Old House Plumbing Tips

GriffinPlumbingYour Paso Robles Plumbers

What you don’t know can hurt your budget.

Old homes can be full of vintage charm and hidden challenges. Whether considering a purchase or enjoying the home you already have, there could be plumbing issues you should be aware of. Your Paso Robles plumbers give you the lowdown on three high-dollar red flags.

Lead, Galvanized, and Polybutylene Water Lines

Water supply lines have been made of some great materials and some not-so-great ones.

Prior to understanding the severe health risks it posed, lead was considered ideal for water supply lines because it was easy to work with. Although lead pipe stopped being installed, lead could still be found in the solder that was connecting pipes until the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1986.

Galvanized pipes, protected by a layer of zinc, were used for a long time. Once the zinc started failing, however, rusting pipes became brittle, thin, and crumbly, blocking lines and causing leaks under homes and in walls.

Polybutylene, which became popular in the 1980s, was thought to be the answer to plumbers’ dreams. It was lightweight, easy to install, and affordable. It was removed from the market when the nightmare of flaking, cracking and breaking polybutylene started waking builders up. Our plumbers still find failing polybutylene, in homes from the late 1970s to early 1990s, from Paso Robles to Pismo Beach.

Outdated Sewer lines

Deterioration and intrusion are the two biggies when it comes to compromised sewer lines. Tree roots are a common culprit, causing clogging and pipe damage by sneaking into the line wherever small failures or collapse give them the opportunity.

Here’s a review of some of the deteriorated materials of yesteryear our plumbers encounter in Paso Robles and surrounding areas.

Clay sewer lines, made in short lengths because they’re heavy, are famous for letting tree roots in at their many seams. They are also prone to cracking and breaking over time.

Cast iron pipes can last a very long time but are prone to rust. The tricky thing is, they tended to rust from the inside out. Homeowners are often unaware they have an impending problem. Instead, they don’t find the problem until a thin surface area finally gives in.

Equally problematic, galvanized steel was sometimes used as a waste line under the home before tying into the main cast iron to head out to the street.

Bituminous fiber pipe, often known as Orangeburg, was made from layers of pressed wood pulp and pitch. It was known to deform from pressure and deteriorate quickly. Although it could fail in as few as 10 years, it sometimes lasted much, much longer.

Pipe Bellies

Humans aren’t the only ones prone to sagging bellies with age. As homes settle and shift, the pipes under them can move, causing sunken, bowed or buckling areas known as pipe bellies. These affect water flow, which can cause stoppages or leaks.

Although replacing old plumbing can be costly, addressing issues before they cause further problems will always save you money. Don’t wait until you have an emergency on your hands. Whether you’re in Paso Robles or elsewhere in San Luis Obispo County, the expert plumbers at Griffin Plumbing can do a thorough inspection to identify potential challenges under or within your home. To find out more call us at 805-934-1949 today, or schedule an appointment online!