Common Plumbing Problems You May Find in Old Homes
Congratulations! You just bought a home, and it is full of vintage charm and, most likely, old plumbing. Or, maybe you already live in an older home and have taken the plunge into plumbing repairs! Either way, this can be a daunting task. Older homes often still have original or outdated plumbing that can cause varying degrees of damage to your home. Here are the top five plumbing problems you may find in your old home:
Old homes are bound to have had repairs, and some of those may have been DIY projects done by amateur handymen or homeowners. For the untrained eye they may be hard to spot, which is why you should always hire a licensed plumber to inspect the home for these potentially dangerous and expensive repairs.
Old Fixtures and Connections
Old faucets, line connections and other fixtures are all susceptible to corrosion. These can cause restricted water flow, leaks, and brokens knobs that can be costly to repair once broken. If you know you have old fixtures in your home it is best to contact a licensed plumber to assess their condition.
Pipes with Outdated Materials
Most homes built before the 1990s are likely to have pipes made of materials that are no longer recommended by licensed plumbers, and may even be banned from use in homes completely. For example:
Lead pipes were used extensively in homes before the invention of blasting furnaces capable of casting rion. Materials like lead are highly toxic to humans. It is best to replace these for the health of those living in the home. Also be weary of lead fittings on copper pipes, as these are common in older homes.
Galvanized pipes were commonly used for water lines in homes built before the 1960s. They are made of iron and coated with a layer of zinc, which over time will erode leaving the iron pipe to rust, causing blockage, and eventually the corrosion of the pipe. Most people replace galvanized pipes as needed, only replacing portions that have deteriorated.
Polybutylene pipes, found in homes built from the 1970s to 1990s, are made of a plastic resin that was much cheaper than the copper pipes before it. It is thought that the plastic and oxidants in water create a chemical reaction that leads to the breakdown of the pipe.
Pipe bellies, or sags, happen underneath homes. They are caused by the gradual shift of homes over time. Eventually the shifting causes a negative slope in the pipes, and a belly is formed when water movement is restricted and the water or soil to builds up, sometimes to the point of blockages or leaks.
Sewer Line Fails
In homes with cast iron piping that is 25 years or older, sewer line failures are common. If you have cast iron pipes in your home, it is best to replace them before a failure, which can be pricey. However, some signs you have sewer line failure are sewage backups, sewer odor, mold, slow draining, extra green grass on your lawn, indentations on your lawn, cracks in your foundation, septic waste pooling in your yard, rodents, and bug infestations.
If you suspect you have any of these issues in your home, you should contact a professional plumber to assess the situation.