Here’s Why Your Home’s Pipes Are Eroding Away in Your Older Home
North Carolina ranks eighth for most historic homes in the United States, which makes for plenty of charm and outdated plumbing systems.
Old water supply lines are often made of materials that don’t comply with today’s plumbing codes. That’s a problem because it can lead to health risks or major plumbing issues.
If you live in an older home, keep reading to learn which piping materials will likely degrade over time and should be replaced.
Due to its low cost and easy installation, polybutylene was a popular alternative to copper piping used extensively from the 1970s to the 1990s.
The problem is that chlorine from public water supplies causes the piping to weaken and fail within 10 to 15 years. This led to widespread damage to homes across the country, resulting in several class-action lawsuits.
You may need polybutylene repiping if your home was built during this period. Look for plastic pipes that are either gray, black, white, or blue with a “PB” stamp and plastic or copper fittings.
Remember that the damage happens from the inside out, so there could still be problems brewing even if the pipes look fine on the outside.
Lead’s toxicity is often referenced with paint, but it poses an extremely dangerous threat if found in your plumbing.
When lead pipes begin to corrode, they leach this poisonous material into your drinking water. While this isn’t safe for anyone to ingest, it’s particularly threatening to children.
Lead pipes are often found in homes built before 1986 and are dark gray.
Before plastic pipes were introduced in the 1980s, cast iron was widely used for indoor plumbing over much of the 19th and 20th centuries.
This material has a long life span and typically lasts 75 to 100 years. However, the pipes are particularly susceptible to rust as the material deteriorates. This leads to pipe leaks and discolored water.
The pipe fittings may contain lead, which causes health concerns when consumed. Cast iron is more commonly used for drain pipes, so you don’t have to worry about this risk.
If your older home has cast-iron pipes with the telltale black finish, look for signs of rust. Heavily corroded pipes should be replaced.
Galvanized Steel Pipes
Galvanized steel is coated with zinc to help avoid rusting, but as this coating erodes, the pipes begin to corrode and form calcium deposits that impede water flow. This creates pressure on the already-failing pipes, which then break and leak.
The material is frequently found in houses built before 1960 and lasts about 40 to 50 years. That means if you still have these silver or gray steel pipes in your home, they’re long overdue to be replaced.
Choose Comfort First for Whole-Home Repiping
If you think your older home may have unsafe piping, call the plumbing team at Comfort First Heating & Cooling. Our licensed and trained experts can:
- Inspect your home’s pipes
- Determine what pipe materials you have
- Determine if you have severe pipe deterioration
- Recommend pipe repair if it’s feasible
- Complete whole-home repiping with minimal disruption to your home
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