Factors that Lead to Premature Pipe Replacement

Your house has a variety of pipes that run through it. The water supply pipes and the sewage pipes are just a couple of the types of pipes you’ll find in your home’s plumbing system. There are also the pipes that run natural gas to wherever you have gas appliances.

While all of these pipes will eventually wear down and need to be replaced, it is the sewage and water supply pipes that are prone to needing early replacement. These pipes come in a variety of different materials and typically last anywhere from 25 to over 100 years. Understanding what types of pipes you have can help you better gauge when they’ll be due for replacement.

Knowing what types of pipes you have can also help you understand what damages them and causes them to corrode and not last the expected service life. Here are the six most important contributors to your pipes wearing out early.

1. Water Quality

Water quality is one of the biggest factors contributing to pipe corrosion. When we think about water quality, it is not just the chemical pollutants we are talking about. Rather, everything that is in the water affects its quality and what it does to your pipes.

For instance, if your water contains a lot of minerals, it is considered hard. Minerals like calcium, magnesium and even iron will build up in the pipes and cause them to corrode. This leads to leaks in the pipes and the eventual need for replacement.

Adding a water softener will help remove these common contaminants and help extend the life of your pipes. Be sure to keep it full of salt, and perform regular maintenance. Also, be sure to replace the anode rod regularly to ensure it can continue to remove the optimum amount of minerals.

2. Subpar Pipe Material

As mentioned above, the material your pipes are made of will determine their regular service life. Common pipe materials include:

  • Galvanized Steel
  • Copper
  • Brass
  • PVC for Drain
  • Cast Iron for Drain

Older buildings also used lead pipes. The biggest issues with lead pipes are health impacts. If your pipes are older than 1986, you need to have your pipes evaluated by a licensed plumber.

Most other materials are of good quality to begin with, but they may lose that quality with poor installation. This is especially true for copper piping, which requires heating to seal with solder. Too much or too little heat will prevent it from sealing properly. This will lead to leaks from the joints and will cause the pipes to corrode from the outside.

If you are not experienced with sweating and sealing pipes, leave the installation to the professionals. If you attempt to tackle it yourself, you risk creating major problems, including flooding, water damage and further damage to your pipes.

3. Using Caustic Cleaning Products

Cleaning products have come into central focus for many reasons. Many consumers are becoming sensitive to what these chemicals do to their health. However, most homeowners have no idea what they do to their pipes.

Many cleaning products have bleach in them. While this is okay in products that are designed for pipes, other applications of bleach can accelerate the corrosion process. This bleach reacts with organic matter, releasing toxic fumes and corrosive compounds.

If you have plastic pipes in your home, the danger is in the heat caused by the chemical reaction. This heat can eat through your pipes, as well as warp them and cause them to leak. Once the pipes are weakened, they will have to be replaced to prevent damage from leaks.

4. Vibration in the Line

Water supply pipes are under pressure and, as such, are prone to vibration. These lines are secured to reduce possible damage. However, these brackets will eventually work loose and can damage the pipes and cause leaks.

Newer pipes are made of flexible materials that are less prone to vibrational damage. However, there are plenty of areas where vibration may cause an issue. Pipes connected to these appliances are susceptible to more vibration issues:

  • Refrigerators
  • Washing machines
  • Dishwashers
  • Water coolers

If you suspect your lines are damaged by vibration, call a licensed plumber to evaluate your pipes. If you catch the damage early enough, you can further secure the pipes and replace only the sections that are damaged.

5. Excessive Buildup

Pipes are prone to various kinds of buildup beyond minerals if you have hard water. Consider bathrooms and all the products you use to clean your body. While people do enjoy taking long showers, brevity is valued to reduce water consumption. However, without properly flushing the drain, these chemicals will harden over time.

Kitchens are another source of excessive buildup, especially if you have a garbage disposal. While it is nice to think that a little dish soap may clean all the grease away, rinsing this down the drain can cause significant damage to your pipes.

The key is to be careful of what you flush down your drains and then to ensure you are using enough water to flush it through your system. If you find your drains are constantly running slowly or your toilets are clogging, it is very likely you have a significant buildup somewhere in your system.

6. Roots and Trees

Mother nature is a powerful foe to your pipes. Trees and large shrubs don’t pay attention to your pipes. Instead, they go ahead and push through where they want to go. If you have trees in your yard, keep an eye on where the roots are going. If you have a slow drain or a backup from well down your line, you may have a root problem. Likewise, if your water lacks pressure, you may have a root that has penetrated your outside pipes.

A licensed plumber will run a camera down your pipes to inspect them and see if there are any roots or other obstructions. This will allow you to find the root problem—no pun intended.

If a root is discovered, you may be able to clear the root and salvage the line. However, if the damage is extensive, you may need to repipe the section. Our team is experienced and equipped to run trenchless sewer piping if you need to run a new sewer line.

What to Do If Your Pipes Are Aging Prematurely

If you think your pipes are prematurely corroding, the licensed plumbers at Christian Brothers are here to help. Whether you need to inspect for roots or leaks or have your piping evaluated, our plumbers have the experience to help.

Servicing Glendale since 1976, our licensed plumbers can handle everything from leaks and clogs to repairs and replacements. Hot water heaters, sinks, toilets and softeners are no problem for our team. Our team even has professional technicians and electricians to handle heating, cooling and electrical problems. Give us a call today to schedule your consultation.