Checking Out the Plumbing: The Lifespans of Common Household Pipes

Checking Out the Plumbing: The Lifespans of Common Household Pipes

The plumbing system is one of the most important components in any home, including those in Denver. The pipes that compose the system perform heavy-duty functions. As such, they are designed to be durable – able to withstand high-pressure water and then some. However, all things have limits, including pipes. The lifespan of pipes vary, depending on the material they’re are made of and their use.

Checking Out the Plumbing

Water Supply

Improvement Center enumerates galvanized steel, copper, and plastic as common pipe materials used in home water supplies.

Galvanized steel is coated with zinc. It was used in pipes before the 1960s so you might find such pipes in your home if it was built around those times. They were no longer used after that. You’ll likely need to have them replaced soon because their lifespan is around 40 to 50 years, and only if the water is in good condition.

Copper pipes corrode more slowly than galvanized steel. They last around 50 to 70 years, again, depending on the condition of the water. They can reach the higher end of their lifespan when the water is pH-neutral. If this is the case, some plumbers claim copper pipes can last even longer than 70 years. Electrical grounding can also speed up the corrosion of pipes. While copper pipes need to be grounded, appliances should not be grounded to the pipes as this could hasten corrosion.

Plastic pipes for water supply come in two types: CPVC and PEX. For CPVC, the expected lifespan is around 50 to 75 years, while for PEX, it is about 40 years. Take note that PEX fittings may include brass or copper, which could also make them prone to the same issues as copper pipes.

Waste Pipes

For waste pipes, the common materials are cast iron and plastic.

Cast iron pipes are thick. While they may rust, it takes quite a long time before they suffer from leaks. The lifespan is rated at 50 to 60 years on average, but may also last up to a hundred.

Plastic pipes for waste lines are made of PVC or ABS. PVC is often used to connect the house to the street, while ABS is typically used inside the home. They last for about 50 to 80 years.

Time to Replace?

If your pipes are approaching the end of their lifespans, it doesn’t absolutely mean you need to have them replaced. House Logic points out that well-maintained pipes may last longer. Conversely, poorly-maintained ones may develop problems sooner than expected. To make sure your plumbing pipes are still in good condition, have them inspected by a professional plumber, such as one from Total Plumbing.


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