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When Aging Pipes Fail: How to Repair and Replace Plumbing in an Old Home

Although plumbing pipes from metals last extremely long, they cannot last indefinitely. While modern homes usually rely on modern plumbing pipe materials like PVC and other plastics, older homes usually have brass, iron, copper, and steel pipes installed, which can last between 20 and 100 years, depending on the material and environment.

So, if you are dealing with an old home, you must know the right way to repair these pipes since the job can be a little different from repairing or replacing these pipes in newer homes.

When do you know that the aging pipes are close to failure?

Before a plumbing system of even a single pipe fails, you get signs from the plumbing body. These tell you about the health of your plumbing body. So, if you want to know about the aging pipes at an old home, check for the following things.

1.      Leaking pipes

If anything in your plumbing body shows any signs of leakage, then it is a sign that you need to call a professional. That leakage may come from a plumbing fixture, a joint between pipes, or even from the middle of the pipe, and that is because aging pipes cannot handle high water pressure.

2.      Discolored water with odor

Not only do you need to avoid using any water that has a color in it and comes with an odor. It is a straight indication of rusting and corrosion inside your pipes. So, if you ever see this sign, you must repair or replace pipes. In some homes, this sign shows occasionally.

3.      Low pressure

Low pressure from some taps and faucets while other ones give full pressure means that there has been some mineral buildup inside the pipes or the plumbing fixtures. Since there is no solution to this problem, you can only choose to replace the plumbing pipes and fixtures.

4.      Slow drainage

Drains can also tell about aging pipes. If a point takes too long to drain or does not unclog, it is a sign of extreme corrosion and blockage. It is usually because of the roots of trees seeping inside the pipes and creating blockage. So, replacing such pipes is the only right solution.

How to Repair and Replace Plumbing in an Old Home

Repairing or replacing plumbing pipes in an old home is a little complex, but with your technicalities straight, the process can become simple for you. Here is a thorough process that you can follow for repairing or replacing pipes in old homes.

1.      Check if repairing or replacing pipes is essential.

First, you need to check any of the signs discussed in the above sections. The process also involves checking the intensity and frequency of this problem in old homes. Higher frequency means replacing pipes, while lower ones can be dealt with by repairing that specific section.

2.      Get the price estimation.

Since you are working at an old home, getting the price estimation beforehand is essential. It is because the cost of a project can go above the budget sometimes, so an estimation gives everyone a rough ideation of what they will need to spend for the job.

3.      Select the right materials considering the old home

In most old homes, you will find metallic pipes to be the primary choice for plumbing purposes. However, today, more efficient, cheaper, and long-lasting alternatives are available. The use case of those materials differs, and you must select the right material according to the use case.

4.      Remove old and install new pipes.

After the previous three steps, you must carefully remove the old pipes. Every type of pipe and its respective joint type will take a different way to remove the pipe. It is the part where you need to be patient and trust the process.

The biggest risk in replacing or repairing plumbing in an old home

Replacing or repairing the plumbing pipes in an old home comes with some benefits, but a few risk factors are involved in the process. The biggest risk is doing damage to the property. It is because old homes usually seem stronger than they usually are.

So, even a little impact on the structure can lead to bigger damage. Another risk factor is the project cost going too high. It is always a better choice to have over 25% more of the estimated budget for the job for reliability and peace of mind.

Why should you replace aging pipes in old homes instead of repairing them?

Even when repairing seems right, if you are working on an old home with a plumbing body giving aging signs, you must go for replacement. It will also bring you many benefits, including:

1.      Better plumbing efficiency

The older pipes lose their efficiency with time. They sometimes become unfit for the new appliances, which risks the whole system. With new pipes based on the latest standards, you can improve the overall efficiency of your plumbing body, including the flow of water, hot water usage, etc.

2.      Fewer chances of property damage

Installing new pipes before the old ones completely fail is a way of saving money. If the old pipes fail, there will be a chance of damaging your property in many ways. That’s not the case when you replace these pipes beforehand. So, with a small investment, you will save in the long term.

3.      Extended plumbing lifespan and reliability

Lastly, you can enjoy the reliability and longer lifespan of the plumbing pipes. Even if these won’t last indefinitely, the new pipes will surely give you peace of mind that they will last between 50 and 100 years, depending on the pipe type.

Final Words

The thing about working in old homes for plumbing pipe replacement or repairing jobs is that not only is the pipe old, but the house is old as well. So, there is always a risk of property damage which can cost you hefty amounts. However, if you take the right measures at the right time, you will learn about these pipes’ replacement or repair needs, making things much better for planning and acting accordingly.

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