A home’s piping system can last nearly a century, depending on the model. So, it’s typically overlooked during maintenance. However, about 10% of homes have pipes that are causing leaks of up to 90 gallons a day.
That’s close to 40,000 gallons a year! In places like California or drier climates, that could be costing you a boatload.
You should always be on the lookout for pipe damages. These are the 5 signs it’s time for a pipe replacement.
1. Low Water Pressure
This is probably the first thing you’ll notice. Low water pressure is obvious in a shower.
It could also be a problem with your water heater, so don’t rule that out. If the water pressure loss is sudden, it’s likely a result of a malfunctioning heater.
But if the water pressure is gradually decreasing, it’s a strong indication of a leak. As time progresses, the leak will grow. A larger leak will result in a more severe loss of pressure.
2. A New Tint of Color
You may have noticed your glass of water has a strange hue to it. It’s usually from corroded pipes. Don’t drink it!
You can tell a lot about the leak depending on the color of the water. A blue tint means your water is laced with a copper solution. Brown, orange, and other colors may indicate rusting or oxidized metals.
If the water clears up on its own, it’s not a matter of concern.
3. Clogs (Not for Dancing)
If the water is having trouble draining or there are constant clogs, you may need to replace pipes. Over time, pipes are susceptible to change in shape. Temperature differentials and different shifts can cause pipes to become misaligned.
4. Leaks and Water Damage
Depending on how the house was designed, you may be able to see the pipes. A very obvious sign of impending repair is a leak.
However, most architects design houses to obscure where pipes are. If you’ve noticed dark patches, water stains, or warping, it’s a serious sign of an unchecked leak. You may need to replace the wall entirely, too.
It could also be an easy replacement. Look for banjo fittings at a maintenance store near you or online.
5. Overdue for a Pipe Replacement
Pipes come in various different shapes and forms. Depending on the material used, some need more maintenance and replacing more frequently. If you’re lucky, you have PVC piping in your household — you won’t have to worry about old pipes.
- Steel can last up to 50 years
- Brass needs replacing after 40
- Iron (cast) piping’s lifetime is almost a century
- Copper is good for a half-century
You may not know what kind of piping is in your house. Many homes have available blueprints from its builder. Ask about what’s inside your walls.
Not Just a Pipe Dream
You could be saving a tremendous amount of money by doing a pipe replacement. Look out for the signs.
If you’ve noticed a lack of pressure or a change in color, get them replaced. Clogs and leaks are also a good indication of needing repair. Some materials last longer than others, too.
Are you planning on redoing your plumbing? Check out our other articles on home maintenance and upkeep.