Making Construction Easier

Replacing The Plumbing In An Old House Is A Priority

Buying and updating an old house is a way to create a warm, welcoming space for you and your family. The classic designs of an old house will make your abode a conversation piece for the neighborhood. One of the major projects that you'll likely encounter is replacing the old plumbing pipes. Depending on the year your home was constructed, and the number of plumbing repairs completed since it was built, you could have a number of problems just waiting to happen.

Two Types of Pipes, Two Types of Problems

The two kinds of pipes you'll find in your home are supply pipes and drain pipes. Supply pipes carry water into and through the house. The water is constantly under pressure in a supply pipe. They will cause water damage and flooding if they break.

Drain pipes carry water out of the house to the city sewer system. They only carry water under the pressure of gravity which is minor compared to supply pipes. The lack of pressure allows materials to build up in drain pipes and create a clog, which is the major problem in these pipes.

Plumbing Pipe Materials

Galvanized steel was a popular material in older homes and typically used as a supply pipe. A galvanized pipe may look intact on the outside, but be full of corrosion inside, blocking the water flow. The hot water lines in a galvanized system are the first to become blocked. If the pressure in the hot water side is much lower that the cold water side, you have corroded pipes that are ready to be replaced.

Cast iron was a favorite for drain pipes. The interior wall of the pipe can rust, creating a rough surface on which material accumulates. A slow-moving drain is a sign of a partial blockage that could quickly become a complete clog. Local plumbing services can run a line down the drain to see how blocked the pipe is and tell you whether it should be replaced.

Much older homes can still have lead pipes. These should always be replaced completely to protect your family from lead that can leach into the drinking water.

Polybutylene was a popular pipe made of plastic resin. It was used for a short period in many homes because of the low cost of production. These pipes are dull gray or white in color and used for both supply lines and drain pipes. These pipes have a high incidence of breakage, though, and should also be replaced.

Updating Past Repairs

Look for any pipes that have been repaired by replacing only part of the pipe with a different material. Where the pipes join are especially at risk of cracks or leaks because of the difference in the expansion and contraction of the materials under heat or pressure.

If you find where a copper pipe has been connected to a galvanized pipe, a dielectric coupling is needed to prevent accelerated corrosion caused by connecting the two different metals together. Have your plumber inspect these connections to make sure they have been secured properly.

The Right Replacements

PVC and cast iron are the typical materials used for drain pipes.  Copper pipe continues to be the choice for supply lines. To prevent breaking into walls to replace supply lines, your plumber may recommend cross-linked polyethylene tubing. This is a flexible plastic water pipe that can bend to go behind walls and other structures where rigid copper won't go without tearing out a wall.

Your plumber is the best resource for making a definitive list of pipes that need to be replaced. With updated plumbing in your home, you'll get many more years of service from your old, but restored, property.

For more information, contact R Acres Plumbing Company LLC or a similar contractor.


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