If you’re wondering how to know when you should repipe your house, there are a few key questions you need to ask:
Have the Pipes Surpassed the Average Lifespan?
The age of the pipes is one of the strongest indicators to determine whether or not repiping a house is necessary. The older the plumbing system, the higher the probability of corrosion and damage inflicted on a house. And how long a plumbing system functions properly depends predominantly on the material of the pipes; the average lifespan of different types of piping varies widely:
If your pipes are nearing the end of their lifespan or have surpassed it, it’s best to consider whole-house repiping. It’s also important to keep in mind that pipes can function for longer or shorter than the predicted lifespan depending on if they are well maintained or whether they are exposed to hard water (water heavy in mineral content) that accelerates corrosion. If the pipes have not reached the end of their lifespan yet have been subjected to harsh conditions, repiping may be necessary.
Are the Pipes Made of Lead, Polybutylene, or Galvanized Steel?
No matter if the pipes are well maintained, if your plumbing system is made of lead, polybutylene, or galvanized steel, then they should be completely replaced. These piping materials are largely found in older houses and pose significant issues to your health and your home:
- Lead Pipes: Used in the early 1900s, lead pipes were the common choice for plumbing systems in houses until it was discovered they leach lead into the drinking water, causing lead poisoning. If lead pipes are present in your house, then repiping is absolutely necessary.
- Polybutylene Pipes: Prevalent from the 1970s through the 1990s, polybutylene pipes are a form of plastic resin that is extremely susceptible to damage. The danger of polybutylene pipes lies with the high risk of failure and severe damage that could be done to your house as the pipes break and leak. It is strongly recommended to replace this type of piping.
- Galvanized Steel Pipes: This material increased in popularity after World War II and remained in use through the 1960s and 1970s. Covered in a layer of impure zinc, galvanized steel pipes can potentially release lead along with other harmful chemicals into the water supply as they corrode. Read more about galvanized steel pipes, the dangers they pose, and why they should be replaced with PEX.
Are You Experiencing Constant Plumbing Problems?
If your plumber is on speed dial, it’s a clear sign repiping is needed. Experiencing frequent leaks or other issues associated with old and corroded pipes is a headache that requires time and money to repair. Whole-house repiping may be necessary to completely resolve the plumbing problems.
There are a handful of common issues that are usually present if it is time to replace your plumbing system. If you are experiencing any of the following problems in your house that require constant maintenance, it may be time for a repipe:
- Leaking Pipes: Several things can cause pipes to leak. If the primary issue is localized to just one area of the house, then it may simply be a singular pipe or joint segment that needs to be replaced. However, if leaking pipes are a problem all over and there are issues such as corrosion or water discoloration, then repiping your entire house is likely necessary.
- Low Water Pressure: Water pressure should maintain a consistent state over time. However, if you have noticed the pressure decreasing, then you may have an issue with your pipes, and they may be due for a replacement.
- Pipe Corrosion: Assess the condition of your pipes by looking for corrosion damage and signs of rust. If either of these are clearly noticeable, then it is time to repipe your house.
- Rust-colored Water: The color of water can be a great indicator as to the condition of the pipes. An example is pipes that turn red in color when they are rusting, and corrosion is taking place. If there is discoloration in water when you turn on the faucet, that eventually becomes clear, there could be serious damage or corrosion in the interior sections of the pipe, and it is most likely time for repiping.
- Extreme Temperature Changes: When adjusting the handle of a faucet, if there is a disproportionate change in temperature of the water when more than one outlet is in use, it may be an indication that pipes need to be replaced.
- Noises Coming from Pipes: Older pipes will often sound creaky or loud. If your piping system is creating more noise than what is usual, then it most likely needs updating.
- Off Smell in Water: Water that tastes or smells poor can be a strong indicator of pipes that are deteriorating. This may indicate a singular, larger problem or a few smaller issues. Regardless, it is time for a repipe.
Contact a Repipe Specialist to Replace Your Pipes
If you answer “yes” to these questions, then you should consider repiping your house:
- Have your pipes surpassed the average lifespan?
- Are your pipes made of lead, polybutylene, or galvanized steel?
- Are you experiencing constant plumbing problems?
The next step is to contact the professionals to inspect your house. They’ll be able to assess the state of the plumbing system, determine what needs to be replaced, and calculate how much the repiping will cost. Let our Houston repipe specialists make sure your home is up to date and up to code. Contact us today.