Is it time to re-pipe your home? Even though re-piping may seem like a major home renovation, it can save you time, money, and headaches in the long run. If you're not sure when or why your home needs this plumbing fix, take a look at the common signs that indicate the need for a pipe replacement.
Steel pipes typically won't show signs of wear on the outside until a major problem has developed. Corrosion starts on the interior, eating through the pipe itself.
If you can't see the corrosion on the pipe, how can you tell if you have a problem? Symptoms of potential pipe corrosion include:
- Leaks. Again, corrosion that's eaten completely through a pipe is a late sign. A completely corroded pipe has cracks, holes, or gaps that allow water to leak through.
- Discolored water. Rusty-looking or yellowish water from the tap (in a sink, shower, or bathtub) can come from a corroded pipe. While this plumbing problem can occur for other reasons, a breakdown of the metal inside the pipe can cause flakes to leech into the water.
- Off taste or smell. Along with a strange color, you may also notice an off odor or taste coming from corroded pipes.
- Clogs. Pieces of flakes from the corroded area can line the pipe, causing clogs and backups.
Systemic corrosion in a home is a serious issue. A patch or similar type of repair may solve a leak temporarily but won't fix the problem. A professional plumber can evaluate the extent of the corrosion and recommend a re-piping plan.
Increased Water Bill
Suddenly the water bill spikes. If the utility company hasn't initiated a major price increase, something is wrong with your plumbing. Never ignore a high water bill. Instead:
- Look for leaks. Maybe the pipes don’t need to be replaced. But you won't know that until you investigate the cause of the high water bill. An obvious drip from a faucet or loose pipe joint allows you to rule out a serious problem.
- Review water usage. Has anything changed in the way you use water? If you recently added a pool to your property, have had several guests (who all use the shower), or are using the clothes washer more often, you may have found the problem.
- Check for breaks. Again, corrosion-caused breaks, as well as other types of cracks, can cause leaks that raise the overall water bill.
If you can't explain the sudden spike in usage, contact a plumber immediately. The plumber can evaluate and diagnose the problem, providing you with re-piping or repair options.
Low Water Pressure
As with an increased water bill, low water pressure also has several different potential causes. Some of these causes may require replacing pipes. The top causes of low water pressure include:
- A clog. A clog itself isn't always cause for alarm. But when the cause of the clog comes from a breakdown in the pipe's interior, you may need to consider re-piping.
- Construction. Nearby neighborhood construction can cause water pressure changes. This type of issue doesn't require a plumber's help or a repair/replacement.
- Burst pipe. A pipe that freezes, corrodes, or breaks (for another reason) and bursts requires a replacement.
- Old pipes. Again, a breakdown inside of the pipe can lead to problems. Older metal pipes are prime candidates for corrosion. Whether rust buildup is clogging the interior of the pipe or the exterior cracks, re-piping with plastic plumbing can solve the water pressure issue.
Along with these issues, a faulty pressure regulator can also cause problems in your plumbing system. If your home has one of these devices, consult a plumber for a full assessment and repair.
Does your home need re-piping? Contact First Choice Plumbing Solutions for more information.