Ask About These Common Plumbing Issues
There’s nothing quite like the charm and quality of workmanship built into older homes. That said, problems can come with the purchase, like old plumbing, ticking time bombs that can end up causing significant damages. Following are some common plumbing issues found in older homes.
Unless they’ve been updated, older homes will have fixtures, faucets, and supply line connections that will need to be replaced. Corrosion, wear, and tear can restrict water flow, cause leaks, etc., factors that make using water difficult and could lead to an expensive disaster.
Galvanized (iron coated with zinc) pipes erode over time, making them vulnerable to corrosion and breakage. Polybutylene pipes, popular in the 1970s proved to be disastrous, eventually becoming brittle, flaking, and cracking. If an older home has been renovated over the past few years, most or all of these pipes have probably been replaced. Even so, it’s highly recommended to have the plumbing inspected to make sure unexpected and costly surprises don’t crop up down the road.
Shifting Pipes/Pipe Bellies
Older homes naturally shift on their foundations over time. When the pipes in these homes run underneath the framework, this shifting can cause problems. When pipes start shifting down, it results in what is referred to as “pipe belly”, a negative slope that ends up restraining the flow of water. This also creates pools of water that accumulate sediment or waste. If left unattended pipe bellies will result in leaks and stoppages over time.
Failing Sewer Lines
Underground and out of sight, most of us don’t think about the sewer line until it fails, leaking sewage into the ground. Or worse, causing nasty smelling wastewater to back up into the home. Sewer lines related to older homes are commonly built before modern appliances like dishwashers and disposals began forcing more water through them. This excess force makes them more vulnerable to failure. Old sewer lines are also more prone to have issues that involved tree root damage or shifting. If it hasn’t already been completed, sewer line replacement in older homes is highly recommended.
Anybody moving into a home built more than 30 years ago should have a thorough inspection carried out by a licensed plumber who can identify any problems. A few proactive actions today can help avoid potentially serious (and pricey) problems in the future.