Replacing the pipes of your home can be a stressful decision. It’s a major renovation project, but if you don’t replace pipes that are close to failing, you can be looking at serious concerns for your house and health. You want to catch issues with corroded pipes early on, but you don’t want to overreact.
Luckily, there’s some simple criteria for how to diagnose old pipes and what to do from there. Here’s our handy guide.
To catch an issue with old, corroded pipes early you have to look for a few telltale warning signs. The first thing to always remember: an issue with pipe corrosion will always affect hot water first. If you’re noticing low water pressure on your hot water but not your cold, that’s a big red flag that you have an issue with old pipes.
Look out for frequent instances of normal plumbing issues. Does your toilet clog an above average amount? Are you constantly repairing leaky and dripping faucets? Is water draining slowly no matter what you do? These are all signs that you’re just dealing with the symptoms of a greater piping issue.
There are a few conditions that determine how likely a replacement is. First, do you have a record of the last time your pipes were replaced? If not, you’re going to need to make some estimations based on the age and history of your home. Commonly, homes constructed in the 60s or earlier are considered to be at huge risk for outdated plumbing. Replacement timelines vary by pipe material, but it commonly comes down to this:
- Brass pipes should be replaced every 80-100 years.
- Copper pipes should be replaced every 70-80 years.
- Galvanized steel pipes should be replaced every 80-100 years.
If you have volatile conditions around your home, like frequent earthquakes, unstable land, or several trees, you’re also looking at a higher likelihood of pipe deterioration.
Major Warning Signs
Brown or discolored water means that it is almost certainly time to replace your piping. This is a sign that corrosion has finally given way, and you’re getting a buildup of sediment and contamination in your water. It may even be so bad that you’ll get flecks of material like sediment – or even pipe metal itself – in your water. Before that ever happens, you should be paying careful attention to the taste of your water. Be on the lookout for an unnatural, metallic taste.
What to Do
If you notice any of these early warning signs, you have two options. First, if you have any access to your pipes – like through a crawl space – you can conduct a quick visual inspection. Look for anything out of the ordinary, like rust or leaks. You can also jump straight to contacting a plumbing professional.
If you notice any of the major warning signs, contact a professional immediately, and stop using all drinking water until they arrive.
If you’ve noticed these or any other issues with your plumbing, we’re here to help. We have the expertise and experience to quickly resolve any piping issue, big or small. Contact us today for a comprehensive inspection.