Should You Call A Plumber? 3 Questions To Ask Before You Replace The Pipes

Posted on: 18 August 2022

When should you replace your home's pipes? A broken pipe is an obvious signal that your plumbing needs a serious change, and fast. But what are the reasons, other than serious damage, to replace residential pipes? If your home is older or your plumbing system doesn't work as well as you think it should, take a look at some questions to ask before you call a plumber and choose this type of upgrade.

How Old Are the Pipes?

While age isn't the sole predictor of the need to replace your home's pipes, it can help you judge whether your plumbing system is ready for an upgrade or not. According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), many types of pipes can last for half a century or more. 

The specific number of years in a pipe's lifespan depends on what it is made from. ABS and PVC waste pipes have a 50 to 80-year lifespan, cast iron can last for 60 years, copper has an average lifetime use of 70 years, and plastic or copper water lines can last for 50 years, according to InterNACHI's averages. PEX pipe has a slightly shorter typical lifespan of 40 years.

If your home's pipes are at the upper end or above the average expected lifetime use number, talk to a plumber about your replacement options. Pipes that are still in more than just fair working order or pipes that are trouble-free won't require immediate replacement. But aged pipes coupled with leaks, poor drainage, or other plumbing problems are typically ready for an upgrade.

What Does the Water Look Like?

Discolored water is not normal. If your home's tap water has an odd tint, contact a plumber as soon as possible. It's possible this problem is the result of nearby construction or a local water treatment plant issue. Provided these potential issues aren't at fault, it's likely corrosion is the culprit.

Over time, pH imbalances in the water, oxidation, hard water, and chemical drain cleaning products can corrode the interior sections of pipes. This can result in noticeable discoloration. Not only is the odd color of your tap water a problem, but corroded pipes may also leak or burst. The sooner a plumber inspects and replaces the pipe, the lower the risk of a serious home flooding disaster.

Do You Notice Reduced Water Pressure?

The shower seems to drizzle or the sink can't create a steady stream. Reduced water pressure can interfere with your daily life and may signal a plumbing problem. While there are a few different causes of low water pressure, leaky pipes are a common culprit.

Never attempt to repair a leaking pipe yourself. While a bandage of duct tape or a rolled towel may seem like an inexpensive way to stop the flow, these strategies won't solve the root problem. Instead of a do-it-yourself fix, contact a plumber for a replacement service.