If you live in an older home or are thinking about buying one, it may become necessary to redo all of the plumbing. Ideally, you should have a professional plumber look at your pipes and assess whether or not they need to be replaced. However, there are a few quick and simple things you can do on your own. To determine if your home may need to be replumbed, work through these four essential questions:
1. What material are the pipes?
Plumbing pipes can last anywhere from 40 to 100 years depending on their material, where they are located and how well they have been maintained. Find a space where the pipes are exposed in your house -- that can be in a crawlspace or behind an access panel. Then, determine what kind of material they are. Talk with a plumber about that particular material and how long it lasts in ideal conditions.
2. Are the pipes lead?
If the pipes are made of lead, they may still have some life span left in them. However, lead is toxic. It can leach from the pipes into your water and cause a range of neuro and physical difficulties. If your pipes are lead, they need to be replaced immediately.
3. What condition are the pipes in?
While looking at your exposed pipes, don't just look at their material. Also, look at their condition. Are they discoloured? Is the metal or plastic flaking off? Have they developed a strange texture?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, your pipes have signs of trouble, and you need to have a plumber assess the situation.
4. What does your water look like?
To easily test the condition of your pipes, turn on the water and let it run into a sink or bathtub with a plug in it. If the water looks brown or yellow, that is a sign of rust. Rust indicates that your pipes are corroding from the inside, and that is a big sign that you may need to replumb your entire home.
To get the most accurate results from this test, run the water after it has been sitting in the pipes for a bit. For example, if you own the house, do this test after you get back from a week long holiday, and if you are looking at buying the house, try to do this test early in the morning before the current owners have run the water for showers.
If you own or are considering buying an old home, it is inevitable that there will be some pipe issues. But knowing the current state of the pipes can help you determine if you are looking at some small repairs or a replumbing of your house.
If I didn't know better, I'd think my toddler started each day with a challenge to throw something new and different down the toilet. He has managed to put nearly anything can imagine down the toilet. I have gotten pretty good at figuring out what has gone missing down the loo and whether it's something I can fix or something that I need to call the plumber to help me fix it. This blog is for other mums of toddlers who need to get toys out of the toilet and get the toilet back to working condition as soon as possible!