The Plumbing Problems that Old Houses tend to Have

30th September 2018
Old House

Older homes are cherished because of their charm and character. Many that remain standing assembled with materials that are expensive in modern structure and were built to specifications that were unique. An old home that needs a little care is an attractive choice.

However, these homes often hide many problems supporting their fancy crown molding and plaster walls. Though a few of those issues are relatively minor inconveniences, others are ticking time bombs that may lead to substantial damage. Prospective homeowners will be wise to remember a few plumbing characteristics which are very common in homes over a couple of decades old.

1: Old Pipe Materials
Any home built before the 1990s could feature pipes made of substances which are not accepted by modern building codes. If the house has been renovated within the last few decades, a few or all of these pipes were probably replaced, but it is always suggested to have the tubes of the house inspected to make sure there are no unexpected surprises the first time a drain clogs.

Houses could potentially feature three Kinds of pipe:
Lead: Most commonly used for sewer lines and main water lines, lead is among the oldest metals used in piping. Before the development of blast furnaces capable of casting iron, lead has been a perfect metal for plumbing because of its malleability and durability. Lead was also used as an additive. Lead is highly toxic, leading to joint and gastrointestinal distress, irritability, fatigue, and memory loss. It is particularly dangerous to children, causing issues with psychological and physical improvement. Although most of the world has limited the use of lead as the 1920s, it was not banned entirely at the national level until Congress amended the Safe Drinking Water Act at 1986.

Galvanized: widely used for water lines in homes built before the 1960s, galvanized pipe is constructed from iron and coated with a coating of zinc. As time passes, the zinc erodes, leaving the pipe quite susceptible to rust and breakage. Although they can last, the majority of them become clogged with rust long before then. Aging pipes become so brittle that they usually have to be broken apart to be removed and replaced. They are replaced piecemeal in houses, together with the comparatively intact pipes.

   Polybutylene: Heralded as the "pipe of the future" when it appeared in the 1970s, polybutylene pipe has been released as a replacement for copper lines and saw widespread use throughout the 1980s. Regrettably, following a class action lawsuit alleging the pipes were faulty, the manufacturer was forced to pay out millions of dollars. Oxidants in water systems caused a chemical reaction with the plastic, causing it to flake, become fragile, and crack although the maker never confessed a defect. Polybutylene was mostly utilized in home installations, but any dwelling might have the pipes. No longer manufactured or rated by US building codes, any polybutylene pipes should be replaced before they fail.

2: Pipe "Bellies"
The slow movement and changing of the house with time affect plumbing installed underneath homes, encased in the concrete slab or either buried in the ground. If the pipes shift downwards, they could produce a negative slope, or"stomach," that limits the circulation of water and generates pools that accumulate sediment or waste. Left pipe bellies can lead to stoppages or leaks over time.

3: Failing Sewer Lines
Buried and far from sight, no one thinks much about their sewer line until it fails, seeping sewage into the ground or backing foul-smelling wastewater into the home. Sewer lines see heavy use and those in old houses were often built before modern appliances (garbage disposals, dishwashers, etc.) and bathrooms forced more water through them, which makes them more vulnerable to collapse, especially if there's been extensive remodeling. Elderly houses are also more likely to suffer from sewer lines shifting or being ruined by tree roots.

4: Outdated Fixtures and Connections
Nothing lasts forever. Older homes often have faucets, fixtures, and provide line connections that are nearing the end of the lifespan. Corrosion and general wear and tear can result in restricted water flow, busted knobs, and flows that make merely using water in the home an inconvenience at best and an expensive disaster at worse. While a lot of men and women try to only "get by" with failing pipes, things have a means of breaking in the worst possible moment. Nobody would like to return to discover the rusty water valve under the sink failed, causing  sometimes thousands of dollars in water damage.

5: Bad Repairs
By their own nature, old homes have had lots of chance to come up with plumbing problems. It's not a matter of"if" the house has pipes repairs, but rather" who" did the repairs. Many old homes comprise DIY maintenance made by the homeowner or a handyman rather than an expert plumber. These issues can range from the mundane, such as backward sink traps, such as water heaters, to severe and expensive mistakes or unsecured pipes or badly sloped showers. Some others have the potential to be dangerous, while a few of those repairs are more amusing than anything else and should be repaired.

Here are some problems that we identify. They also present many particular issues while old houses have their own charm. Anyone moving into a home built over fifty years ago should make sure to have a thorough review done through a licensed plumbing contractor who will identify any issues. A few proactive steps now can head off potentially dangerous (and expensive) problems later on.


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