Common Old Home Plumbing Problems

Most homeowners tend to have some basic plumbing knowledge to identify any issues that may arise in their property. Unfortunately, if you have an older home, it can have its own set of issues, which can require a little additional care and attention. So, here we’ll explore some of the most common problems you may experience when you buy an old home. Galvanized Pipes Galvanized pipes were commonly used in homes built before 1960. These pipes are made using iron that is covered with a zinc layer. Unfortunately, this can erode over time, causing issues. In addition to galvanized pipes being old and outdated, they are vulnerable to corrosion that can negatively affect your water quality and pressure. You may notice that your water is discolored or that you lack water pressure that indicates your galvanized pipes need to be upgraded. Lead Service Lines Another problem that often correlates with galvanized pipes in older homes is lead service lines. These lines connect the water main to the home, and if there are any repairs on these service lines, it can create an increase in lead found in the water inside your home. Lead can have serious health consequences, particularly if you have small children in your household, so it is essential to know what pipes are inside and outside your home to prevent the risk of lead contamination. If your service lines are identified as lead, you are likely to need to install a filtration system to avoid exposure in your drinking water. Polybutylene Pipes Polybutylene was very common for home plumbing systems between the late 1970s and early 1990s. This material was relatively low cost, but it is no longer in use as it is not accepted by United States building codes. Polybutylene pipes are prone to failure as it reacts badly with oxidants that are found in water. The oxidants in the water can cause pipes to become weak and will eventually lead to a failure that has the potential for a lot of property damage. If your property does have polybutylene pipes, you may need to completely replace with new and durable materials that can save money in the long run. Pipe Bellies The earth beneath homes does not remain still, and the constant movement causes houses to shift as a response. This shifting can affect the pipes underneath your home. As the pipes move and shift down, it causes “bellies,” or bending pipes. This makes it difficult for water to pass through the pipes causing a stoppage. Sewer Lines While you may think about your plumbing is limited to your home, you also need to think about how your pipes extend to the sewer line. There are potential issues that can happen with older sewer lines such as tree root intrusion or other forms of damage. If you hear gurgling sounds from flowing drains or toilets, it is a sign that there could be an issue with your sewer line that needs attention. Older homes can experience some plumbing problems, but knowing about the issues can help to determine the action to take. Any home can benefit from regular maintenance checks and having a professional plumber inspect your home can save you money and time in the long run. By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.