3 Plumbing Issues to Look Out for in an Old House

Old homes tend to be less expensive than brand-new homes — they also have more character. Whether you bought an older home for its price or for its many eccentricities, you'll likely have to invest a little more time and effort into an older home than you would with a newer home.

While homes from the forties and fifties were built to last in terms of structure and foundation, their plumbing systems can leave something to be desired. Below, we'll cover a few problem areas with the plumbing in decades-old houses so you can check these areas soon after you move into your home.
1. Old Plumbing Appliances
While you definitely looked at your home's appliances before you bought the house, you probably didn't note much more than the year they were purchased and how recently they were serviced. Your home inspector may have only checked to see if the appliances were leaking or functional. Now that you've moved in, it's time to take a closer look at your appliances — particularly at your water heater.

Unlike other plumbing appliances, you'll use your water heater every day. If the appliance is too old and inefficient, you'll spend much more on utilities than you'd like. Additionally, if your home uses hard water, then calcium deposits build up on your water heater and slow its efficiency. Older models are also subject to corrosion, which causes property damage when the corrosion reaches its tipping point.

If your water heater is more than a few years old and hasn't been serviced in a while, then you should flush the tank soon after moving in. If the water heater is more than a decade old, consider replacing the appliance sooner rather than later.
2. Pipes
Depending on when your house was built, its pipes were likely made of material no longer used in modern plumbing. For instance, nowadays you won't find a modern house with lead or polybutylene pipes. These types of pipes are either dangerous (like lead) or dangerously prone to leaks and breakage (like polybutylene).

Replacing home appliances is simple, but whole-home pipe replacement is costly, invasive and time consuming. After you move in, take the time to figure out what type of plumbing you have. Evaluate exposed pipes and call a plumber if you're not sure what material your pipes are.

Lead pipes should be replaced immediately. You can wait a little longer on pipes that aren't dangerous but simply prone to damage, but keep an eye out for leaks, rust in running water and other signs that your pipes are reaching the end of their natural life span.  
3. Roots in Sewers
If your sewage lines leak underground, they naturally attract water-loving plants and animals. Roots from nearby trees will naturally grow toward the water — eventually breaking into the sewage lines. These cracks cause property damage and pose safety hazards by backing sewage up into your home.

If your property has well-established trees, talk to a plumber and an arborist to find out if you need to tackle the problem of your trees' roots.
Get in Touch With a Local Plumber
When you fix plumbing problems early on, you can get to work on activities that will turn your old house into your new home, like hanging pictures and arranging furniture.

If you have questions about your plumbing appliances, need to install new pipes or have sewage problems, the service professionals at F&M Plumbing are here to help. You can contact us 24/7 — and make sure to check out our other blog posts for additional help with your home plumbing.