If you live in an older home, you may need to replace your pipes. Issues with leaks, discolored water, or obvious corrosion means a call to the plumber is in order. Replacing them now may save you money in the future.
Your pipes are meant to last for decades, but a variety of factors can either lengthen or shorten the life of your plumbing. In general, brass, galvanized steel, and cast iron pipes should last for 80–100 years, while copper should work from 70–100 years. Even PVC pipes can last between 25–40 years. Pipes can actually last longer than these estimates, but if they are not well maintained, they may need to be replaced sooner. Hard water can also shorten the lifespan of your plumbing.
You have a pipe problem if you observe the following signs:
- Leaking pipes. Even one leak can be bad news since all your pipes are probably the same age. If one is bad, chances are the rest of them are problematic as well.
- Discolored water. If your water looks brown or yellow when it comes out of the pipe, your pipes may be rusty, a bad sign for their overall health.
- Corrosion. If the pipes you can see, such as the ones in a basement or crawl space, are flaking, discolored, or "dimpling," your pipes probably need to be replaced.
Replacing your pipes will not be inexpensive, but you can do several things to ease the pain. First, consult with your plumber about what action needs to be taken. Then consider replacing the exposed pipes first to see if that corrects your problem. Since these pipes are easy to access, the labor costs are not as high. In some homes, most of your pipes will be exposed. For a 1,500-square-foot home with two bathrooms, experts estimate that you will pay between $2000–$6000 dollars for this update. If you have a renovation planned, replace any of the plumbing that will be exposed then. Even if you think your pipes have several more years in them, you will save yourself money, maybe thousands of dollars, by replacing them during the remodel.
Your pipes are surprisingly durable, but they cannot last forever. If you notice leaks, discolored water, or corrosion, consult with a plumber to see if pipe replacement is in order. He can work with you to make the replacement process as economical as possible, particularly if you are planning a remodel anyway. Visit A Absolute Plumbing & Heating for more information.