When Should I Replace My Old Plumbing?
Your home’s extensive plumbing network is essential to you and your family’s daily comfort — from taking a hot shower in the morning to doing the laundry and cooking dinner at the end of the day. Many homeowners might assume their home’s plumbing will naturally function and perform smoothly and reliably as long as the house is still standing. While having quality plumbing fixtures and pipes that function indefinitely would be ideal and less hassle, depending on the plumbing materials your home has, its age, environment and regular maintenance upkeep, they could need replacement.
Failing pipes and plumbing are not only inconvenient, but if unaddressed, they can lead to significant and costly property damage such as severe water damage. Knowing the expected lifespan of your plumbing and understanding the signs of plumbing failure can help local homeowners know when it’s time to replace household plumbing.
How Long Do Residential Plumbing Systems Last?
The pipes and plumbing snaking throughout your home won’t last forever, but with regular care and maintenance, most pipe materials can perform for several decades before showing signs of wear and still need a replacement. Take a look throughout your home and determine which materials your pipes are crafted from — depending on the plumbing materials, any issues may indicate a simple repair need or show the pipes are nearing the end of their usable expectancy.
The lifespan for the most common residential plumbing systems are:
- Brass: 40 to 70 years
- Copper: 50 or more years
- Galvanized steel: 20 to 50 years
- Cast iron: 75 to 100 years
- Polyvinyl chloride: Indefinitely
While most of these materials have long lifespans, it’s also important to consider pipe joints, fittings and other components connecting your plumbing and fixtures that may be faulty and causing leaks, clogs and other plumbing issues.
What’s the Average Plumbing Life Cycle?
Along with the materials used, the average plumbing system’s life cycle will depend on each individual part, including:
- Water heaters: 12-year average life cycle
- Garbage disposals: 10-year average life cycle
- Toilet flappers: Five-year average life cycle
- Water softeners: 20-year average life cycle
In addition, toilets manufactured after 1992 need to flush on 1.6 GPF or less, or it’s time to replace them. Once you are aware of the life expectancy of your plumbing system, you will better understand when to replace your old plumbing and avoid major problems.
When to Replace Your Home’s Plumbing
Once you better understand the materials of your plumbing and its performance expectations, you should also know the common signs of failing plumbing and when to replace toilet pipes, leaking faucets, slow drains and other plumbing fixtures. The following are signs it’s time to replace your home’s plumbing:
- Discolored water: Water with an unusual color or brownish tint typically indicates pipe corrosion, and your water supply is likely carrying rust particles that can cause water discoloration.
- Water with an odor: Avoid using any water with a strange odor, which could indicate significant bacteria buildup inside pipes or mold growth in your pipes and drains.
- Leaking pipes or fixtures: Note any obvious leaks like a broken fixture or damp spaces behind walls or around major appliances. Also, look at your water bill and see if it’s been creeping up the past few months — while you may get away with simply replacing a damaged faucet, you may need a pipe replacement.
- Slow drainage: If you have a drain that refuses to unclog no matter how many cleaning agents and snakes you use, then it could be extremely corroded and need replacement.
- Low water pressure: Persistent poor water pressure could indicate a clogged water pipe somewhere in your system, a leak downstream from the fixture or reveal a leaking pipe.
Experiencing an Issue With Your Plumbing? Contact Ranck Plumbing, Heating and AC Today
When you notice unusual plumbing performance or suspect it’s time to replace your plumbing, work with the experienced and knowledgeable plumbing experts at Ranck Plumbing, Heating & AC. With our plumbing repair and replacement technicians, residents throughout the Lancaster, PA, area are assured exceptional quality, safe and controlled services and unmatched value. Learn more about our plumbing repair solutions and replacement services today by calling 717-397-2577 or scheduling an appointment online.