Plumbing is one of the things we never think about, until it breaks. While pipes inside the home have a long lifespan, there are some signs homeowners shouldn’t ignore that mean it’s time to replace them. Replacing damaged pipes in a 1,500 square foot home could cost anywhere from up to $10,000. Aside from the financial cost, the disruption of the home while replacing them is also worth considering. Walls must be opened and sometimes floors as well. These are all things homeowners should consider proactively before a plumping disaster strikes.
Copper pipes have a lifespan of about 70 to 80 years. Cast Iron pipes, galvanized steel and brass pipes can last 80 to 100 years. Polyvinyl Chloride – or PVC – pipe only last 24 to 40 years. Homeowners must know the age of their pipes to determine when they should be replaced. Additionally, factors such as water hardness can also wear pipes out quicker. If heavy chemicals or mineral-laden water is regularly passing through the pipes, it could lower their expected age drastically.
Some pipes should be removed right away. Lead pipes were commonly used in the early 1900s but research now shows that they pose a serious health threat. Polybutylene pipes were used in the 1970’s through the 1990’s but it has since become clear that they do not endure as well as originally expected. If a home contains either lead pipes or polybutylene pipes, they should be replaced immediately.
Smart homeowners take advantage of other disruptions to their homes to check their pipes. If a remodel is scheduled that will require opening walls and floors, this is an excellent chance to assess the home’s plumbing. Replacing pipes during this time also takes full advantage of the disruption and can save homeowner many headaches in the future.
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