You may love the look and history of a vintage home, so you are probably excited if you have recently purchased a home that is several years old. Unfortunately, while older homes are charming, there are often several issues that can pop up simply because the components used during the original construction are older, worn, and out of date. This is especially true of plumbing, and it is critical that you have your plumbing system inspected to fix any minor issues before these issues become huge problems.
Here are a few plumbing problems you might encounter if you are purchasing an older home.
Outdated Plumbing Materials
Plumbing technology has come a long way, which is why most modern homes feature pipes made from some form of safe plastic. Older homes, particularly those that have been sitting vacant or that have not been remodeled, often feature plumbing constructed from a variety of materials that are no longer used because they are less reliable or even dangerous, including:
Polybutylene. A popular product in the 1960s and 1970s, polybutylene is inexpensive and, unfortunately, can easily break down and fall apart when exposed to the oxidants naturally found in water.
Galvanized metal. Galvanized metals are covered with a layer of iron and zinc and were used extensively in homes constructed in the early 20th century. Over time, the iron can wear off the pipes and lead to discolored water.
Lead. Prior to the known health concerns associated with lead, several homes featured lead pipes. It can be difficult to determine if your metal pipes are lead, which is why you should contact a plumber to make the final determination.
If your plumber determines your older home features lead pipes, your plumber will recommend having all the lead pipes removed immediately. According to the Mayo Clinic, exposure to lead for several years can lead to damage to the kidneys and nervous system.
Pipe and Sewer Line Bellies
The pipes in the ground under and around your home will rise and fall as the soil naturally rises and settles. Unfortunately, this natural movement in the soil can lead to a problem called sewer line bellies or pipe bellies. These bellies refer to a low spot or dip in the pipe that disrupts the flow of liquids that occurs naturally from gravity.
The low spot or bow in the pipes allows water and other debris to collect, which can slow down the drain in your home and eventually lead to a nasty clog. The best way to determine if there is a belly in your pipes or sewer lines is to contact a plumber to have the pipes inspected.
Severely Clogged Drains
From soap scum residue and hair to cooking grease, the eventual buildup of residue on pipes is often unavoidable. Unfortunately, when an older home features older pipes that were not well-maintained or periodically flushed, this buildup can lead to a series of nasty clogs throughout the plumbing system. It is not uncommon for older homes to feature several clogs that should be removed immediately to prevent further damage.
A plumber can help you determine the best course of action to eliminate these clogs. For example, if the clogs and buildup are minor, your plumber can eliminate the clogs and clean out the debris to prevent clogs in the future. Unfortunately, if the clogs are severe and the buildup has damaged the inner lining of the pipes, you may need to replace sections of your plumbing.
From severe clogs to pipe bellies and the presence of outdated, damaged, and potentially dangerous materials, when it comes to purchasing an older home, there are several plumbing issues you should be aware of.
To learn more, contact a plumbing contractor.