When Should You Replace Your Home’s Plumbing?

(2.5-min read)

When it comes to home maintenance, less is always preferred. However, there are instances when a dramatic repair or maintenance measure is necessary in order to avoid serious damage to the home. One area of home maintenance that most dread is the repair or replacing of the house’s plumbing. In this piece, we’re going to look at some of the telltale signs that your home is in need of new plumbing, what that process looks like, and lifespan of different styles of plumbing.

Sign Your Pipes May Need to be Replaced

Even though a leaking pipe is probably the most obvious signs of a need for a replacement, not all signs will be as easy to spot. Even pipe leaking may not be immediately evident.

  • Cracked or corroded pipes. If you’re fortunate enough to have immediate access to your pipes without the need for demolition, inspect them for cracks or corrosion. Even if small cracks or spots of rust do not seem wet or leaking, this can still be a sign that the pipe is in need of replacement or drastic repair.
  • Decreased water pressure. If you don’t feel like you’re receiving the kind of water pressure that you once did or that you should be receiving, this can be a sign that your pipes are leaking — even incrementally. If you’re not sure, consult a plumbing specialist to determine what your water pressure should be based on the pipes present. Compare these numbers against the output of your existing water pressure levels.
  • Water stains or damaged floors and walls. For pipes that are more hidden from sight, the surrounding materials can show signs of a leaking pipe. Though some warping and water stains can be the result of poor ventilation or other issues, they may also be from leaking pipes. Inspect the areas where you know pipes are present and check them for signs of water stains, damage, or rust. Also, inspect floors for warping and misshaped areas.

The Average Lifespan of Different Plumbing Materials

  • Brass: 40-50 years
  • Cast Iron: 75-100 years
  • PVC: Indefinitely
  • Galvanized Steel: 20-50 years

The Process of Replacing Old Plumbing

The process of replacing old or damaged plumbing varies depending on the structure. Some homes and commercial buildings may have access to plumbing via a basement, crawl-space, or access points in the walls. Other structures may require extensive selective demolition in order to replace older pipes. This selective demolition should always be performed by an experienced demolition professional in order to limit collateral damage to a home’s structure or other utility lines.