Risks of Having Older Pipes in Your Home

Not everyone wants a brand-new house. Older homes have a sense of character and charm and are often in more central locations. However, older homes also come with old plumbing systems made of lead or galvanized steel, which if left unchecked can cause problems for your health and safety. If your home is built before 1960, your pipes could likely use some upgrading.

Here are a few risks associated with having older pipes in your home.

Increases Home Insurance Premiums

Did you know that the type of pipes used in your home can affect your home insurance premiums? Insurers often charge higher premiums if your home has lead or galvanized steel piping as they are more prone to leaks and ruptures. Copper or plastic pipes are preferred. Having an older plumbing system also affects your resale value as most buyers want and expect a new plumbing system.

Prone to Leaks and Ruptures

Let’s face it — not all pipes are created equal. Most plumbing systems built before the 1960’s were only designed to last around 40 years. If your plumbing system in your older home has not yet been upgraded to plastic or copper, chances are you are running on borrowed time.

Over the years, lead or galvanized steel pipes corrode and weaken at the joints leading to leaks and potential ruptures. Sometimes, an older pipe simply can’t keep up with the water or sewage demands of your household. Take preventative measures to replace old plumbing before any major incidents occur.

Hot Water Issues

In an older home with galvanized steel pipes, the hot water supply (or lack thereof), is often the first sign that there are problems. The hot water lines may have low pressure, or the pipes have clogged up.

Old Sewer Lines

With older homes, it was common to run the sewer line from the house to the street. If the sewer line is as old as the house, chances are it is overgrown with sprawling tree roots or has corroded. A burst sewer line is not something anybody wants to deal with.

Potential Health Risks of Lead Pipes

To be safe, if your house was built before 1975, check to make sure your pipes are not made of lead. These types of lead service lines can affect your drinking water. Lead is a soft metal and can be easily scratched or scraped. Contact your city to determine if there are lead service lines in your area. You may also request to have your tap water sampled for signs of lead.

If you do have lead service pipes, let water run until it is cold before using; this eliminates the water that has been sitting for long periods of time in lead pipes.

Lead is a harmful substance that can affect your nervous system, brain, blood and kidneys. Young children and pregnant women are especially susceptible to the harms of lead. Signs of lead poisoning include vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea and convulsions.

To learn more about the risks associated with having older pipes and how to prevent flooding contact National Flood Prevention today.

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