The older your home, the more likely it is to have a mix of different pipes and piping materials—some, no doubt, well past their prime or made from a toxic substance like lead. You might be asking yourself, “Should I have my plumbing remodeled?”
Perhaps the better questions are, “Do I need remodeling for plumbing? If so, does that mean all of it?” Much of your home plumbing is hidden behind walls or otherwise all but inaccessible. To remodel plumbing throughout the whole house might be hard.
A plumber would need to tear out the walls, which would be both messy and expensive. Let’s start this article by considering the visible pipes to identify the signs indicating the need for a plumbing remodel. What follows are seven remodeling tips.
- Water Damage
Spotting water-damaged floors, walls, or ceilings is a sure sign of a water leak. And, unless you left the sink running with the drain plugged or some other oversight, it might be a leaking pipe or fixture. Check all visible pipes and the surrounding areas.
If large areas are soaked, you should turn off the water at the main shut-off valve. It only a small space is wet, try to dry it out, so mold and mildew don’t grow. If you can find the source of the water, try to patch it. Call a plumber, regardless.
- Signs of Mildew or Rust
Evidence of mildew or rust near one or more pipes should tell you there’s a pipe leaking. So follow the water until you find the culprit pipe. Put on it, and then call a plumber. They’ll tell you if the pipe can be repaired or needs replacement.
If mildew is present, you should clean the pipe and the surrounding area properly. You should remove any rust or rust stains as well.
- Obvious Cracks, Corrosion, or Leaks in Pipes
It’s always a good idea to give your pipes a thorough going over a couple of times a year. Pipe damage doesn’t happen on a fixed schedule, and there could be signs of impending damage staring you right in the face if you look.
One sign to watch for is a bulging spot in a pipe that could signal a burst ready to happen. Another telling sign is a leak at a joint or a tiny “pinhole” leak anywhere on the pipe. These don’t waste that too much water, but they might be signs of more damage to come.
- Weak Water Flow in Multiple Places
There are several possible causes of low water pressure. Some valves might have been left partially closed, so not all possible causes are directly related to the pipes themselves. A few are, though:
- A clogged supply pipe—possibly caused by sediment build-up or invasive tree roots
- A corroded pipe—indicating that your pipe has seen better days and needs replacing
- A leaking pipe—which will need a temporary patch until a plumber can fix or replace it for good
Low water pressure does not always signal the need for emergency repair, but you shouldn’t ignore it as a sign of possible trouble, either.
- Increased Water Bills
As with low water pressure, many things might lead to high water bills. For example, you might have left an outdoor hose or an indoor faucet running without realizing it. Or you might have watered the lawn more than usual.
Still, your higher-than-usual water bill might suggest a pipe leak somewhere in or near your house. The water company can sometimes help locate its source, but if not, call your plumber.
- Nasty-Looking Water
If the water coming out of your faucets isn’t clear, it might be a sign there’s something wrong. Cloudy water might simply be caused by air in the pipes or mineral deposits, but anything more than that should be checked.
For example, oddly colored water can be caused by corroding metal pipes, especially iron or copper. If you see water discoloration, you need a pipe inspection and, possibly, a new pipe or two.
- Potentially Toxic Piping Material
It seems as though every year, some widely used construction material is found to present a health or other hazard. For example, many older homes contain lead pipes or have had them removed. We all know now that lead harms children.
More recently, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) has been declared “the most toxic plastic.” Several environmental advocacy organizations have condemned its use in a wide range of household and other products. Not the least of these are PVC pipes.
If you see lead or PVC pipes in your home, you should have them replaced as soon as you can.
Pay Attention to Your Pipes
Most of us need new pipes at some point. But that doesn’t mean you need a complete plumbing remodel or overhaul. Many homeowners, as least those whose homes weren’t built new for them, have pipes they know nothing about.
The missing information includes:
- How long ago the pipes were installed
- Their respective repair histories
- Even the material they’re made from (since many have long since been painted over).
Most of what goes into determining whether any of your pipes need repair or replacement comes from your plumber’s knowledge and expertise. If you need plumbing help in the Tacoma area, call Service Plumbing & Systems for advice.
Do I Need a Plumbing Remodel?
Since a plumbing remodel for your whole house is a massive undertaking, we’ll share some advice: Take care of the plumbing inside the walls as other projects come along that require opening those walls. That way, you’ll handle two jobs at once.
Although it’s fine (very smart, in fact) to place temporary patches on leaking pipes, don’t leave them there longer than it takes your plumber to come over and take care of the problem in a way that will last—whether a repair or a replacement.
And don’t forget to come back to our news site whenever you have the chance. There is so much to learn in this world!