Replacing your plumbing can be an involved and expensive project. The only thing worse than needing to replace your plumbing is unexpectedly having to do so in an emergency. Luckily there are many warning signs that your plumbing is on its way out. Look around your home for and be aware of these 5 signs your plumbing needs to be replaced.
1. Your Water is Discoloured
One of the easiest ways to tell there is something not quite right with your plumbing is the colour of your water. Is it crystal clear or does it have a brown tint to it? If your water is an odd colour, it’s likely due to rusty pipes.
As pipes age, they naturally begin to deteriorate and will accumulate rust. Over time, rust particles will flake off and go into your water. When this happens, you will need a certified plumber to take a look and confirm this is the issue. Most often rust in water is cause for replacing all of your pipes, so you want to be sure that’s what you’re dealing with. Replacing your pipes is the only way to deal with the rust and remove it from your water for good.
2. You Can Hear Your Pipes
Does it sound like your shower is singing before you get in it? If you hear a loud noise that sounds like screaming when you turn on your shower, this is your pipes calling for help. While noise coming from your pipes isn’t always the sign of immediate issues, if left untreated for long enough, these issues can become detrimental to your home. If you’re concerned about the noises your pipes are making, it’s best to schedule an appointment with a plumber who can inspect for any issues.
3. Water Pressure Isn’t Right
In Canadian homes, the average water pressure is supposed to be around 60 psi (pounds-per-square inch). If your water pressure is above that, around 80 psi, it could damage your plumbing, including valves in taps and appliances. It could even be causing excessive wear and tear in your hot water tank.
If your water pressure is too low, around 30 psi, this could be a sign of clogged pipes or disengaged entry valve. If your water pressure isn’t quite right, it’s best to have a plumber take a look and let you know the cause and potential issues down the line.
4. You See Wall Stains
Wall stains are almost always a sign of water damage. If you notice brown stains on your ceilings or walls, they could be caused by a leaking pipe. If left untreated, your walls will continue to accumulate stains as your pipe continues to leak. This could result in some overwhelming water damage such as burst pipes, flooding and mold. At the first sight of wall stains, be sure to bring in a plumber who can correctly find the cause of the leak and create a solution.
5. They’re Old and Worn
Much like everything else in our homes, pipes will deteriorate over time. This deterioration happens slowly over decades but will eventually lead to leaking and/or burst pipes. There are two common signs of old pipes: flaking and leaking.
Flaking occurs on the exteriors of pipes when they have significantly deteriorated. If you notice small pieces of metal flaking off the outside of your pipes, it’s best to have a plumber do an inspection of the condition of your pipes.
Another sure sign of old pipes is if they start to leak. Ideally, not even a single drop of water should ever escape from your pipes. If your pipes are leaking, there is definitely something wrong with them. It could be a number of things, from corrosion to physical trauma to plain old age, there many things that can cause your pipes to leak. Speak to a plumber about what could be wrong with yours so you can take the proper action required.
Bonus: You have Kitec pipes
You may have heard horror stories on the news about this recalled brand of pipe unexpectedly bursting. Kitec plumbing was widely used in Canadian homes and condos between 1995 and 2007. It was most commonly used for drinkable water pipes, in-floor and hot-water baseboard systems. The main issue with Kitec plumbing is that it may prematurely leak or burst, causing floods and water damage.
Experts agree that the only solution is to completely replace Kitec plumbing in your house or condo. Taking on a job like this is quite extensive, as it will require access behind walls and through floors. If you’re concerned you might have Kitec pipes in your home, there are a few ways to check. Look out for bright orange and blue pipes, the most common colours for Kitec. You can also look out for a visible stamp that reads Kitec or KTC. Check near your hot water tank or under your kitchen and/or bathroom sinks for these signs.
If you’re concerned about the condition of your pipes, it’s always best to consult with an expert. They will know exactly what to look for and know how to remedy any issues they find. If you see any of these 5 warning signs, it’s likely time to replace your pipes. Connect with a plumber before your old pipes do serious damage to your home.
Article updated September 27, 2019.