If your home is older than 30 or 40 years, chances are that it will require some serious maintenance in order to keep in top shape. Read on to find about the common plumbing issues in older homes.
One of the biggest issues in older homes is certainly plumbing. That is not to say that plumbing back then was bad, it’s simply due to the fact that things decay over time.
We consulted plumbers from California, OneStop Plumbers to share some of their professional observations about the most common plumbing problems that plague old houses.
Old Pipes Can Cause Problems
Using pipes of galvanized steel or copper was a standard practice in the past, and is still practiced in certain places. These materials are durable, they don’t dissolve into the water that passes through them, which makes them a pretty good choice for water pipes.
However, over time, even these materials degrade and become a problem rather than assets. Most plumbers agree that these types of pipes can safely be used for at least 40 years, and can go up to 70 years if the conditions are just right.
How to Know if You Need to Change the Pipes
If your home has copper or galvanizes steel pipes, and they’ve been in your home for a long time, it pays to be careful and mindful when using them. If you experience more than one leak over the course of a year, you should have a pipe inspection done to determine the state of the system.
Even if you don’t notice a leak, your pipe system might be failing out of sight. If you experience fluctuations in the water pressure, it may be a sign of more serious problems. A buildup of limescale or other minerals in your pipes might obstruct the full width of the pipe putting additional strain on the system.
Old Sewer Lines Cause Problems, Too
Even if your water pipes are fully functional, your old home still has one important plumbing system that you need to take good care of – the sewer lines. You don’t want to have sewer line problems in your home, let that be clear. The noxious smell of a grey/black water spill is unpleasant, but it can also be a disease vector.
Sewer lines in older homes tended to be built out of two materials – clay or cast iron. If your home has clay pipes, the life expectancy of your system is around 50 years. Cast iron is more durable with around 70 years of use. Naturally, both of these time frames are dependent on no physical damage occurring, like a tree root causing damage to the pipes or some construction works shifting the pipes or outright damaging them.
Is Your Old Toilet Wasteful?
Plumbing fixtures such as toilets can last for a very long time – porcelain is quite durable and doesn’t wear over time. However, there are some slightly subtler ways manufacturers of bathroom fixtures might sway you to buy a new toilet – wasting water.
Namely, in the past, it was customary for the water tanks of the toilet to have as much as 3, 3.5 gallons of water expended for each flush. More modern designs, particularly those geared towards more ecologically aware customers have cut that water expenditure down to 1.6 or even 1.1 gallons with roughly the same flushing power.
That’s half the water usage of the old models. Consider how many times the toilet is flushed at your home per annum and cut the cost in half – just for the price of a new and modern toilet.
Old homes certainly have their charm, but it pays to be careful with them. Knowing what aspects of your home need to be taken care of in order to avoid serious issues in older homes and expenses for repairs further down the line.