Unless you live in a recently built home, there’s a chance that your plumbing system may be outdated and due for upgrades. Sure, in most cases, these systems are built to last for years, but don’t forget that time does pass us by, and it will leave its mark. As pipes age, they suffer from the elements just like everything else in our homes, resulting in rust, corrosion and eventually, disrepair.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to live in fear of constant leaks or of raw sewage flowing under your floors. But, if you do have an older system, you need to know what to look out for that could indicate it’s time for maintenance and upgrades. So, before catastrophe strikes, look for these five signs:
- Water Discoloration – The only time your water should ever be anything other than clear is if you live in a rural area, have well water or are under a boil water advisory due to known contaminants. Discolored water is usually cause for concern, as it’s the result of corrosion in your pipes. Water turns brown or dark in color when it contains rust that its picked up from running through worn pipes. More than a health concern, if left untreated, these mineral deposits can clog your pipes and build up pressure. And, unfortunately, if the pressure remains, your pipes will eventually burst, causing disastrous damage. So, if you notice these signs of rust or corrosion, your pipes need immediate attention.
- Low Water Pressure – It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact problem when it comes to experiencing low water pressure. The problem may simply be due to a clog, or it could mean that your pipes have leaks that are reducing the water pressure. If the underlying problem is due to leaks, then you have to worry about them causing damage to your foundation and framing. You’re likely to also experience wood rot and mold. If you think your drop in water pressure may simply be due to a clog, then try using an ordinary drain cleaner to alleviate the problem. But, if it persists, then it’s time to call in a trained professional.
- Dated Pipe Material – The type of materials that were used for your home’s plumbing system will depend on when it was built. Most modern systems use brass, copper or PVC pipes, but older homes used cast iron, galvanized steel and lead. Of course, regardless of the material used, all of these plumbing products have a lifespan that you should be well aware of so that you’re better able to gauge when upgrades may be necessary. For example, brass, cast iron and galvanized steel pipes have a lifespan of 80 to 100 years; copper will last 70 to 80 years; and PVC only lasts about 24 to 40 years. Now, lead pipes, regardless of age, are an entirely different story, as this material is highly toxic if consumed. If you don’t know what material you’re plumbing system was built with, it’s best to find out so that you can take the proper preventive measures.
- Exposed Pipes – With homes that are 60 years or older, there’s a pretty good chance that there are exposed pipes somewhere in the home. If you’re not sure where to start looking, typically, pipes will run through the basement or underneath your home (look in the crawl space). Check these areas, as they can provide some insight into the condition of the pipes in your home. You’re looking for discoloration, flaking, bumps, dimpling and anything else that seems out of the ordinary.
- Moisture Accumulation – As you check throughout your home for exposed pipes, you’ll also want to look for pools of water or pipes that show signs of moisture accumulation. This is a sure sign of corrosion or pipes that aren’t sealing correctly. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean your system requires a total plumbing overhaul, but some pipes will probably need to be adjusted and tightened. If, however, you find significant leakage, then it’s time to seriously consider an upgrade.
Even if your pipes are in good working order, remember that it’s always best to keep an annual maintenance routine to ensure that you catch catastrophes before they happen. And, whatever you do, don’t wait to upgrade your plumbing system until it’s too late. Instead, call our team of trained, experienced professionals at Tritan to handle all of your plumbing needs.