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A lot of people are drawn to older homes in Houston, TX because of their rustic charm, but older homes do not come without their problems. While they tend to be more distinctive and individual, Spring Branch, TX homes that are older may need a little extra work. It is true that many older homes were constructed with materials that are now considered too expensive for quick builds, but other areas like the plumbing may not be of matching quality. This is one reason why a plumber should always look over a home before you make your final purchase.
However, if you already own the older home calling in a plumber at this point is probably not a bad idea. This is even more true if you haven’t taken the time to have a professional check out the system at any point. Older homes can hide a lot of issues behind plaster walls and molding that can turn into huge issues if you don’t address them right away. In particular there are a handful of plumbing issues that are very common in old homes that it would be smart to check for. Here are a few of the most common plumbing issues that arise when you own a home that is 50 years or older.
Outdated Piping Materials
Laws have changed a lot in just the last three decades so it is possible that any home built prior to the 90s has pipes that are no longer approved for home use. There are three main plumbing materials that can cause issues for you in your new home: lead, galvanized steel and polybutylene. Lead piping used to be used for water main lines and sewer lines. While it has been restricted for the past century, it was not actually banned completely until 1986. If you own a home built before this, then it is possible there is lead plumbing which needs to be replaced by a plumber immediately.
Galvanized steel is present in homes that were constructed before the 1960s. While it is not as dangerous, the zinc coating erodes so at this point most pipes are corroded or are the cusp of breaking. It is much easier to call a plumber in Spring Branch, TX to replace a pipe proactively then to wait until it bursts and you have a huge mess, water damage, and a destroyed plumbing system on your hands.
Polybutylene was thought to be a miracle piping system and was widely installed in homes in the 70s and 80s. Unfortunately, it turned out that common oxidants added to drinking water reacted with the plastic causing it to crack. If you suspect you have plastic piping it is important to call a professional and have them replaced because it is only a matter of time before they will fail.
Sewer Line Failure
If you are like most people, you rarely think about your sewer line. In fact, outside of reading this blog you probably don’t think much about your plumbing system either. However, waiting until there is a problem and calling an emergency plumber in Houston, TX is not the most cost-effective way to handle plumbing issues in an old home. The truth is if you have an older home there is a good chance there are issues with your plumbing system as well.
There are several reasons for this. To start, most sewer lines in older homes were built decades before homes had all of the modern appliances that we use on a regular basis today such as dishwashers and garbage disposals. This makes it more likely that they are having large streams of water flushed through daily that they are not equipped to handle. Second, older homes usually coincide with older trees which means larger tree roots. Tree roots are the number one cause of shifting sewer lines, clogs, and broken sewer pipes. If your floor drain clogs on a regular basis it is a good chance that your sewer line needs attention.
A plumber can inspect your sewer line with a camera to ensure that it is operating efficiently and there are no partial clogs or tree roots causing damage. If the professional finds issues, they can suggest relining or trenchless sewer line replacement. This is the cheapest way to solve the problem and usually the least disruptive if it can be identified and treated before something bursts.
Pipe Bellies Under Your Home
There is a large piping system under your home that you likely are not aware of, but just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it is not a problem. Pipes are generally installed under homes inside of the concrete slab or buried deep under it. Over time old houses start to shift slowly which eventually can push these pipes downwards. This can create a slope that makes it harder for water to flow through. Known as a “belly,” eventually these sloped pipes can create pools of sediment or waste that will result in hidden clogs. A skilled plumber can usually utilize trenchless pipe repair in this situation as well so long as the problem is not too serious.
Old Fixtures and Connections
Finally, if your plumbing system is old, your home is old, and the pipes are old, it only stands to reason that your fixtures, faucets, and connection lines are as well. These are common sights of leaks and while you can try to get by, you will waste a lot of water and eventually find yourself in a position dealing with a complete break. Instead of ignoring the problem, make it a goal to work with your local plumber to replace one faucet or fixture at a time until you slowly update the entire house. Your wallet will thank you in the end since you will never wake up to a flooded bathroom because of a rusty line valve failing.
These are just several of the dozens of plumbing issues that an old house can have. If you have purchased an older home or live in an older home and are unsure of the condition of your plumbing system it is a good idea to have a Houston plumber inspect it. bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of West Houston is an expert local plumbing company that would be glad to come out and take a look at your plumbing system. Give us a call today to get started.