Repair Vs. Replace: Updating Your Plumbing and Pipes

One of the great decisions that many homeowners must make at some point is whether or not to repair their plumbing or to replace it. In many homes, plumbing repairs remain a viable option for years. Clogged drains and the occasional leaky pipe are acceptable and expected, and can be repaired by a knowledgeable plumber or even a capable DIYer. However, at some point pipes become more trouble than they’re worth. Replacing old, leaky, brittle pipes can save homeowners hundreds of dollars wasted on repairs.

Know the Lifespan Of Your Pipes

Pipes don’t last forever. Copper pipes may last anywhere from 70 to 80 years, while brass and galvanized steel can last as long as 100. However, the lifespan of the pipes is impacted by a variety of factors including whether or not the pipes are insulated, whether or not the homeowners use chemical drain cleaners, the quality of the water and so on. Just because galvanized pipes can last 100 years doesn’t mean that they will. Knowing the warning signs that your pipes are in bad shape can help you decide whether or not it’s time to replace.

Watch for Warning Signs

The following warning signs will tell you whether or not your pipes need to be replaced:

  • You’re calling the plumber more than your close friends and relatives. Calling your plumber for repairs should be an occasional necessity, not a regular event. If you’re spending hundreds of dollars on plumbing repairs, this is a sign that it’s time to replace your home’s plumbing with sturdier pipes.
  • There’s rust in the water. When you turn on the faucet in the morning or after a vacation, you may notice that the water is brown and dirty. This is a sign of decay in the pipes or in your water heater, which could be an indication that it’s time to replace your plumbing.
  • You can’t make basic repairs without making more problems. As pipes get old, they become brittle and difficult to repair. Fixing a small leak could cause the pipe to break, and that could lead to more breakage and more repairs. When fixing one pipe is an ordeal because of the fragility of your plumbing, this is a good sign that it’s time to replace the entire plumbing system.

Making It More Affordable

The cost of repiping a house can be as much as $15,000 or more, depending on the size of the house, the type of pipe used and other factors. However, there are ways to make repiping your house more affordable. For example:

  • Repipe only exposed plumbing. One of the reasons that repiping your house can be so costly is because some pipes are hidden in the walls. Replacing only exposed plumbing costs less because it does less damage to your home. However, the downside of replacing only exposed plumbing is that only a percentage of the pipes in the house are replaced. This can leave your house still vulnerable to leaks.
  • Repipe in conjunction with a remodel. Repiping during a remodel can save money by accomplishing two goals at once. After all, if you’re planning a bathroom remodel anyway, why not replace the pipes in the walls while you’re at it?
  • Get competitive bids from local plumbers. Shopping around for the best prices can help you save money on your repiping. Be sure to get quotes from several reputable plumbers in your area before making your decision.

Contact Your Plumber in Pittsburgh

At Terry’s Plumbing, we repipe and repair. To make an appointment to repair or replacing plumbing in your home in Pittsburgh, contact us today at (412) 364-9114.