Each home is different, but plumbing pipes have a lifespan. When galvanized steel pipes have reached the end of their lifespan, they often develop leaks due to the corrosion caused by the exposure to minerals in water over time. These iron pipes begin to rust and deposit more minerals in your water than what you want to drink, or wash yourself with.
How To Determine If your Steel Pipes are Too Old
At times, this corrosion can get bad enough to discolor your water, and even produce flakes in your running water. The water quality can be affected so much that, at times, it can even have an unpleasant odor. If your water is discolored, or you are seeing flakes in your pipes, it might be time to consider repiping.
The exterior condition of your steel pipes can also be a strong indication of whether or not you need new pipes. If your pipes are showing any bubbles in the steel, or they are discolored on the outside, it may be time to replace your pipes before having to deal with the trouble of a leak.
Watch for leaks. If you know your pipes are old and find even a small leak, it can be an indication that it’s time for new plumbing. Do not wait if you find a leak, there are some considerable dangers to delaying your plumbing repairs.
The Most Affordable Ways to Replace Your Pipes
If you are already doing some renovations to your home, inspect your pipes closely. If they are close to needing to be replaced, it can be much cheaper if the pipes are already exposed.
If you are considering finishing your basement finally, and notice that there are many exposed pipes, make sure that these pipes will not have to be replaced soon. If they are in need of replacement, it is much more cost effective to have them replaced before you cover the pipes with insulation, drywall, and paint.
Thankfully, there are ways to keep the cost of replacing your pipes at bay even if your pipes are behind a finished wall. The use of PEX, or flexible plastic hose (largely the plumbing material of choice nowadays), is one method and it can reduce the amount of materials needed to be removed and replaced (drywall, paint, etc…). Instead of fully demolishing the wall, the pipes can be snaked into place similar to how electric wire and cables are fed behind existing walls. This helps substantially reduce the whole cost of replacing your plumbing.
When it comes down to it, if you are questioning whether you need new pipes in your home or not, it is best to get a professional opinion. Find a plumber you trust, hopefully your trusted plumber is us, and find out for certain.
Photo credit to Flickr User rbabiera