HOW LONG WILL MY PLUMBING PIPES LAST?

Before you can determine how long your pipes will last, it’s a good idea to educate yourself on the types of pipes in in your home. You can find this information amongst the papers you received when you bought your home, if a proper inspection was informed. However, if you just can’t find those papers, it’s a good idea to call a plumber to do an inspection and compile a report for you.

Different Types of Plumbing Supply pipes

Galvanized steel

You’ll find these in older homes. They haven’t been used in plumbing since the 1960’s. They’re likely to need replacing soon. With fair water conditions, a galvanized pipe can last 40-50 years, considering the water conditions and other elements are all at and optimal level. So it is very likely that the life-span could be longer or even shorter depending on the situation.

Copper

Copper pipes corrode as well, but (theoretically) over a longer period than the galvanized types. Generally a copper pipe can last 50-70 years under good conditions. PH levels in the water and grounding both affect the pipes and speed up corrosion extensively.

If copper pipes are used for water, they need to be grounded, which means that the copper pipe used for water supply is expected to give in a little sooner.

Brass

This type of material makes excellent pipes for use with hot-water distribution as the brass does not rust as quickly as the galvanized steel and copper pipes do. The modern brass pipes are made of 85% brass and are generally a bit more expensive than steel, but they’ll last a bit longer than steel. Brass pipes will last about 40-70 years on average, with great conditions.

Plastic

Plastic pipes come in two variations: CPVC and PEX piping.

CVPC piping has a lifespan of 50-75 years while the PEX plastic ruins much faster and lasts only about 40 years or so.

Drain Lines and Waste Lines

Concrete/Clay

These pipes can last (theoretically up to 100 years). The environment and conditions definitely make a big difference to the average amount of time a concrete or clay pipe will be in service. Generally used outdoors, below ground, a concrete pipe is subject to the roots of trees and other environmental factors that can break the pipe open, over time. These pipes need to be regularly inspected for this reason.

Cast Iron

Cast-iron is said to last up to 100 years as well.  But the average lifespan for a cast-iron pipe is, in fact, reported by plumbers to be much lower, due to the rust factor. Many plumbers say that the pipe makes it through only 40 years. Hence, a cast-iron pipe is generally predicted to last between 40-75 years.

Plastic

PVC and ABS plastics are both used for piping. You’ll find that ABS plastic piping is the preferred piping used for indoor plumbing needs while the PVC is used outdoors. Both of these plastics are said to be good for 50-80 years. As with all plastic though, time and over-use will make it more brittle.

Your pipes carry your drinking water to you, and the waste away from you. It’s very important that they are in tip-top shape. Over time, everything corrodes, and if you are informed and knowledgeable about your pipes, you’ll be able to take the necessary measures to replace them when it’s time.

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