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Is It Time to Replace Your Home’s Plumbing System?

March 31, 2018 | Blog
Plumbing Components Arranged On House Plans

Your home’s plumbing system is essential to your overall comfort, covering everything from bathing/showering and washing dishes to washing your clothes and cooking. Here at Mission A/C and Plumbing, we’re dedicated to helping you understand as much as possible about your plumbing system, which is why we’d like to teach you more about how long your plumbing system lasts, signs to look out for that could indicate it’s time for a replacement and the basics of repipe plumbing.

The Lifespan of Residential Plumbing Systems

In regards to how long you can expect your home’s plumbing system to last before it’s time to consult with a professional plumbing repipe company, it boils down to the type of material your pipes are made from. For instance:

Galvanized steel water-supply pipes can last anywhere from 20 to 50 years. If you have these pipes in your home, it’s best that you plan to replace them as soon as possible. This is because they’re among the worst to have and haven’t been used since the 1960s. Rusting can take place from the inside out, or hard water deposits can lead to harmful buildup. You might already have noticed a weak water flow or spots of rust.

Copper water-supply pipes can last longer than 50 years and are a step up from galvanized steel. While copper pipes can corrode, they do so at a slower rate when compared to their steel counterparts. It’s the overall quality of your home’s water that determines just how long these pipes will last. Additionally, you have to bear in mind the fact that you want to ground copper piping, but not any appliances they flow to.

Cast iron waste pipes have been known to last as many as 50 to 60 years, but again, this can vary. One of the good things about having cast iron pipes is the fact that they can last quite a while before any rusting occurs.
PVC waste pipes have a lifespan of about 50 to 80 years. Black PVC, also known as ABS, is commonly found inside the home while PVC is used to connect the house to the street.

No matter what type of pipes you have in your residence, it’s best that you have them professionally inspected at least once a year so you know what kind of condition they’re in and if you should plan on getting a replacement plumbing system in the future. Additionally, ensuring you have soft water can also go a long way in preserving the life of your pipes, fixtures and plumbing system.

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Recognizing the Signs That It’s Time for a Replacement

Now that you have a better idea of how long your home’s pipes are likely to last, it’s time to learn more about the telltale signs that you might want to look into replacing worn-out plumbing. The first is having a leaky faucet. Even if the sound of the dripping alone doesn’t drive you crazy, letting it persist can run up your water bill more than you might realize. Before ripping out your entire plumbing system, though, you’ll want to check to see if a simple faucet replacement will do the trick.

Sinks that are slow to empty could have a lack of proper venting rather than an actual clog. Besides a slowly emptying sink, you might also notice reduced water pressure. Sometimes, proper venting when plumbing is first installed is skipped to save money, which is likely to only cost you later on.

A drain that refuses to become unclogged no matter how much baking soda and vinegar or snaking you use might have to be replaced. Rather than an actual clog, it could just be that the pipe has corroded and needs to be thrown out. Expert plumbing tech and repipe might be your only hope in this kind of situation.

Noxious smells are another indicator that you may need to replace at least part of your plumbing system. It could be that you have a broken or blocked sewer line that needs to be taken care of, or it just might be a water seal in the floor drain that’s causing the smell. If the stacks of your older home are either galvanized or cast iron, they would need to be replaced if you start smelling raw sewage.

Factors That Determine the Cost of Re-plumbing

If any of the above issues or anything else calls for the need to repipe your home and install a new system, one of your first questions is likely to be how much you can expect to spend. One factor is the number of fixtures you have in your home, such as:

  • Showers
  • Washing machines
  • Toilets
  • Sinks
  • Bathtubs

Every fixture will need to have a new incoming line and secondary drain, which inflates the cost of your replacement. What’s more is that gaining access to your fixtures might be easy or difficult, which also impacts your overall cost. The longer it takes to access the fixture, the more you can expect to pay.

The overall size of your home is something else to bear in mind when figuring out the total cost of repiping your home. Bigger homes are more labor and time intensive, and they also need more piping material than smaller homes. Also, two-story properties cost more because plumbers will have to work their way through the walls to get the job done.

Choose wisely when it comes to deciding on the type of material you’d like for your new pipes. While you may want to go with the least expensive option, you could end up paying more, in the long run, should a less dependable material break down earlier and have more problems than a better material choice. Talk with one of our technicians to explore your options, receive expert recommendations and see which is the best fit for your budget and overall desires.

Finally, something else that plays a part in how much your new plumbing system will cost is whether a permit is required to get the job done. If a contractor does need a permit before continuing with the project, that cost is added to your final bill. Also, local codes might have changed since your plumbing system was initially installed. If they have, you can expect to have to pay for that as well.

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to repiping your home to get your plumbing system back in working order. Mission A/C and Plumbing is here to help you get as many years as possible from your plumbing and fixtures. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or would like professional tips.

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