Is It Time To Repipe Your Home?
Over time everything in your home has the potential to break down and need replacing. This also applies to your plumbing pipes. Replacing these pipes, or repiping your home may become necessary. Unfortunately, this process could cost you anywhere from $1,500 - $15,000 and can be a very invasive process that could involve the plumbing having to open up some of your ceilings and walls. How do you know if a simple plumbing repair is in order, or if it is time to repipe your home? There are a few indicators that will hep you to decide.
Know Your Pipes
Different types of pipes have been used in homes throughout the years. Each of these types have different life spans, although hard water, rust, and other types of decay can cause them to fail faster than normal. Visually inspect your pipes to know what types of pipes you are dealing with. This will give you an idea about their life expectancy. Some examples of these are:
- Brass, copper, galvanized steel, and cast iron. They have an average lifespan of 80 - 100 years.
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It has an average lifespan of 25-40 years.
- Lead, which has an expected life span of up to 100 years, but should be removed immediately due to the contaminants it can deposit in your drinking water.
- Polybutylene. It was used in homes, from the 1970s - 1990s, is extremely prone to breaking, and should also be replaced immediately.
Just because your pipes are beyond their life expectancy does not necessarily mean that they need to be replaced. Their condition, or if they have begun to leak, may be a better indicator.
Check Your Leaks
The first sign that you have a leak in your plumbing system is usually a wet spot on your floor or ceiling. Unfortunately, there are times that your plumbing pipes are leaking into your walls, closets, crawl spaces, or other areas that you may not be able to see. To detect these types of leaks, you often have to listen for sounds of water dripping when your plumbing pipes are being used. In addition to the obvious leaks, and listening for signs of leaking, you may also uncover a leak in the following ways:
- By keeping an eye on your water bill or water usage. If you begin to see a substantial increase, but there have been no changes to your water usage, this is an indicator that you may have a leak.
- By checking your water meter before and after at least a two hour period of time in which there was no water use taking place in your home. If you see changes in your meter during this time, it is a good indicator that you have a leak.
If you suspect you have a leak, and cannot find the location, have a professional plumber inspect your home. They will usually be able to find the leak for you. If it is a minor leak, you may be able to have it repaired and have no further problems.
If it is a major leak, or if it appears that your pipes are failing in that area, you may be better off having that section of your plumbing repiped. If the leak is really severe, or if your plumber find that your pipes are in bad shape, they may recommend that your whole home be repiped,
Pay Attention To Your Water Pressure
If you begin to see a major reduction in your water pressure over time, this is usually a sign that there is a problem with your pipes. This is usually an indicator of:
- Mineral buildup
- Natural corrosion
As already stated, a simple leak may be able to be repaired, but mineral buildup and corrosion are usually both grounds to have your home repiped.
What Do You Need To Do?
Before you make the final decision to have your home repiped, have it inspected by a professional plumber. They will be able to assess the condition of your pipes, as well as look at any other plumbing issues that you may have.
If they recommend that your home be repiped, ask them to give you an estimate on making the repairs, as well as an estimate of what the repiping will cost. If your home needs to be repiped due to lead or polybutylene pipes, consult your insurance agent. The cost of repiping for this reason may be covered under your homeowner's policy.