Having an older home or fixer-upper can be a very rewarding experience, but there is always a concern about the water lines coming into the home. Water lines are quite study, but they do age, and if you have a property that has been around since 1950 or before, you could be looking at a water line that needs replacing. Following are some average lifespans from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development for the different types of metals used for main water lines:
- Brass – 40-70 years
- Copper – 50 years
- Galvanized steel – 20-50 years
- Cast iron – 70-100 years
- PVC (polyvinyl chloride) – indefinite
- Lead – 100 years
So how do you know if your water pipe has blown? Here are some common signs:
- Yard puddling – water main lines run under the ground and directly into your home; if a leak has developed in the area of your yard, the ground surrounding the leak will become saturated and the water will rise to the surface, creating very soggy areas or puddles.
- Very high water bill – if you notice a sudden, big increase in your home’s water bill and haven’t increased your water usage, you may have a water main leak.
- Significant decrease in water pressure – have you noticed that all the faucets and showerheads seem to have a lot less pressure when the water comes out? A significant drop in pressure means a leak has developed somewhere, and if the water pressure loss is across the board, then it’s likely to be a problem with the main water line to your home.
- Water discoloration – are you noticing that your water has become brown, or that dirt is in it? This can indicate that soil is getting into your water from a break somewhere in the water line.
- Water around foundation of your home (slab) – if your home sits on a slab, and your main water line is embedded in the concrete of the slab, a leak can still develop. Because the pipe is encased, the leaking water may escape to the outside of the foundation, where it will puddle.
If you have concerns that the main water line to your home may be aging, or you think you may have a leak, call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling today.