Failure of any portion of your home’s plumbing can lead to major property damage and loss of furnishings.
Piping and pipe connections often fail due to age, lack of maintenance, major fluctuations in temperature, faulty components or low-quality installations. Much of your home’s piping is concealed beneath concrete and behind walls.
Being aware of the expected life cycle of your plumbing means any indications of failure around that period can be a helpful signal to homeowners that it’s time to replace the home’s plumbing.
Some issues can be addressed by the home owner, while others may require a professional plumbing repair service. If you do find yourself needing a Perth plumber, AllSealedWA has you covered!
Assess your home’s plumbing to determine what type of piping material is installed in the home. The range of materials commonly used have varying life expectancies, and pose different problems.
When you purchased your home, an appraisal or inspection report would have detailed the type of piping material present. For instance, historic homes used clay, which deteriorates much more quickly than modern materials.
Each pipe material has a lifespan:
- Copper: 50+ years
- Brass: 40 to 45 years
- Cast Iron: 75 to 100 years
- Galvanized Steel: 20 to 50 years
- PVC Piping: lasts indefinitely
While these long-life cycles look impressive, you also need to consider pipe joints, fittings, and mechanical components that connect plumbing to household fixtures. Leaks and water backups can arise from aged or faulty fixtures, and compromised connections.
Signs of failing plumbing
The most obvious signs your home has a plumbing problem are pipe cracks, corrosion or leaks from the piping. Other potential signs of plumbing issues include wet baseboards or area behind dishwasher or sinks, water-stained or warped flooring, and rust-coloured water tubing that may indicate leaking or corroding pipes.
Less obvious signs can be discovered through an inspection of crawl spaces and enclosed areas. If dampness or mould is revealed, be aware these are symptoms of a leaking pipe.
Low water pressure can indicate a clogged drain, or a leak downstream from the fixture. A gurgling or rattling sound from your piping may be a sign of a pipe blockage trapping air.
Slow-moving drains are best addressed earlier rather than later. They should always be cleared with a drain cleaner or plumber’s “snake,” as this issue indicates a blockage in the pipeline.
Repair or replace?
The good news is dislodging material in blocked pipes, replacing faulty fixtures and pipe connectors, and even replacing faulty exposed pipes are all projects that don’t require a residential plumbing contractor.
Keep in mind when the problem is not due to exposed piping, but piping concealed underground or behind a wall, demolition and floor/wall repairs are also likely to be required.
A good rule of thumb is to replace plumbing when you renovate your kitchen, bathroom or basement. You can keep the cost low by replacing only the exposed piping, if there are no other signs of leaking water.
However, if walls are being removed during the renovation process, inspect hidden pipes and joints to determine if they should be fixed or replaced while there is easy access. Just in case your project leads to a more complicated situation, keep a good plumber’s contact information handy.