50% of homeowners file a water damage claim every year, with the average claim costing $10,000, Insurance Business reports. Aging homes rife with plumbing problems are one of the biggest culprits of expensive water damage. Whether you’re buying, selling or continuing to live in your old home, it’s important to know the condition of the pipes underneath to prevent potentially serious and expensive problems.
It’s normal for the ground your home’s built on to gradually move over time. In turn, your house shifts with the ground. However, this also causes the pipes underneath to develop “bellies”. If the pipes begin to slope downwards or bend (forming a belly), the water flow is inhibited. Although pipe bellies take a while to form and for the effects to be noticeable, they eventually cause serious problems: poor water flow, sediment in the water, poor drainage, blockages and leaks. A plumber can manually repair the line and clear any blockages.
Your home may have a problem with galvanized pipes if it was built prior to the 1960s. In fact, some laws require sellers to replace galvanized pipes before putting their homes up for sale. Galvanized pipes are steel or iron with a zinc coating for added protection. They last for around 50 years before needing replacing. Zinc corrodes over time, which can result in leaks, breakages, discolored water, and water damage. Removal can be difficult, since the pipes become brittle with age and need to be manually pulled apart, removed and replaced. It is therefore recommended to use a licenced plumber, and a reputable contractor can remove your galvanized pipes quickly and efficiently and replace them with modern materials (such as copper or PEX).
Having faced decades of wear and tear, failing sewer lines are a common problem in older homes. Cast iron pipes are more likely to leak and crack, while tree roots can grow around the lines and cause damage and blockages. If you have sewage seeping into the ground or backing up into the home, failing sewer lines are the culprit. However, working to prevent the problem from occurring is easier than fixing it, so regularly hire a plumber to check the condition of the lines, diagnose potential problems, and prevent disaster from happening.
Old homes offer plenty of charm and character, but they may also be hiding serious plumbing problems. Hiring a professional to check the condition of your plumbing can highlight small issues as well as ticking time bombs threatening to lower the value of your home.