Is it Time to Upgrade Your Plumbing?
Buying a home is one of the biggest investments and commitments a person can make in their lives. But when you’re in it for the long haul, you face a lot of questions about when you need to upgrade and change parts of your home.
Replace too often, and you’re wasting time and money. Not often enough, and you risk problems developing. Plumbing is high on that list: a cause of anxiety for millions of homeowners. But, the good news is that plumbing is changing, and you have more options than ever when it comes to upgrading and improving your system.
First, the main question:
Is It Time to Upgrade Your Plumbing?
The first questions you have to ask are, how old are my pipes and what are they made of? These are things every homeowner should know, so check your home’s documentation or have a plumber take a look.
Here’s a basic breakdown:
- Brass Supply Pipes: 80-100 years
- Copper Supply Pipes: 70-80 years
- Galvanized Steel Supply Pipes: 80-100 years
- Cast Iron Drain Lines: 80-100 years
- PVC Drain Lines: 25-40 years
If you’re just reaching some of those ranges and are wondering what determines whether your pipes will last 80 years or a full 100, look into whether your area has very hard water (meaning water with high mineral content) with a home test. That will cause your pipes to corrode faster.
Still, most people don’t consider touching their plumbing outside of a major overhaul. But these days, there are more and more ways to upgrade your system to improve its safety and efficiency without spending thousands of dollars tearing up your walls.
But Wait, There’s More Than Just Your Pipes!
There are plenty of other components in your plumbing system that are worth considering for an upgrade.
Keep the Heat and Go Tankless
Most of us have had an enormous and rather unsightly water heater in our basement or closet for our entire lives. It’s one of those home appliances that’s easy to take for granted. Until, that is, you end up with a water leak and have to spend thousands on flood restoration. Or until you realize you’re probably spending more than you need to on your energy bills as a result.
So why consider going tankless?
- Tankless water heaters cut down on energy costs by only providing hot water when it’s needed (the Department of Energy estimates the average family can save around $100 per year)
- They take up far less space than a conventional water heater
- They last 5-10 years longer than conventional heaters
- They eliminate the risk of massive home water damage
- They’re generally eligible for federal and state rebates to help cut down on their costs
So even if your pipes are fine, this is one upgrade that can really improve your energy costs, ensure you never run out of hot water, and protect your home from water leaks. But for that last benefit, there’s even more you can do.
How Leak Detection Equipment Is Changing the Game
Obviously, one of the biggest concerns with all the home plumbing issues discussed here is the possibility of a leak. It’s one of those events that can be very difficult to predict or quickly respond to. Fortunately, new integrated smart home technology is changing that.
Today’s new water leak detection systems use strategically placed sensors, which communicate with a home base to quickly detect any water leak and shut off the main valve to the house within seconds. That means what could have become a flooded basement remains a puddle on the floor. But there are other benefits as well.
For those with homes in colder climates, protecting your pipes against freezing is an enormous concern. One unexpected freeze can lead to years worth of damage. But remembering to shut off your water is always a hassle. That’s why using a system that allows you to automate and remotely control that process is a no-brainer.
Make Smart Investments in Your Home’s Plumbing
All of these tips come down to thinking strategically about where to put your time and resources. Money spent upgrading your pipes or installing a water leak detection system can pay for themselves by preventing even a single catastrophic water leak. A tankless water heater can pay for itself in just a few year of energy savings.
So is it time to upgrade your plumbing? In at least one way, chances are the answer is yes.
If you’d like to read more about taking care of your home and in particular about the benefits of a smart home water leak detection system, check out more at LeakSmart.