Unfortunately, nothing is permanent, including the piping system inside your house. Over time, the tubing gradually corrodes, rusts, and decays.

If you don’t replace the plumbing, most experienced local Long Beach plumbers will tell you that you are eventually going to get leaks —or at even worse, a possible flood of water or raw sewage into your home that can cost thousands of dollars in damage to your building and personal belongings.

Take into consideration that replacing old pipes requires cutting open walls and floors, so you certainly don’t want to do the job before it is really needed. Here’s how to assess your plumbing system and know when it’s time for a repipe of you plumbing system.

Understanding Your Pipes

The type of plumbing in your house dictates just how long you can expect it to last. Our local Long Beach Plumbing Experts suggest you review the home inspection report you received when you originally bought your home to see what kind of pipes you have — or bring in a trusted local Long Beach Plumber to do a free inspection of your plumbing system.

Your Pipes’ Lifespan
TypeMaterialTypical lifespan
Supply pipes (under constant pressure and therefore most likely to cause water damage when they leak)Brass
Galvanized steel
80-100 yrs70-80 yrs80-100 yrs
Drain linesCast iron
Polyvinyl chloride (known as PVC)
80-100 yrs25-40 yrs

If your pipes are older than these guidelines, it doesn’t necessarily mean they need to be replaced. Like anything else, pipes may last longer if maintained properly.

Poorly maintained ones or those in areas with hard water (meaning it has high mineral content), may fail sooner.

Remove Lead and Polybutylene

There are two other types of water supply pipe that should be removed right away no matter how old they are.

Lead pipes, mainly used in the early 1900s, generally have a life expectancy of 100 years, but they can leach lead into your drinking water, a drastic health hazard.

Polybutylene pipes, used from the 1970s through the 1990s, are know to have breakage.

Look Out for Signs of Trouble

If your house is more than about 60 years old, make it an annual “thing” to look at any exposed pipe — in basements, crawlspaces, and utility rooms—for telltale signs of trouble.

In addition, make sure to check the tubing for discoloration, stains, dimpling, pimples, or flaking, which are all indications of corrosion. If you happen to discover any irregularities, bring in a local Long Beach Plumber to do an inspection.

You’ll want to keep a look out for leaks too, of course. Even tiny ones that are easy to repair may be indicators that the time for whole-house replacement is coming up.

Always remember, usually the original pipes in your home are the

  • Same vintage
  • Same material
  • And they’ve been subjected to the same water supply and usage patterns

As a result, if you’ve got sporadic leaks in some places, they will begin showing up throughout your system soon. This is typically when it’s time to change your water lines.

Also, when you fill your bathtub, look at the color of your water —especially after a vacation when it has been sitting in the pipes for quite some time.

If the water looks brown or yellow, what you’re seeing is rust, a sign of decay inside the pipes. This is another reason to consider replacing your pipes.

Best Opportunities to Replace Pipes

You’ll need to rely on a local trusted Long Beach Plumber to advise you on when’s a good time for a pipe replacement.

It’s always a great idea to get a second and even third opinion prior to embarking on a replacement project. Here are a few ways you can mitigate the cost and hassle of the job.

Replace what’s exposed. For a home with plaster walls, wood paneling, or other features that make it hard to gain access to in-wall pipes, think about at least replacing pipes that aren’t buried in the walls.

Although it’s a pretty large job, replacing exposed pipes in a basement, crawlspace, or utility room is fairly straightforward, because the plumber can get to the pipes at ease.

Depending on the configuration of your house, the local Long Beach Plumber may be able to access the vast majority of your system this way.

Replace when you renovate. Whenever you remodel a portion of your house, take the chance to inspect—and if need be, replace—any plumbing lines that are exposed when you open up the walls and floors.

This includes not only the plumbing in the kitchen or bathroom that you’re remodeling, but also any pipes passing through the walls to feed upstairs bathrooms.