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Plumbing Problems in Old Homes: 5 Things You Need to Be Aware Of

Sep 15 2022
A photo showing pipes on a brick wall.

Despite their age, many families still prefer buying an older home in Ontario. They are mostly admired for their architecture and memories that made them a home in the first place.

However, behind the beautiful rustic facade, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. One of the problems (and probably the most common for new homeowners) is plumbing.

Since plumbing solutions have advanced, future homeowners should know what they’re getting into when considering an older home. Today, we’ll get into some of the most common plumbing problems in old homes

Installation Problems

Pipe installation refers to the layout of the piping system in order to make fluid transfer available. And when pipes aren’t installed properly, problems start to line up. More precisely, bolts can become stripped and cause unhinging. 

If the piping layout in your older Ontario home has been done by an amateur or someone who used incorrect or outdated equipment, this can further damage the connection and disrupt the flow for years to come.

The most common installation problems occur when:

  • Installations are performed without a license;
  • The wrong pipe material is used;
  • The water is running when pipes are being installed;
  • Dissimilar materials are combined; and
  • The fixtures are too tight. 

Old Fixtures

Nothing remains new forever. The same applies to fixtures. If your home is a bit older, it is highly likely that its fixtures and faucets were installed when the house was initially built—which could be half a century ago. This is one of the most common plumbing problems in old homes.

Old supply lines aren’t very reliable. Casual wear and tear of outdated fixtures is another common plumbing problem. Homeowners can expect leaks or restricted water flow.

However, the biggest mistake homeowners make is deciding to “put up with these problems” and get by with clearly defective fixtures. If you ignore this problem for too long, you could end up paying hundreds of dollars in damage.

If your home is located in a hardwater area, limescale deposits will be a problem for your fixtures. If left unattended, these limescale deposits can cause numerous problems for your plumbing system. So you should thoroughly check  this issue if you are buying an old home.

A set of plumbing tools

Bad Repairs

The root of most plumbing problems in old homes is not in the pipes themselves. Sometimes, it’s the person that’s responsible for the repairs. 

While it is nearly impossible to identify the person that initially did the repairs since it happened a long time ago, it is easy to conclude if the issues were caused by unprofessionalism.

Sometimes, it’s negligence, using the wrong material, or rushing to get on with the next project. Although the blame is most commonly put on the handyman, they’re not the only ones at fault.

Most homeowners of older homes have transferred this responsibility to themselves and embarked on a DIY plumbing solution. Our advice would be not to follow their steps.

If you are not a professional, you should leave your plumbing issue up to someone who is. Otherwise, something could easily go wrong and further damage your plumbing system.

Pipe Bellies

Another problem that can eventually lead to a leak and cause major damage to the entirety of your home is the pipe bellies.  

For those of you who don’t know, some pipes are installed underneath your home. These installations are either encased in concrete or buried deep under the ground. The problem occurs when the pipes become affected by gradual movement.

For instance, if the pipes shift too much, they can restrict regular flow and create pools of water. The result would be either a massive leak or a blockage.

An old, rusty pipe

Outdated Materials

Lastly, we have outdated materials—a rather common obstacle for most homeowners looking to buy an older home in Ontario. But what is “old” in plumbing years?

Generally speaking, any home built before the 1990s can be characterized as old, and there’s a high likelihood of outdated plumbing installations. It will be a good idea to check for any recent renovations.

These are the most common types of old pipes used in plumbing:

  • Lead – used for main sewer and water lines
  • Galvanized – used for water lines in 1960s homes
  • Polybutylene – used as a replacement for copper lines

Solve Plumbing Problems in Old Homes with 1st Rooter

Inspecting your plumbing is not a luxury. It’s a necessity. Regularly call plumbing services and having them check your plumbing system is the best way to prevent issues from getting worse. 

Regular inspection will increase the efficiency of your plumbing system; otherwise, you will have to replace all your fixtures, including the toilet bowl. If the same thing happens, unfortunately, we will be there to help you with all stages of replacement, including rough-in measurements.

1st Rooter is a professional plumbing service that’s been in the business for 25 years. Our services extend to Hamilton, Oakville, and Burlington—areas where our experts know the plumbing systems like the back of their hands. We continuously succeed at tending to our clients’ needs by providing them with reliable emergency, commercial, and residential plumbing services.

Reach out to us for a quick solution to plumbing problems in old homes.

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