Have there been inexplicable changes in the water pressure or quality in your residence? If so, you might need to get your water line replaced. Do you want to know if a water line replacement is necessary? What options are available to complete this task and what is difference between traditional and trenchless water line replacement? And what can you do if replacing your water lines is too expensive?
Continue reading to find the answers you need to these critical questions.
What you need to know about water pipes
Prior to discussing water line failure symptoms, it’s essential to learn more about the lines themselves. Up until a relatively short while ago, most residential water piping was constructed out of copper or galvanized steel. Whether or not you require a water line replacement will depend on what kind of piping is in your home. Continue reading to learn more about these two kinds of pipes.
- Galvanized steel piping
Untreated steel is vulnerable to corrosion. That’s why it needs to be galvanized before using it for water piping. The galvanization process is done by coating the pipe with zinc courtesy of electrolysis, a chemical process. But as the zinc layer wears away over time, the now-exposed pipe will start deteriorating. Galvanized water pipes don’t usually last as long as copper pipes.
- Copper piping
Copper has corrosion-resistant properties naturally. In other words, it doesn’t need to be treated like steel piping. In the late 1930s, home builders started using copper piping for water lines. Copper is durable, so many of these copper water lines are still in good shape. As a result, it’s unlikely you’ll need to pursue a repiping project if your home is equipped with copper water lines. If leaks are discovered, a plumber can usually fix these issues relatively easily.
Signs you need water line replacement
As was mentioned previously, galvanized steel water lines are more likely to need replacement than copper water lines. However, knowing if a water line replacement is required isn’t as cut and dried as it might appear. But there are some ways you can come up with the answers you need:
1) Low water pressure whenever you use water fixtures in your residence.
Symptoms are not always evident throughout a home. Sometimes they can be apparent only in a specific area, like in the kitchen or bathroom. In all instances, however, the symptoms will be evident in multiple fixtures. That means that a single fixture giving you issues may result from a plugged aerator.
2) Regular instances of leaks
While even a single leak needs to be taken seriously and fixed quickly, such a scenario doesn’t mean you need a repiping project. If you have multiple leaks from galvanized steel water pipes, that’s a telltale sign repiping might be needed.
3) The water is an orange colour or there are pieces of orange chunks in the water.
If you notice any of these symptoms, that’s proof positive that your galvanized steel water lines are disintegrating. You’ll want to call a licensed plumber to inspect your water lines and recommend a course of action.
Different water line replacement options
There are three basic options for replacing residential water lines, namely copper, PEX, or CPVC.
Copper is the top water piping option for residential applications. It’s a reliable alternative to galvanized and plastic pipes. This means copper water piping holds up well against leaks, doesn’t pollute the water, and will last a long time.
PEX is constructed from crosslinked polyethylene. So, PEX is not only stronger, but also more flexible than regular plastic. Unlike copper pipes are soldered together, PEX pipes are not. They are, instead, connected using compression fittings that are put in place via clamping equipment.
CPVC piping is a solid plastic product. Its fittings are connected using glue.
Drawbacks of plastic water piping compared to copper water piping
- Rodents enjoy chewing on plastic. If you install plastic water lines, make every effort to keep rodents outside your home. Calling a pest control company for seasonal pest control service is a good idea. Avoid installing plastic piping if you live in a rural region with a critical mass of rodents.
- PEX and CPVC water lines have small inner diameters, which could create difficulties. The plumber must use larger water lines to achieve the same desired water flow capacity.
- Even rigid and durable plastic piping, like PEX, isn’t as damage-resistant as copper. If you grab a piece of copper pipe and pull on it, the copper pipe will bend. But doing the same thing to a plastic pipe will cause it to break.
Other things about water line replacement you need to know about.
The traditional water line replacement option requires using a backhoe to dig a trench down to the level of the pipes. It’s a highly invasive process that not only involves excavating your property, but also ripping out porches, sidewalks, and walkways. It can cost a small fortune to replace these things.
The modern way, which is the better way, is a trenchless water line replacement. Instead of digging massive trenches, licensed plumbers dig a relatively small hole down to the pipe instead of digging huge trenches. By so doing, plumbers can cut into the damaged water line for a repair or replacement using a liner or new pipe. One of the first things you’ll notice is that the trenchless pipe repair option might appear costlier than the traditional water line replacement option. But there are several reasons why the trenchless option is superior. For one thing, you won’t have to hire a landscaper or contractor to repair the damage caused by the traditional method. The trenchless option is also faster and as reliable as the traditional option.
If you’re a homeowner, you can’t ignore any plumbing system issues. Failing to fix problems promptly can lead to more significant and more expensive problems down the road. You could seek your utility bill spike if you have leaks in your water line. You could also experience water flow problems and costly damage. When you find the right plumber, you’ll get access to pipe replacement and other plumbing services.