Older houses are often cherished for their charm and character. Many that remain standing were built to unique specifications and constructed with materials that are prohibitively expensive in modern construction. For many young people looking to buy their first home, an old house that needs a little extra care is often an attractive option.
However, these houses often conceal a number of problems behind their fancy crown molding and plaster walls. While some of these issues are relatively minor inconveniences, others are ticking time bombs that could cause significant damage. Potential homeowners would be wise to keep in mind a few specific plumbing features that are unfortunately quite common in homes more than a few decades old. Here are some of the most common plumbing problems found in old houses and how to solve them.
While old homes have some kind of charm that new structures seem to lack, they also come with their host of plumbing problems. Even though an older home may be completely redone on the outside and be the curb appeal of the neighborhood, the skeleton of the house may still be decades old (if not more than a hundred years old!).
Even if the attractive details of old homes, such as crown moldings and hardwood floors, may appeal to you, old plumbing can be especially problematic. The plumbing inside of homes may be as old as the structure itself and can lead to plenty of problems and unanticipated costs, especially if the plumbing wasn’t taken care of through the years.
The most efficient way to avoid any catastrophic plumbing problems - and the high costs associated with them - includes understanding the condition of your home’s plumbing situation.
Just because old homes may have an array of plumbing problems doesn’t mean there are no solutions. Here are some of the most common plumbing problems you may encounter in your old home - and how you can solve them as well!
Any home built before the 1990s could potentially feature pipes made from materials that are no longer approved by U.S. building codes. If the home has been renovated within the last few decades, some or all of these pipes were probably replaced, but it’s always recommended to have the home’s plumbing inspected to ensure there are no unexpected surprises the first time a drain clogs.
Older homes could potentially feature three outdated types of plumbing pipes:
Pipes installed underneath homes, either buried in the ground or encased in the concrete slab, are affected by the gradual movement and shifting of the house over time. If the pipes shift downwards, they can create a negative slope, or "belly," that restricts the flow of water and creates pools that accumulate waste or sediment. Left unattended, pipe bellies can cause stoppages or leaks over time.
Depending on the situation, trenchless pipe bursting repair may be the best solution for pipe bellies. However, you will need a professional plumber to go on the scene and check out how severe it is.
Buried and out of sight, no one thinks much about their sewer line until it fails, seeping sewage into the ground or backing foul-smelling wastewater up into the home. Sewer lines see heavy use and those in older homes were often built before modern appliances (garbage disposals, dishwashers, etc) and toilets forced more water through them, making them more susceptible to failure, especially if there’s been extensive remodeling. Older homes are also more likely to have issues with sewer lines shifting or being damaged by tree roots.
Trenchless sewer line replacement or relining can be the fastest way to fix failed sewer lines. In many cases, trenchless repair is a single-day fix. There’s no need for excessive, time-consuming labor to dig up a pipe (or replace damaged landscaping).
Nothing lasts forever. Older homes often have faucets, fixtures, and supply line connections that are nearing the end of their lifespan. Corrosion and general wear and tear can lead to restricted water flow, broken knobs, and leaks that make simply using water in the house an inconvenience at best and an expensive disaster at worst. While many people try to simply "get by" with failing plumbing, things have a way of breaking at the worst possible time. No one wants to return from vacation to find that the rusty water line valve under the sink finally failed, causing hundreds or thousands of dollars in water damage.
Preventative maintenance is the best solution for preventing general wear and tear that can have expensive repairs down the road. Even if you do your own plumbing inspection, it’s important to have an actual, professional plumber to inspect your home’s plumbing once a year. A professional will have the tools and training to find problems that most homeowners may miss.
By their very nature, older homes have had plenty of opportunities to develop plumbing problems. It’s not a question of "if" the home has had plumbing repairs, but rather "who" did the repairs. Many old homes feature DIY repairs made by either the homeowner or a handyman rather than a professional plumber. These problems can range from the mundane, such as unsecured pipes or backward sink traps, to more serious and expensive mistakes, like unsafe water heaters or improperly sloped showers. While some of these repairs are more amusing than anything else, others have the potential to be quite dangerous and should be repaired immediately by calling a professional plumber.
While old homes have their own unique charm, they also present a number of unique problems. Anyone moving into a home built more than thirty years ago should be sure to have a thorough inspection completed by a licensed plumbing contractor who can identify any concerns. A few proactive steps today can head off potentially serious (and expensive) problems in the future.
If you are in the Sacramento area and facing plumbing issues in your old home, it's essential to reach out to a professional plumbing contractor for assistance. West Coast Hydronics & Plumbing is a trusted Sacramento plumbing contractor specializing in plumbing repairs and services for old homes. Whether you need pipe replacement, sewer line repair, fixture upgrades, or general maintenance, their team of experienced plumbers can provide the solutions you need
By relying on a professional plumbing contractor like West Coast Hydronics & Plumbing, you can benefit from their expertise, advanced tools, and knowledge of local building codes. They can accurately assess the condition of your plumbing system, identify any potential problems or outdated materials, and recommend the most effective solutions to ensure the proper functioning of your old home's plumbing.
When it comes to maintaining an old home, it's crucial to prioritize the health and functionality of its plumbing system. Regular inspections, timely repairs, and necessary upgrades can save you from costly repairs and potential property damage. By working with a reputable plumbing contractor like West Coast Hydronics & Plumbing, you can have peace of mind knowing that your old home's plumbing is in capable hands.
Remember, don't wait until a plumbing problem becomes a disaster. If you notice any signs of leaks, clogs, or outdated plumbing materials, contact West Coast Hydronics & Plumbing, your trusted Sacramento plumbing contractor, for immediate assistance.
Don't let plumbing problems dampen your experience of owning an old home. With proper care, attention, and the help of professionals, you can preserve the charm and character of your old house while ensuring that its plumbing system functions efficiently for years to come.
Trust West Coast Hydronics & Plumbing to be your reliable partner in maintaining the plumbing of your old home in Sacramento. Contact them today to schedule an inspection or request plumbing services.
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