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There’s something undeniably charming about older homes. They have so much character and sophistication that many modern “cookie-cutter” homes lack. The pleasing aesthetic of old properties tempts homebuyers who are looking for something special, and we understand why. However, you should be aware of what you’re getting yourself into when purchasing an older property, such as potential plumbing issues. Here are four common plumbing problems in older homes:

Poor-Quality Pipe Material

Standards have changed a lot over the past century. Before modern safety protocols were put in place, builders used pipes made out of harmful or unreliable materials. The three poor-quality pipe materials you’ll find in an older home are: 

Lead Pipes

Lead pipes used to be favored because of their durability and ability to be molded into efficient shapes for water flow. Unfortunately, we now know that these pipes cause lead poisoning, which leads to symptoms like developmental problems in children and kidney failure in adults. Lead poisoning gained attention in the 1920s, but these pipes weren’t officially banned until 1986. Homes built before the Safe Water Act of 1986 may have lead pipes or fitting. If you invest in a home with lead piping, you’re going to have to get them replaces or face serious health consequences. 

Galvanized Steel Pipes

After lead pipes started to fall from popularity, galvanized steel pipes became the new thing, especially in the 1960s. Unfortunately, like lead pipes, they came with problems too. Galvanized steel pipes are made from iron and zinc. After a while, they start to corrode, which leads to high rust levels in the water. If the home you’re looking at was built in the 1960s, you should have your plumbing inspected.

Polybutylene Pipes 

Lead pipes and galvanized steel finally got kicked to the curb eventually. Then polybutylene pipes became the next big thing in plumbing. For three decades, from the 1970s to the 1990s, contractors used these plastic pipes when building homes. Soon it became evident that the chemicals used in most residential water did not react well with the kind of plastic in polybutylene pipes. The chemicals cause polybutylene pipes to become brittle and crack, leading to major repair needs. Beware of polybutylene pipes! They are not durable or reliable. 

An old bathroom with work getting done demonstrating plumbing problems in older homes

Sloping Lines

When your home gets older, it starts to move and shift a little bit. These movements can cause your pipes and drain lines to slope or “belly.” Sloping pipes can lead to serious blockages that flood your yard with toxins from wastewater and cause damage to your foundation. Signs of pipe bellies are foul odors, slow drain times, and repeated back-ups. 

Vintage Fixtures

Vintage fixtures charm with their attractive, antique appearance. However, old plumbing fixtures like faucets, tubs, and toilets may experience decay and corrosion after a time, which will lead to costly repair needs. It’s better to find modern fixtures in another style that suits the interior of your home and your tastes. 

Root Intrusion

We would have a hard time existing without trees. They produce oxygen, which we need to survive. Sadly, though, trees sometimes can work against us. As they grow, trees spread out their roots to find water sources. On older properties where the trees are often the same age, roots have often reached the pipelines and started to sneak their way inside. It’s important to take care of this quickly before extensive damage occurs.

We Can Help With Plumbing Problems in Older Homes! 

We don’t mean to discourage you from purchasing an older home or moving out of your current one. You should be aware of potential plumbing issues in older homes, but many of them are easily fixed by a professional. Contact the trained technicians at ASAP Plumbing Experts today for assistance!