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How Long Should My Plumbing Last?

pipes-blueprint-build-plumbingPlumbing is a necessity, which means it’s not something we plan on replacing for any reason other than a system failure. While you might be excited to replace an outdated smartphone with the newest model, or to upgrade your wardrobe for the first time in months or even years, buying something as mundane and costly as a set of pipes and fixtures is not something anyone wants.

Luckily, a new set of pipes will last a long time. If you’ve just moved onto a brand-new property, this likely isn’t something you’ll have to worry about for decades. But for the rest of us, knowing when to replace the pipes and fixtures will be key to avoiding a near catastrophe when plumbing replacement or repiping becomes urgent. So how long can you expect your plumbing to last?

The short answer: Standard lifespans for pipe materials

We want to start with the answers you’re looking for. But we hope you’ll read on. No matter what the numbers in this list show, the long answer about how long your water and drain pipes will last is this: it depends on a lot of factors.

  • Galvanized Steel: 30-60 years
  • Copper: 50 years or more
  • Cast Iron(drain pipes): 70-100 years
  • PVC(drain lines)/CPVC(hot and cold water pipes): Indefinitely

The long answer: It depends

These numbers are a guide, but by no means do they provide a definitive range of years. For the most part, the well-being of your pipes will depend on how well they were installed, where they are located, how well they are maintained, and some environmental factors that are out of your control!

Let’s take a look at some of the things that could affect the lifespan of your pipes.

  • Ground movement from nearby construction or a natural phenomenon.
  • Corrosion in steel pipes, which tends to happen quickly and all at once (the reason it’s no longer used).
  • Pinhole corrosion in copper pipes, which may be due to environmental factors and could lead to early repair or replacement.
  • Poor installation, something you may have had no control over if you bought your home with the pipes in place.
  • Mineral deposits that build up in pipes.
  • Tree roots in the sewer lines.

The main takeaway here is that you should monitor and maintain your plumbing with the help of professional plumbers and make sure you are prepared. In addition, you may want to replace your pipes ahead of time, rather than waiting for leaks to take over your whole plumbing system.

More on your plumbing fixtures

Of course, the plumbing fixtures in your home have a life expectancy as well. And once again, it’s complicated. A water heater may last 10-15 years, as is the standard life for a tank. A tankless water heater can last 20 years or more. But with regular maintenance, and a water softener, these systems could last even longer.

Faucets and showerheads can last the entirety of your homeownership, but many people choose to replace them sooner than this to remodel the look of the room. All in all, lifespans will vary, so you should consult a plumber whenever you’re not sure.

For quality plumbing in Broomall, PA, contact the team at Murphy’s Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning.

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