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How to Know When It’s Time To Replace Your Plumbing Pipes

corroding plumbing pipe

When it comes to a home’s plumbing pipes, they typically remain “out of sight, out of mind” until some kind of problem occurs, such as a clog or leak. While a plumber can perform a pipe repair or partial replacement for the occasional issue, eventually, every home’s pipes must be replaced.

Because pipes don’t come with an exact expiration date, it’s important to know what “red flags” mean that your pipes are ready for retirement. That way you can avoid leaks that may lead to extensive water damage and mold issues.


If your pipes are giving you any of the signs below, it’s time to talk with a trusted plumber about repiping your home.

1. Your water has a rusty tinge.

Does your water have a red, brown, or orange tint? This is a strong indication that your water supply pipes have started corroding. Rust is breaking off into your water supply, and that’s what’s giving it that reddish color.

2. The water pressure from your faucets and shower is weak.

There can be a couple of reasons for low water pressure. If you have galvanized steel pipes, a buildup of corrosion inside the pipes can restrict water flow. Your pipes may also have developed pinhole leaks where you can’t see them, and the water pressure that comes out of your taps is weaker as a result.

3. You’re constantly dealing with leaks.

While most homeowners deal with a leak from time to time, recurring leaks signal a bigger problem. Once pipes start to deteriorate, they become brittle and more prone to cracks and holes. If the pipes in your home are over twenty years old, and they leak fairly frequently, you may want to consider repiping before a disastrous leak occurs.

4. The water temperature is extremely inconsistent.

Your faucets have a valve that regulates water temperature. These valves prevent you from getting scalded when you use hot water. If your pipes are wearing out, bits of debris and corrosion products (like rust) can break off and get stuck in the valves, preventing them from working properly. Consequently, the water in your home might be disproportionately hot or cold compared to how much you’ve adjusted the faucet.


You may also want to consider repiping your home if it’s currently equipped with outdated pipe materials, such as:

  • Galvanized Steel. Once a very popular material, galvanized steel has a major flaw: once its protective coating wears off, the piping begins corroding from the inside out.
  • Polybutylene. Between 1975 to 1996, this was an extremely cost-effective piping material. Unfortunately, polybutylene reacts poorly to the chlorine in treated water and quickly becomes brittle. So many of these pipes deteriorated so quickly that their failure led to multiple class-action lawsuits.
  • Lead. Congress did not enact the “lead ban” until 1986, and believe it or not, there are still homes with lead plumbing fixtures and lead solder in their piping today. Lead poisoning can have devastating effects on human health and should be removed from a home’s plumbing system immediately.


A word to the wise: always involve a professional. A repiping expert can complete the job quickly and help you avoid materials that won’t stand the test of time in your home. They can also help you determine what type of pipe should go in each area of your home.

For instance, PEX piping is an excellent material for most locations because it is durable, flexible, reduces heat transfer, expands and contracts with temperature changes, and requires fewer fittings (where leaks tend to happen the most). However, PEX can suffer damage from UV light, so it shouldn’t be used where it will get sunlight. Also, depending on your water heater type, you might also not be able to connect PEX directly to the water heater.

Bottom Line: Involve a professional so that you can keep your home up to code, get the job done in a timely manner, and avoid expensive water damage repairs in the future.

Piping & Repiping Services in Knoxville

At The Plumbing Authority, we know that repiping your home can seem overwhelming, but we’re here to guide you step-by-step through the process. Experience top-notch service by giving us a call today at (865) 238-2280 or contacting us online.

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