Plumbing is one of the most vital systems in any household, and when damaged, it can massively destroy your property. Pipes and plumbing fixtures can fail due to old age, lack of maintenance, faulty connections, and significant temperature fluctuations. Considering that some plumbing lays beneath the wall, it can be challenging to know when to replace them. If you have used your plumbing system for a while, use this guide to determine if it’s time to upgrade.
1. If You Live in an Old Home With Outdated Plumbing
It’s essential that you understand the average lifespan of different plumbing fixtures in your house to know when they need replacement. Check the type of piping materials in your home. Brass pipes can last for about 40 to 45 years, copper can last up to 50 years, and cast iron has a lifespan of 75 to 100 years. If your house has galvanized steel pipes, they can last for 20 to 50 years, while PVC can serve you for up to 80 years.
Showerheads have a life expectancy of about 100 years, yet they are the most-replaced bathroom fixtures. People tend to go for the newest models with better water flow, efficiency, and design. Unless the showerhead has a persistent leaking or clogging problem, you can use it for years.
If you have an acrylic sink basin, it can serve you for half a century. Like the showerheads, the toilet can last for 100 years, but some parts need frequent replacements. Replace the toilet bowl once it cracks. Replace the handle if you have to jiggle it to stop water from running. You might also need an upgrade if the toilet fails to flush completely. The wax seal can last 20 to 30 years.
Change the faucets after a few years, especially if you have an outdated style and you want those with water-saving features. Replace the washing machine supply hoses after three years, and keep an eye on signs of cracks or bubbling. You can use garbage disposals for about 10 years, provided that you use them properly. Replace your garbage disposal if you experience frequent clogs or odors or if you have to reset if it often.
2. When You Notice Reduced Water Pressure
A decrease in water pressure is an indication of some underlying issues within your plumbing system. It can happen due to leaks and clogs, which limit water flow. If you have steel pipes, they might degrade with age, narrowing the diameter, which reduces water pressure. Other times, water pressure can decrease if the demand has become too high. It can also be due to an issue with your main water supply. However, if you experience reduced water pressure in your house for a prolonged period, then it might be time to upgrade your plumbing.
3. If You Notice Discoloration in Your Water
Another sign that you should replace your plumbing is when the faucets produce discolored water. If the water seems yellow, orange, or red, this indicates rust within the plumbing system. A blackish color in your water signifies microorganism growth within the lines, which is very dangerous. Blue-greenish water indicates the presence of copper. When water stands for long in copper pipes, sometimes the metal may dissolve, producing a tint. The green color also indicates the presence of algae. Drinking discolored water can cause adverse health effects. Give it a day or two to see whether the color will disappear and if it fails to, then it’s time to update your plumbing.
4. When You See Signs of Water Damage
Wet spots on your walls, floor, or ceiling indicate a leak. A leak may seem like a minor problem that doesn’t call for a total replacement of your plumbing. However, it will depend on the nature of the leak and the location. Keep in mind that when ignored, a minor leak can quickly expand due to the water pressure. The moist environment weakens your house’s structural integrity and can damage your items, leading to more expenses.
If the leak is due to a dripping faucet showerhead or loose connection, you can solve it by repairing and tightening the fixtures. Other times, a leak occurs when the plumbing is too old to keep up with pressure. It could also be due to pipe decay, especially for those behind the wall or underground. Any issue that causes water waste calls for a plumbing upgrade.
5. In Case of Frequent Clogs
A toilet or sink clog can happen from time to time, but you should consider upgrading your plumbing if the problem keeps reoccurring. While you can quickly clear blockages like soap and scum build-up in some cases, the slow drain usually points to a more significant problem. Sometimes clogs can happen due to poor venting in the pipes. Plants and tree roots can also grow into your underground pipes, causing a blockage. If you use chemical drain cleaners often, they may corrode the drain lines, resulting in rust build-up that causes slow drains. The best way to solve such issues is by replacing your plumbing.
6. When You Notice Unusual Odors Coming From the Drain
If you notice sewer-like smells from your water, it could be a sign of bacteria action in the drain. When organic matter like soap, hair, and food waste accumulates in the drain wall, bacteria can grow and produce an awful smell. You can clear this by using baking soda, vinegar, and hot water. However, if the problem keeps reappearing, consider upgrading your plumbing.
Other times, the sewer-like smell can come from the sewer line, and this can be dangerous. In case of broken sewer lines and major blockages, consider updating your plumbing. Knocking sounds in the wall signify loose connections on the pipes or irregular changes in pressure. If you call a plumber to repair the issue, but the problem reoccurs, consider upgrading your plumbing.
7. In Case of Insufficiently Hot Water
If your water heater produces cold or insufficiently hot water, there could be a problem. A broken dip tube, sediment build-up, and a faulty heating system can cause the heater to produce cold water. Traditional water heaters can last for about 10 to 15 years. If you are using an energy-efficient tankless water heater, upgrade it after 20 years. Also, replace the water heater if the thermostat breaks, once you notice issues with the pilot light or circuit breaker, or if it’s rusted.
Request for Professional Plumbing Upgrades Today
The type of plumbing materials, installation, and frequency of use will determine how long your system will last. Generally, well-maintained plumbing will last longer than neglected plumbing, so have an experienced plumber service your plumbing system regularly to fix issues as soon as they occur. This will prolong the lifespan of your plumbing system and save you money in the long run.
If you feel that your plumbing needs upgrading, don’t hesitate to contact Rite Way Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. Our company provides leak detection, drain cleaning, touchless faucets, tankless water heater installation, and re-piping services. We also offer heating systems and AC installation, repair, and maintenance services in Tucson, AZ, and the surrounding areas. Get in touch with us and try out our services.