If you live in an older home, you’re probably well aware of the age-related issues that present themselves every now and again. As a small price to pay for the beautiful character and uniqueness of the space, it’s important to ensure that you’re taking proper care of your biggest investment. For older houses, especially those 20+ years in age, the likelihood of running into issues related to roofing, heating, or plumbing is rather high. In this article, we’re going to discuss the top plumbing problems in old homes, offering you insights into the potential issues and tactics for mitigating their damage.
Common Plumbing Problems
If you run into bad plumbing troubles in your aged home, it’s likely that the cause is one of the following culprits. Although some will be easier to diagnose and fix than others, the following list should provide enough information to accurately assess the trouble and provide you with a path forward.
1. Old Pipe Materials
Any homes built pre-1990 may still have old pipes that no longer meet building code requirements. This is due to a changing standard over time and recent scientific studies that have begun to shape our view on the quality of various bad plumbing materials. If your home was renovated recently, this may not be of concern. If not, however, you should be on the lookout for the following materials:
- Lead – Lead was an incredibly effective, affordable building material in the early-to-mid 1900’s, however, it was found to be incredibly toxic, leading to a variety of serious health concerns such as gastrointestinal pain and memory loss.
- Galvanized – Typically used in homes built pre-1960, these zinc-coated iron pipes have been proven to break down and corrode over time. This can lead to serious flooding risks, and they should be replaced prior to complete degradation.
- Polybutylene – These high-grade plastic pipes provided a very affordable approach to home plumbing in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Unfortunately, the plastic material deteriorates when exposed to particular water oxidants, and can pollute the water flowing through. It’s highly recommended that these piped be replaced before serious deterioration occurs.
2. Pipe Bellies
Pipes installed underneath your home, often buried or encased in a concrete slab, are only effective for so long. They are often altered by the gradual shifting and moving of the house over time, these movements often creating negative slopes, or “bellies”, that restrict water flow and cause pooling. Left untreated over extended periods of time, these bellies can lead to water stoppages or major leaks. If you’re experiencing issues with pipe bellies, you may be able to take advantage of trenchless pipe bursting repair. That said, this is a fix that you’ll want the support of an expert on.
3. Failing Sewer Lines
Although rarely considered when working well, sewer lines can wreak havoc should they cease to function as needed. Older homes were not designed to accommodate most modern appliances (dishwashers, garbage disposals, and the like) alongside multiple toilets and faucets, and this combination can quite easily overwhelm the outdated systems in place. This overwhelming can often result in sewage seeping into the ground or wastewater backing up into the home, neither of which is remotely pleasant.
To solve this problem, you’ll want to opt for a trenchless sewer line replacement. This is often a single-day fix that requires no extensive pipe digging, but it is a project that will require expert support.
4. Outdated Fixtures and Connections
As with all things, years of use will begin to deteriorate the quality of your house’s plumbing fixtures and connections. Although easy to ignore bit-by-bit, this deterioration will almost always result in a disaster that requires extensive repair and clean-up. Whether it be corrosion in faucets and knobs, leaking or deteriorating pipes, or restricted water flow, there are a variety of house plumbing failures that you’ll need to address.
The easiest way to mitigate long-term damage without breaking the bank is to perform regular preventative maintenance. This includes conducting periodic inspections and replacing the minor elements that need attention. This assessment can be performed on your own or by a plumbing professional, all that matters is that you’re not labeling the small issues as insignificant, as they will eventually become your worst enemy.
5. Bad Repairs
If you live in an older home, many years of living have been experienced prior to your arrival. This means that years of wear-and-tear occurred, and numerous repairs and fixes were carried out along the way. The plumbing quality in your home is only as good as the plumbers who have worked on it in years past, and you’re at the mercy of jobs that were performed without your knowledge. Before assuming that everything is working properly, it’s best to have a plumbing professional perform a detailed inspection of the home. This will allow them to assess previous repair projects and determine whether or not there are any imminent risks with the current setup. Should the reality be that past projects have left you with plumbing complications, it’s best to get them assessed and corrected prior to disaster striking.
There are several pros and cons that accompany an older-home living arrangement. You get to create a life in a space that carries with it real character and quality, and it’s an incredible opportunity to make a piece of history your own. That said, aged homes also come with their fair share of complications, and you need to be willing to work with them in order to preserve the quality of the space. Plumbing issues should not be taken lightly and should be given extra attention when considering the safety and security of your family and home. From water pollution to flood risks and more, the results of ignored plumbing problems can be disastrous, but they don’t have to be.
If you’re in need of expert plumbing support, our team is ready to help. To learn more about our services, pricing, or approach, contact our team today.
To learn more, contact Plumbera at 844-394-3734 or Contact Plumbera for an Appointment