Natural Hazards to Plumbing Systems

Your home’s plumbing faces a variety of natural hazards each day. In most cases, these natural hazards can be avoided. Knowing what the hazards are and what you can do about them can help you take care of your home’s plumbing and avoid costly clogs.


Metal pipes, especially cast iron, can rust over time. While pipes are no longer made from cast iron, many older homes still have these types of pipes in their walls. In addition, many older sewer lines are made of cast iron as well. When pipes become too rusty, they can burst, leading to major water damage in your home.

If your home’s pipes are rusting, you’ll see it first in your water. In the early morning, the water may appear to be reddish or brownish at first, and then clear after running for a while. Rusty hot water and clear cold water could be a problem with your water heater. If all temperatures of water show rust, this is more likely a problem with your piping. Replacing your home’s pipes can fix this problem.


Calcium is naturally present in hard water. Over time, calcium can form a crust (called “scale”) in your pipes. This calcium buildup narrows the inside of your pipes, leading to reduced water pressure and clogs. In some cases, calcium buildup can even take the form of small rocks that become trapped in the pipes.

If calcium buildup becomes too severe, your home’s plumbing could be destroyed.

You can tell if you have hard water by the following:

  • When you see a green, crusty film on your fixtures that is difficult to remove.
  • Drinking glasses turn cloudy over time and the only way to remove the film is to soak them in vinegar.
  • Your glass shower doors have water spots that cannot be scratched off with your fingernails.

The best way to avoid this problem is to install a water softener in your home. Water softeners use sodium to change hard water into soft water. If you believe that your home has hard water, contact a plumber right away.

Tree Roots

Tree roots are a serious problem for plumbing system, especially for sewer lines. Trees in search of water will grow into cracks and crevices to find moisture. In older, deteriorating sewer lines, tree roots can cause full clogs and line collapse.

There are many ways to avoid this problem:

  • Contact your utility company to learn where your sewer lines are located before planting any trees on your property.
  • Avoid planting trees that have fast-growing, shallow roots. (examples include silver maples and willow trees)
  • Keep your trees watered during times of drought.
  • Have your sewers inspected periodically by a plumber if you believe that nearby trees could be growing into the sewer line.

Contact Your Plumbing Professional

At Terry’s Plumbing, we help homeowners avoid these natural plumbing hazards by keeping them informed about plumbing maintenance. We also clear clogged lines, repair collapsed or blocked sewers, and repipe homes that have been destroyed by scale. To make an appointment for sewer or plumbing repair, or to get an estimate for home repiping, contact us today at 412-364-9114.