Start thinking about plumbing maintenance

There never is a bad time to start thinking about the short and long term maintenance of your homes plumbing system. Plumbing tends to be a top expense and concern in many houses with problems ranging from leaky sinks to faulty water heaters, or corroding plumbing.

In this post we’ll talk about a couple common problems we see during our inspections, and how you might avoid or prevent them.

Galvanized Pipes

Galvanized pipes are steel pipes that have been dipped in a protective coating (zinc) to prevent corrosion and rust. This was commonplace in homes built before 1960. When it was invented, galvanized pipes were an alternative to lead. After decades of using galvanized pipes, we’ve found that decades of exposure to water unfortunately leads them to corrode and rust from the inside out. We see this often in older neighborhoods that have not updated their plumbing.

galvanized pipes soon to be plumbing issues

Aside from simply becoming unusable, in the process of degrading, aged galvanized pipes can cause low water pressure, uneven water distribution, discoloration of water and eventually leaks and cracks. Keeping plumbing maintenance front of mind will hopefully prevent serious issues as a result of such cracks and breaks in your plumbing.

Frankly this can often be a large and expensive project, depending on the home. We suggest that if you have any older style plumbing such as galvanized, copper, or steel, that you consider consulting a plumber about upgrading your system to newer and more efficient methods of plumbing such as PVC.

Sinks Draining Slowly

A slow draining sink is usually the result of a blockage in the plumbing. Sometimes, this can be related to galvanized pipes. If galvanized pipes can be confirmed not to be the issue, then it is likely the cause of a block due to congealed fats, food remnants, hair, etc.

Often times this can be remedied by using a product like Draino, baking soda and vinegar, using a plunger or possibly a plumbers snake (aka, drain auger).

Do be careful attempting to clean your own drains, if your attempts seem unsuccessful it is best to resort to calling a professional to remedy, before making something worse than it already may be.

plunging sink with hand plunger

Faulty Water Heater

We often see water heaters that are 10-15 years old. The typical, although not guaranteed lifespan of the average water heater is about 20 years. Water heaters can be a bit pricey to purchase and install, but setting aside a little money each month (we suggest about 1% of your homes appraised value each year) will make this a lot less stressful when the time comes. Being based in Michigan, we have extreme hot and cold seasons, so hot showers are often a must! Keep your water heaters age and condition front of mind as you decide your home maintenance plan, as it is a main component of your plumbing maintenance.

Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure can often plague older homes and while it may not be a dire emergency, it can be very annoying to deal with low water pressure. This can make showers less enjoyable, and common chores like doing dishes difficult and time consuming.

If low water pressure in your shower or faucets is an issue, it’s worth noting that very often this may be caused by a build-up of sediment and mineral deposits. You can attempt to soak your shower heads or faucet aerator in vinegar to clean them, or consider replacing if they are old.

dirty faucet aerator causing plumbing issues

Get to your plumbing maintenance before it gets to you!

These are just a few areas that we see commonly avoided as a part of routine maintenance during our home inspections. We’ll update this page periodically with any other common issues, tips and tricks we may find and more!

For more, feel free to check out our pages on siding maintenance and attics!

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