Like most manufactured items, your pipes also have an expiration date. All pipes age differently depending on the quality, the conditions and their usage. Pipes are prone to corrosion, rust and decay. But how would you know? Here are five ways to know when it’s time to get your pipes replaced.
You should know (or find out) what material pipes are installed in your home. Different materials face different problems and have different life expectancies. Here are some of the main materials and their average lifespan:
- Galvanized steel: 20 – 50 years
- Brass: 40 – 45 years
- Copper: Over 50 years
- Cast Iron: 75 – 100 years
- PVC: Indefinitely
The colour of corrosion
When pipes get really corroded, it’s hard to miss the signs. The water will smell and taste metallic (FYI: tasting it is NOT an option), it will be the colour of rust and sometimes will even have reddish-orange flecks floating in it.
Leaks can be due to many reasons but they are also a sign that your pipes are worn out and not as strong and sturdy as they used to be. Some leaks are not very obvious so look for stains, discoloration and mildew on the walls. Check the ceiling of the rooms under any bathroom or sink and even check the wall under the sink.
Some noises when water passes through pipes are normal but if the noises are louder than usual or very different, it could be a sign that your pipes are severely worn out and need some attention.
Low water pressure
This is another indicator that there are some leaks somewhere and the water is escaping and pooling elsewhere. This kind of pooling can cause other structural problems with the house if ignored.
An increased water bill can also be a sign of plumbing problems so look out for that.
When you figure out your pipes have issues, you then have to decide whether to repair or replace. Repairing will be cheaper and take up less time and effort. But if the problem is very serious, you will need to replace the whole thing. A good time to replace is when you are renovating your bathroom or kitchen.