3 Concerns When Working With Old Plumbing

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Older homes often have character to spare, and they can offer architectural styles and interior layouts that simply aren't available on newer construction. Unfortunately, many older homes also include outdated infrastructure and all of the problems that come along with it. Living in a house with some years under its belt often means struggling with outdated electrical, plumbing, and HVAC equipment.

These issues can make do-it-yourself plumbing more challenging than many people expect. As a result, it's often better to rely on professionals to work with plumbing in older homes, especially if parts of the house may not be up to modern code. If you've never dealt with older plumbing before, here are just three issues you may end up facing.

1. Dangerous Materials

It's no secret that building standards used to be much laxer and that previous generations often used unsafe building materials when constructing residential structures. Unfortunately, plumbing is no exception, and older homes may contain a well-known hazard: lead pipes. Lead is an incredibly toxic substance that can potentially cause a range of harmful effects.

While you probably know that lead is unsafe, you may not know how to spot lead pipes or determine if the old pipes in your home may be leeching this substance into your water. Professional plumbers know how to spot lead plumbing quickly and can advise you on options to test your water and replace these old pipes.

2. Metal Plumbing

Even if your home doesn't contain lead pipes, it may still use copper or steel. These materials are safer than lead (and copper is still a popular choice) but much more challenging to work with than PVC or PEX plumbing. Fixing problems with these pipes typically means cutting into metal and soldering in a new joint, two tasks that can lead to future failures if performed poorly.

The good news is that you don't need to rip the plumbing out of your house just because it uses outdated materials. As long as your home doesn't use lead pipes, a professional plumber will be able to work with your plumbing to make any repairs or improvements you need. Relying on an expert can extend the life of your existing plumbing so you can avoid the expense of installing new pipes.

3. Weak or Corroded Pipes

Time and usage will cause most plumbing materials to wear out. Cast iron and steel pipes tend to be most vulnerable to these issues, but other plumbing will eventually wear down. Cast iron is also susceptible to significant amounts of scale buildup if you live in an area with hard water. These issues mean you'll need to take more care to avoid causing damage to your home's plumbing.

Fortunately, professionals use equipment such as drain cameras to inspect and understand the condition of your pipes. This information allows them to select appropriate methods for drain cleaning and other repairs to avoid causing damage to worn-out plumbing. 

If you need plumbing services, contact a local company.