Figuring out how long your pipes will last can be difficult. For one thing, everyone’s plumbing system is different, and depending on when your house was constructed, your pipes are likely as old or as new as your plumbing system itself—unless of course they were replaced at some point. More importantly, however, pipe lifespan has a lot to do with what materials your pipes were constructed with in the first place. Keep reading to learn more about the most common types of piping, and when to replace your pipes based on what they are made of.
Types of Piping: What Your Pipes Are Made Of & How Long They Will Last
- Copper: Copper piping remains extremely common in plumbing systems across America. Copper pipes last roughly 70-80 years, so if your house was constructed fairly recently, your copper pipes are probably in good shape. If, however, your house is on the older side, you should talk to a plumber about the condition of your pipes, because if you wait to replace copper piping for too long, the metal can start to corrode, and enter your water. That said, they are still probably the most common option for metal piping.
- Brass: An allow of copper and zinc, brass piping is slightly less common than copper piping but has a slightly longer lifespan. Generally, brass pipes can survive between 80-100 years. However, brass pipes are used less frequently today than they once were, as they often contained trace levels of lead (we’ll get to that later.)
- Galvanized Steel: Galvanized steel piping also last between 80-100 years. Dipped in a protective zinc coating to prevent corrosion, these kind of pipes were common in American households prior to the 1960s. Despite being built to last, galvanized steel pipes often start to rust after a number of years, making them less durable than initially advertised. This is why they are not used as much in plumbing construction and installation today.
- Cast Iron: Cast iron pipes last between 80-100 years, and are built to withstand a high amount of water pressure. However, like galvanized steel, cast iron piping has been found to be susceptible to rust over time.
- PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride): Traditionally, PVC piping only lasts between 25-40 years. However, with recent technological advancements, PVC pipes may be able to last 70 years or more. While they are not quite as durable and therefore do not last as long as metal piping, they are a good option for many homeowners because there is no chance they will corrode and rust, thereby leaving metal in your drinking water.
- Polybutylene: Between the late ‘70s and the mid-90s, polybutylene pipes were all the rage, because the materials used in them were cheap and they cost less to install. However, homeowners soon found that these pipes were pretty flimsy, and started to break apart after about 10-15 years. Because of this, it is extremely unlikely you have polybutylene pipes in your home, but if you do, you will want to have them replaced sooner rather than later.
- Lead: Lead pipes can last up to 100 years. However, if there is even a chance you have lead pipes in your home, YOU NEED TO REPLACE THEM IMMEDIATELY. Despite being long-lasting, we now know that lead is extremely toxic, and can essentially poison people if they are exposed to it for long periods of time.
For All Your Pipe Needs, Contact Smith’s Plumbing Services
Smith’s Plumbing Services is fully equipped with everything you need to keep your pipes flowing smoothly for years to come. We offer pipe repair and replacement, as well as re-piping service to accommodate a variety of plumbing systems. Contact us today for available financing options, and get the perfect piping materials for your home.
Dial (901) 290-1110 for scheduling or contact us online.