For most people, most plumbing work takes low priority on their lists. Given that it’s not an everyday occurrence and it may seem easy enough to handle, that’s understandable. You, too, may find yourself unintentionally ignoring subtle signs that it’s time to upgrade or replace your plumbing because they don’t feel urgent. However, plumbing issues are not ones to underestimate. Leave them unchecked, and they can cause severe and expensive material damage. Worse yet, some may even pose health risks over extended periods. Thus, it may be wise to keep an attentive eye on your system to prevent such troubles as early as possible.
Signs it’s time to upgrade or replace your plumbing
Naturally, different homes come with different needs and plumbing systems. Various factors can affect plumbing efficiency, pipe lifetime, and more from building age to size and location. However, some signs are pretty much universal and should be taken seriously. Here are five of the most common symptoms it’s time to upgrade or replace your plumbing.
Leaks are likely the most common sign of potential plumbing problems. They’re also among the clearest in that they’re most often indicative of some pipe damage or wear.
Leaks most often occur in bathrooms, but not exclusively there. That’s usually where they’re more visible; wet spots and persisting moisture generally catch the eye. However, you may have trouble detecting leaky pipes since they’re not often visible. Still, even if you don’t readily see such signs, it’s a good idea to keep in mind the expected lifetime of your home’s pipes. This is most often a concern for older homes, but newer homes may have PVC or copper piping. Those last roughly 24 to 45 and 70 to 80 years, respectively, so if you’re aware of your pipes’ material, you may wish to keep it in mind.
With essential plumbing skills and knowledge, you should likely be able to replace a leaky faucet or tighten a gasket. But DIY plumbing does carry the risk of damage, so unless you’re confident in your expertise, you should likely seek professional help.
Mildew or mold
Undetected leaks can eventually lead to mildew or mold concentrations. Those also typically occur in bathrooms, but not exclusively there. Of course, any such findings are clear signs it’s time to upgrade or replace your plumbing.
Those are among the most accessible signs to spot as well. You may see or smell them, and they typically appear in 3 main areas:
- Walls and ceilings in case of pipe leaks
- Around clogged drains
- Around toilets, showers, and bathtubs due to poor or worn sealing
Mildew is, of course, a vital problem to address. Water can cause significant structural damage, and managing the leaks early on is cheaper than dealing with the disastrous aftermath.
Discolored or unclear water
Equally high on our list of signs that it may be time to upgrade or replace your plumbing is anything less than clear water. This is a serious concern not merely for material damage but also your health.
Many factors may cause discolored or unclear water, and admittedly not all are related to plumbing. But many of them are, and there are times when the discoloration can hint at the root cause.
- Red or yellow hues: These may indicate the presence of rust in your pipes. Rust and corrosion may produce concentrations of rust that may break off and enter the water stream.
- Blue or green hues: These often indicate some presence of copper or brass. Worn brass or copper pipes usually produce this.
- Black or brown: Finally, dark water may indicate severe pipe corrosion, growths, or other issues. These are usually the most severe clues there’s a looming problem.
Of course, all of the above are mere suggestions as to what the root cause may be. In all cases, you should seek professional help to ensure the health of your household members, as well as your home’s structural integrity.
Low water pressure
Another serious but often overlooked sign of potential plumbing problems is a gradual, consistent water pressure loss. While it likely doesn’t seem as immediately harmful, low water pressure may suggest many issues.
Any problem, from clogs and leaky pipes to an underperforming, worn water heater, may cause low water pressure. Thus, it would be best if you resorted to commercial drain cleaners and an inspection of your water heater as early measures. However, delays can cost you dearly, and this is a rather complicated issue to solve by yourself definitively. If it persists, it’s in your best interest to quickly seek professional help; low water pressure is a clear sign it’s time to upgrade or replace your plumbing.
Lack of hot water
Finally, a lack of hot water is an equally visible sign of potential plumbing problems. Luckily, this issue’s root cause is usually restricted to your water heater’s lifespan and condition.
Most water heaters have an expected lifespan of 8 to 20 years, depending on whether they’re traditional or tankless. In either case, you should keep your water heater’s lifespan in mind and replace it when it begins to underperform.
Seek professional help when in need
Having discussed all of the above, you may still find yourself in an emergency. But fear not, plumbing professionals can handle almost any damage, no matter how severe. In serious water damage cases to your valuables, such local professionals as movers can help move and store your items as you address the issue. Even when bad comes to worse, remember that experts from the neighborhood can help out in many ways and assist in your time of need.
Don’t ignore these signs; it’s time to upgrade or replace your plumbing
Even with all of the aforementioned in mind, it’s only natural that plumbing concerns may arise. You may miss the signs, underestimate their potential danger, or have issues arise unexpectedly. However, for the sake of your health and property, you should always be diligent with your plumbing concerns. Seeking help as early as possible can only help you avoid more significant future risks on both fronts.