Plumbing: Consider the Age of Your Pipes

Across America, 5.1 percent of homes were built before 1800 and another 33.3 percent were built before 1900. The vast majority of homes, 45.6 percent, that people live in today were built between 1900 and 1945. Another 11.2 percent were built between 1946 and 1969. Only 2.9 percent of homes were built after 1970.If you live in a home that was built before 1969, then it may be time to replace your water pipes. Considering the type of pipe is a great way to know if it is time to replace your pipes before any problems occur.

Supply Pipes

Just like everything in life, pipes have an expected lifespan. Those pipes that carry water from the main water source to your home are called supply pipes. These pipes are usually brass, galvanized steel or copper. Look at your homeowner’s inspection report from when you brought your home and it will tell you what type of supply pipes are in your home. If you have brass or galvanized steel pipes, then you can expect them to last about 90 years. If you have copper pipes, then you can expect them to last about 75 years. You know that it is time to replace your pipes if you are close to that time.

Drain Pipes

The vast majority of pipes in your home are drain pipes. These pipes are usually either cast iron or PVC. If you have cast iron pipes, then you can expect them to last about 90 years. If you have PVC pipes, then you can expect them to last about 30 years.

Variables

There are two variables that can make your pipes wear out much faster than expected. The first is if you have naturally hard water in your area which is defined as having more than 10.5 grains of mineral per gallon of water. The second factor is high water pressure. If the water comes out too fast, then it can cause pipes to wear out sooner.

Polybutylene and Lead Pipes

If plumbing work was done on your home between 1978 and 1995, then you may have polybutylene pipes in your home. These pipes were supposed to be the best pipes known to man. Unfortunately, they are very prone to breaking. If you have them in your home, then expect to replace them soon. A few homes still have lead pipes in them. These pipes are extremely toxic and should be replaced immediately.

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