Is Pipe Replacement Necessary?
If you have been having plumbing issues lately, you may have wondered if you needed a repipe or pipe replacement. While many issues can be resolved without repiping
, there are some circumstances when it is the best course of action. Here are just some of the problems that may make a repipe or pipe replacement necessary.
Dramatic Drop in Water Pressure:
If your water pressure has dropped significantly, it could be the result of a number of plumbing issues; that may require pipe replacement. One of the most common causes of low water pressure is pipe corrosion. If your pipes are older and made from galvanized steel, cast iron or even copper, they could be vulnerable to corrosion. Rust and corrosion can clog the inside of the pipe, preventing water from efficiently flowing. This flow restriction causes excess pressure on the pipes, increasing the chances of a serious break. Even if the pipe is not structurally compromised, the corrosion can contaminate your water supply. For these reasons, it is a good idea to have corroded pipes replaced.
Springing a leak does not necessarily mean that you need to replace your pipes. Whether you need to repipe will depend on the underlying reason for the leak. If the pipes have suffered from excess wear and tear or have been made with defective or low quality (short-life) materials, then you should consider pipe replacement. Lower grade “M” type copper (notorious for pin hole leaks) and rust / corrosion prone galvanized steel as well as PVC (which is easy to install and cheap, but not suitable to carry hot water and does have issues relating to glued joints that can be prone to deterioration and leak susceptibility) all could result in massive water damage. While a leak can be an isolated incident, it is worth investigating if there is a more serious issue hidden under the surface.
Even if your water pressure is okay and there are no leaks, you could still need pipe replacement. One of the most obvious signs of a problem is discolored or smelly water. This type of water contamination is often caused by corroded or rusty pipes in need of replacement. Generally, you will need a professional plumbing expert to investigate the underlying cause of the aesthetic water changes to determine if a repipe is necessary.
This is a serious issue. Think of the recent problems in Flint MI. If you have an older home constructed before 1930, it is possible that your pipes were made using lead. Lead from your pipes could be leaching into your water supply, creating dangerously contaminated drinking water. Although water filtration systems are available to remove lead from drinking water, a more permanent solution is to replace the lead pipes with a more modern material.
You may wish to consider a repipe if your home is having frequent plumbing issues. It is possible that your plumbing system is not up to code, or it has not been properly designed, which would lead to consistent issues. While pipe replacement or a total repipe may seem like a significant investment in your home, it could allow you to avoid needing to pay for costly repairs again and again. A reputable plumbing professional
can assist you with assessing your pipes and determining if a repipe is necessary. This can allow you to avoid the stress and frustration of experiencing frequent plumbing issues, and have confidence that there are no unpleasant surprises lingering inside your pipes.
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 solutions.