Like everything else in your home, your pipes have a cap on how long they’ll remain functional, but it can be difficult to figure out exactly what that lifespan is, especially because a lot of your home’s plumbing is hidden. We’ve made this guide to help you determine which pipes to replace right away and which ones you can put off for at least a few years.
Replace Right Away
There are some materials that were used to construct pipes at one time or another that we now understand are either extremely dangerous or are prone to breakage. These pipe materials include:
Lead was one of the first materials used in plumbing in part because of its stability and its malleability. But, we now know that it is an incredibly toxic material that can lead to poisoning and even death. The Romans knew this well, as they were one of the main players in the creation of modern plumbing. Ancient Romans suffered from lead poisoning quite often, due to the lead contamination in their water, and the lead plates and glasses they used.
Because of its high levels of toxicity, lead was banned from being used in the transportation of drinking water and other uses as well.
Polybutylene pipes were used extensively from 1978 until 1995 because of the low cost of materials and installation, they were even viewed as the “pipe of the future” and were looked to as a replacement for copper pipes. Unfortunately, what homeowners didn’t know at the time was that polybutylene is an incredibly brittle type of plastic that is prone to breaking or shattering which could cause water damage in your home.
Replace in the Future
Aside from lead and polybutylene pipes, most other materials should last a long time in your home, and without major issues. For a breakdown of the lifetimes for each material, see below:
Copper - 70-80 years
Brass - 80-100 years
Galvanized Steel - 80-100 years
Cast Iron - 80-100 years
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) - 25-40