheads.

Odor: Objectionable odors can emanate from older pipes and plumbing appliances. It can also be a sign of unhealthy water from contaminants such as chlorine and sulfur.

Leaks: Exposed leaks are easy to spot and may be a sign of aging plumbing but leaks in walls and underground are more difficult to identify. Signs that you may have a leak include stains on ceilings, walls or floors, low water flow and slow drains.

Color of Water: Water is a colorless substance, so any discoloration is a sign of a problem and possible contamination. Water that is reddish or looks cloudy or milky may be a sign that it’s time to replace your pipes.

Know Your Pipes

The material of your plumbing pipes provides information about when you will need to begin replacing them. While PVC piping can last almost indefinitely, other materials have varied lifespans.

When pipes reach the end of their use, corrosion is a major problem. This is obvious with iron pipes that begin to rust. The color and odor of your water will be easily detected indicators. Other types of pipes will deposit undesired minerals, possibly undetected, in your home’s water, even if it’s clean before entering the home. A water test can identify issues with water quality stemming from plumbing problems. To receive the best results, contact a water treatment professional. They can select the correct water tests and the results are verified by a professional.

Plumbing Appliances

Plumbing appliances in your home will need replacement even sooner than your pipes will need replacement. The average water-using appliance has a lifespan of approximately 10 years. As with pipes, preventative maintenance and replacement will allow you to avoid expensive emergencies. Here’s a quick list of the most common appliances that can be replaced by your local plumber:

  • Washing machines & hoses
  • Dishwashers
  • Water Heaters
  • Toilets
  • Faucets

The possibility of a plumbing failure increases as materials age, which can result in expensive, and possibly extensive, emergency repairs. It’s always better to take preventative measures and replace outdated or older plumbing.