Older homes accumulate projects and present unique challenges. The wear and tear of years of use is especially important in regards to plumbing.
Decades can pass between professional inspections, and when most of the plumbing in a home is hidden within walls or under floors, problems can exist without homeowners knowing they’re even there.
Often, older pieces of the structure are not up to current codes and are not required to change to meet the new standards or laws. These pre-existing aspects of the home are considered “grandfathered in” under the new law because they were within regulations when they were built.
While technically not against the law, these older parts of the building can cause difficulties when paired with modern expectations.
What Does That Mean For My Plumbing?
Take sink drains for example. Drain pipes for sinks used to be much more narrow. Prior to the popularization of kitchen sink garbage disposals and connected dishwashers, pipes did not need to be wide enough to accomodate much food waste.
Now however, there are laws regulating the minimum diameter of a kitchen sink drain pipe. If you have an older narrower drain attached to your kitchen sink and disposal, you will likely run into clogging issues more frequently.
Can I Replace These Pipes?
When trying to replace these pipes, the current codes and regulations need to be considered. If not properly followed, your home could be in violation of current standards.
This can hurt value of your home, and if the replacement pipes are not properly installed, you might run into more trouble than having clogged pipes.
What Should I Do?
Seeking the advice and services of licenced professionals is highly recommended to maintain your home’s value and integrity. They are also going to be more aware of current regulations and likely know the direction these new laws will be trending. Getting ahead of these standards can go a long way towards saving money in the future and improving home value.
Repairs On Repairs On Repairs
The longer a building has been around, the more owners it is likely to have had. With different owners come different preferences and standards for repair. What is “good enough” for some is far from acceptable for others.
The trouble comes with the secondary repair that either replaces the original work, or is layered on top of it. Given enough time, plumbing repairs that are not handled properly across several owners can result in a frustrating and sometimes more expensive fix.
Imagine a sink drain has a slight crack in the pipe, so the owner replaces it with a thicker, stronger PVC pipe.
The next owner finds a leak in the same drain, and replaces the other pipes with even thicker pipes, and uses plumbing cement to permanently lock it in place and prevent future leaks.
The following owner chooses to make all of the drains in the home match, and replaces all of the drains with thick PVC and cements them together as well.
The sinks now do not leak at all. Unfortunately, if there is ever an internal problem with the drains, they will need to be cut out of their fixtures and completely replaced.
It Works Until It Doesn’t
These repairs are each minor in their own way, until it gets to a point when the repairs themselves are causing a problem.
There’s nothing wrong with a quick in-home fix, but if not done properly, the future cost of repairing years worth of quick fixes can be quite high. Especially when you notice several layered repairs, the problem is likely more than one issue.
Whenever tackling a situation where years of repairs have created a new problem, it’s best to contact an experienced professional. This way, any new repairs are done with future adjustments in mind.
Consult An Expert
Improperly installed pipes can reduce the value of your home and cost more to bring up to code. It’s important to make sure your plumbing is done right the first time, so always consult a licensed expert about any replacement or repair work being done in the home.