Here are ten common plumbing problems that are seen in older homes and what you can do to correct them.
1. Age is a Factor
Nothing lasts forever, and components of your plumbing system will start to wear down as the home ages.
The age of pipes contributes to problems like leaks.
The use of harsh chemical drain cleaners also damages the pipes, and connections can start to wear down and leak. Consider having the pipes relined to avoid problems.
2. Decay of Galvanized Steel
Copper and plastic pipes are durable, but many older homes feature galvanized steel.
The issue with these types of pipes is that they starts to rust and corrode over time, and that can lead to pipe failure and serious leaks. It is particularly challenging when pipes are beneath the slab in the soil.
Have a plumber pressure test the pipes, and consider having them relined to keep them functional.
3. Undersized Vent Pipes
The needs of households have changed over the decades, and the small two-inch pipes used 50 years ago cannot keep up with the water demands of a busy family.
Invest in larger three-inch pipes that will allow for faster drainage and prevent other problems.
4. Creaking Pipes
Old metal pipes expand and contract, and the noise they make can be frightening. Luckily, this is a relatively easy fix.
Insulating the pipes will help them keep a constant temperature so you can avoid the uncomfortable noises.
5. Running Toilets
Plumbing parts wear down, and when the flapper in your toilet starts to go bad it will run continuously.
In addition to creating an unpleasant noise, it will also send your water bill through the room. Invest in either a new toilet or replace the inner mechanism of your toilet to stop the running water.
6. Temperature Fluctuations
Older homes don’t provide the most consistent water temperatures.
Part of the problem is that there just isn’t enough separation between the supply line for the toilet and the shower, so flushing the toilet will send a blast of hot water streaming into the shower.
However, the problem could be an aging water heater. Sediment building up in the heater causes inconsistent temperature, so you may have to invest in a new heater.
7. Growing Trees
That wonderful oak in the front yard may add charm to the house, but the roots may be destroying the main sewer line.
As the sewer line is backed up, you will have serious draining problems inside the home.
The line can be replaced or a liner installed, but you will also have to do something about the tree roots to prevent it from happening again.
8. Frozen Fixtures
When you walk through the house, you may notice aging faucets and decide that you can easily replace them. However, this may not be the case.
Fixtures where the nuts and bolts have rusted can be nearly impossible to remove.
Have a cutting tool ready to cut off the frozen bolts, and consider calling in the professionals if you still cannot remove them.
9. Excessive Pressure
As water companies strive to meet the demand of growing cities, they are increasing the water pressure.
That high level of pressure may seem like a good thing, but it wears your fixtures down rapidly and results in more leaking faucets. Invest in a pressure regulator to control the pressure and protect your plumbing fixtures.
10. Brown Water
When running water in an older home, you may notice that the water is a lovely shade of brown when you first turn on the faucet.
This indicates that you have galvanized steel pipes and they are starting to rust. If this is the case, then you may have to invest in plumbing repair services to have the damaged pipes replaced.
There are many benefits to buying an older home, but there are also drawbacks.
Problems with the plumbing system are common in older properties, but there are ways to correct these problems.
With the help of professionals, you can have pipes relined or replaced to make your plumbing system more functional and the home more enjoyable.
License: Creative Commons
Rachel is a blogger for Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, a plumbing company in Redwood City, CA that specializes in plumbing repair services such as water leaks, drain cleaning, and water heater installation.
You can follow Benjamin Franklin Plumbing @BFP_San_Rafael.