Water, water everywhere, through walls into the sink. Your house’s piping forms the living arteries of your household, providing much-needed water to your faucet, your toilet, and your morning shower. Along with the electrical wiring, gas lines, and insulation, they are what makes your home inhabitable.
However, the sad truth is that your pipes need to be replaced sooner or later. All things eventually break down, and the costs that come from burst water pipes can often cost far more than the act of installing them would have.
In this situation, it is helpful to know the approximate lifespan of your pipes. Pipes made from metals such as iron, steel or brass can often last a century or so, even while under constant pressure. Meanwhile, PVC may only last three or four decades in comparison, and is only usually used for external drain pipes rather than supply pipes. If you know how old your pipes are, you can use this to gauge whether or not they may need replacing soon should you ever spot any indication that there may be faulty pipes in your home.
So what are the warning signs of incoming water damage from deteriorated pipes?
1) Loss of Water Pressure
The most immediately obvious sign that your water pipes may need replacing is a sudden lack of water pressure. If, for example, you notice you’re just not getting as much water when trying to wash the dishes, it could be a sign that the water necessary isn’t getting through the pipes as easily as it should.
There can be two things responsible for the loss of pressure. First is a build-up of dirt, grime, lime scale and debris within the pipes themselves. No matter what you do, you will get this collection of muck within your pipes sooner or later. Over time, this will get thicker and thicker, further reducing the amount of water that can get through the pipes, and eventually blocking them up completely. Alternatively, the pipe has sprung a leak somewhere, and water is escaping through that leak. In either case, the pipe needs to be checked, and the problem dealt with.
2) Mysteriously Increasing Water Bills
Some people hardly use much water. They use enough to keep them and theirs clean and watered, and not much else. So when they notice that, inexplicitly, their water bill has been steadily climbing over the past few months, this may cause them to ask serious questions. Increasing water bills are thus another sure fire way to tell that your water pipes may need to be replaced. In this case the problem is most assuredly a leak – water is escaping, and the hike in price is because of the wasted water.
3) Leaky Pipes
This one is obvious. If your pipes are leaking, and tightening up any joints or connections does not seem to help, then they need to be replaced. A leak is something you need to attend to sooner rather than later. If left alone, they will not only get worse, but cause very expensive property damage to your home and belongings as well.
4) Suspicious Puddles in the Yard
If you notice strange puddles forming in your yard, despite a lack of any recent rain, take this to mean that an underground pipe has burst and is leaking into the surrounding soil. If the water is clear and doesn’t smell like much of anything, then it is a clean water line. If, however, it looks turgid and smells something foul, then a sewer line has burst and is leaking septic waste. Either is bad enough, but leaking sewage is just a disease waiting to happen. Call a plumber the moment you spot it.
5) Mold and Damp Damage
Another physical symptom that may suggest your pipes are in need of replacing is damp patches forming on your walls and ceilings. Take note of these especially if you’ve had a bit of a dry patch in terms of weather, which would rule out of the possibility of it being related to rain or morning dew. Should you suspect a leaking pipe, consider looking at the house schematics if they are available to see whether water pipes are nearby that may be causing the damage. Alternatively, check the section of wall yourself, if you can.
Christian Mills is a home improvement blogger who, in his free time, does everything he can to keep his home in perfect order. Sometimes this means calling a professional, and for plumbing problems that professional would be A1 Service Plumbing. You can learn more about Christian on Google+.