When purchasing an older home in San Diego, much though is given to the look and feel of the home, but what about the inner workings? The arteries within the walls are just as, if not more, important than the superficial layers of the home.
The materials used, repairs, and maintenance can affect the health of your home’s plumbing. There are three particular plumbing issues that are commonly found in older San Diego homes:
Piping material that has been outdated and found to be faulty
Polybutylene is a material that is no longer up to code for installation, and is no longer installed in new homes. It was at one time thought to be the pipe of the future, and carried with it low cost and easy installation, which made it an alternative to traditional copper piping. As it turns out, the material did not hold up well, and ruptured pipes created millions of dollars in water damage. And even though those who manufactured polybutylene never admitted that the material itself was faulty or defective, they did fund a class action settlement for just under a billion dollars to take care of the claims pouring in from homeowners.
Although the exact cause of the defect remains uncertain, the theory is that the oxidants in public water systems reacted with the plastic material, which caused it to become brittle and flake off. This deteriorated the pipes, creating small fractures, which would expand over time, and eventually cause a failure of the pipe completely.
Another piping material that is no longer installed for water supply piping in homes is galvanized steel. It was a popular material to use in the 1970s, and had a lifespan of about 40 to 50 years due to corrosion problems. It was found that rust would build up inside the pipes, narrowing the space inside the pipes for water to flow through. It would restrict the flow of water to faucets, causing pipes throughout the house to spring leaks. The first leaks would pop up in the ground underneath the concrete slab, or even near the water heater because of an electrolytic reaction to the copper fittings which speed up corrosion.
Either of these issues can become problematic when applying for homeowner’s insurance. There are companies that will not issue a policy on older homes that have polybutylene or galvanized pipes in the home. Other companies may require that the homeowner hire a licensed plumber to inspect and certify the system as being in satisfactory condition.
Pipes and water fixtures have reached the end of their lifespan
Every element a home has an expected lifespan. The plumbing is no exception. Sometimes the pieces will last longer, and sometimes they could wear down sooner. The following are life expectancies for plumbing near San Diego components:
- Water Heaters – 10 to 20 years
- Sinks, Tubs, Toilets – 40 to 80 years
- Faucets – 15 to 25 years
- Shut-off Valves – 20 years
- Copper – 60 to 80 years
- Galvanized Steel – 40 to 50 years
- CPVC and PVC – 40 to 50 years
- PEX – 40 years
- Copper – 60 to 80 years
- Galvanized Steel – 40 to 60 years
- Cast Iron – 50 to 65 years
- PVC – 50 to 70 years
Signs of advanced deterioration is fairly easy to see. Heavy corrosion on the pipes are a clear indication that the piping may be at the end of its lifespan, and that it is time to contact a re-piping plumber to inspect the aging pipes. Leaks, especially in areas that show corrosion, is a clear indicator of the pipe’s age and survivability. Other components, such as the water shut off valve, should be inspected and/or replaced at certain points in their lifespan. Water valves are rated to last 20 years, because at that point, they tend to become frozen in the open position.
Repairs Made by Homeowner or Handyman Defective
There are some plumbing jobs that homeowners feel they can tackle themselves, and although that is true from time to time, it is far less likely that a licensed plumber near San Diego install or repair a pipe or piping component incorrectly. Some common renovation projects gone wrong by homeowners are traps installed backwards or doubled up, incorrect and/or unsafe water heater installation or repairs, unvented drains, and poorly secured pipes. Older homes may have more replaced parts than a newer home, so it is important to make sure that a thorough inspection of the plumbing in the home is done by a licensed San Diego plumber.
Re-piping the Home
If you purchase an older home, and find that the pipes are made of Polybutylene or galvanized steel, you may consider re-piping your home. Depending on the age of your home, and your pipes, you could be approaching that time where the pipes will start corroding, leaking, and creating more problems that will cost more money to repair. Integrity Re-piping company offers full home re-piping services, beginning with a free estimate. We offer copper and PEX re-piping services. PEX offers an option that will not scale, pit, or corrode, and is flexible, durable, and has proven to be dependable for over 20 years. It is also very easy to install by a professional re-piping plumber. We recommend that owners of older homes, whose age indicate the age of the pipes within consider re-piping with PEX piping. We hope that you will allow Integrity Repipe in San Diego to help you with the plumbing in your San Diego home.
Published by – Integrity Repipe Inc
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