Like most things in your home, your water piping will not last forever. And when it decides to give up, it can wreak havoc on a number of different areas — namely, things you might not even be able to see due to the fact that they’re situated behind walls or within the floors or ceilings. But if you catch it in time, you can replace your piping before it corrodes and bursts, which can save you thousands upon thousands of dollars in structural repairs as well as plumbing and other home service costs. We have listed what you should be on the lookout for that might indicate it’s time to replace your pipes.
Not sure of the status of your piping? Well, some signs that your home may need a re-pipe include:
1. Frequent pipe leaks
2. Your home is over 40 years old
3. Pipes show visible signs of corrosion
4. Rust-colored water from your water appliances
5. You have polybutylene pipes
Sign 1: Frequent Pipe Leaks
The most obvious sign that your pipes are rusting through and need to be replaced is recurring pipe leaks. So how many leaks are too many? Well, there is not an exact science, but if you get 2 or more leaks in less than 6 months, your pipes most likely need to be replaced. Plus, just think about all the money you would otherwise be spending on unnecessary plumbing repairs.
While leaks will sometimes stare you right in the face, other times, it is not that obvious. Here are a few of the signs that may not be as easy as spotting a puddle on the floor or water trickling down from the ceiling:
- Low water pressure
- Higher-than-normal water bills with no noticeable change in water usage
- Mold and mildew (smell or visible signs)
One way to test for any leaks in your plumbing is to turn off all water appliances in the house and outdoors (sprinklers, hoses, etc.). Then locate and watch the numbers on your home’s water meter. If the numbers go up after 20-30 minutes, you have a leak. And the faster those numbers go up, the larger the leak.
Note: Copper piping in the Florida area is especially vulnerable to recurring pinhole leaks (corrosion that breaks through the surface of piping), so keep an eye out for bluish-greenish corrosion on copper piping.
Sign 2: Your Home Is Over 40 Years Old
If your home was built over 40 years ago, there’s a good chance that your home’s pipes (except for PVC piping) have started corroding. In Florida, the rule-of-thumb for the lifespan of various piping is:
- Brass: 40-70 years
- Galvanized steel: 20-50 years
- Cast iron: 25-30 years
- Copper: 10-20 years
- PVC: indefinitely
Sign 3: Visible Signs of Corrosion
If you notice widespread signs of corrosion on your home’s piping, you probably need to think about re-piping your home. Check exposed piping for visible signs of corrosion, which include:
- Bluish-greenish tinting (on copper piping)
- Rust colored powder or marking
- Discolorations of any kind
Sign 4: Rust-Colored Water
Have steel or iron piping and notice rust-colored water coming from your water appliances? This is a good indication that your pipes might be rusting from the inside and therefore, need to be replaced. Keep in mind that if the rust-colored water only comes with hot water, the cause could be a rusting water heater—not your home’s piping.
If you see rust only in your hot water, then your water heater may need serviced or replaced. You will need a professional to do this if you have never done this on your own. If the anode rod is rusted out, the rust is most likely coming from the inside of your water heater. Replace your water heater as soon as possible if this is the case. On the other hand, if you see rust from both your hot and cold water piping you most likely have corroded piping.
To determine whether the rust is coming from your home or the municipal water supply, get a professional to inspect your home’s plumbing.
Sign 5: You Have Polybutylene Pipes
Polybutylene is an inexpensive, flexible plastic that was used for residential piping from 1978 to 1995. The problem is, it’s extremely vulnerable to rupturing (which ultimately led to a Class Action settlement), and therefore, is no longer accepted by U.S. building codes.
How to tell if you have polybutylene pipes: If your pipes are white plastic and include the letters “PB” in the printed label, you have polybutylene pipes and we suggest having them replaced right away.
Do you see some of these signs but want a professional’s opinion on whether you should re-pipe your home? Already know you need to re-pipe your Florida home and need a professional estimate? Contact Morrison Plumbing Service, Inc. We will send over one of our qualified professionals to diagnose your plumbing and devise an effective and efficient plan to go out with the old and in with the new!
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Morrison Plumbing is a family-owned and operated business serving in the Indian River County, Florida for over 30 years.
We are a full-service plumbing company offering both residential and commercial plumbing repairs. We offer quality workmanship and quick turn-around times. Give us a call or fill the form to get in touch with us!