lifespan of residential plumbing

What is the Life Expectancy of Residential Plumbing?

The life expectancy of your residential plumbing system will depend a lot on the material your pipes are made from, your maintenance routine, and the water in your area. Some materials naturally last longer than others, but this can be affected by maintenance, hard water, and other water impurities. Check out what kind of residential plumbing pipes you have and see how long they’ll last, here.


Average Life Expectancy of a Residential Plumbing System

Copper – These pipes start off looking like a dull penny, and may develop a green tint because of oxidation. Think of the Statue of Liberty. If your pipes look like that, they’re made from copper. These are usually found in homes built after 1950. They usually last around 50 years.

Brass – These pipes are yellow and shiny, like a trumpet. They’re not often used for piping, but when they are used, they’re screwed together instead of soldered. They can last from 50 to 70 years.

Cast Iron – These pipes are usually a gray color and used for drain lines. They are more common in older buildings and can last 75 to 100 years.

PEX – These pipes are made from a durable yet flexible plastic and started being used in the 1980s. They often have red and blue lines for hot and cold water, but are sometimes clear for both. These pipes last around 40 years.

PVC – These opaque white pipes were introduced in the 1970s, but weren’t commonly used until the 1990s. When you used as supply lines, you can usually get around 75 years out of them. For drain lines, the lifespan is indefinite.

Lead – These dull gray pipes were used in the 1800s and banned by 1920 due to the toxicity of the lead getting into the water supply. If you can easily scratch the surface with a knife or key, you likely have lead pipes and should have them replaced immediately.

Galvanized Steel or Iron – These pipes are only used in homes built before 1950. They are dark gray or black and frequently rot away from the inside out. This can leave flakes of steel or iron in your water. They usually last 20 to 50 years so if you have them, you should prioritize replacing them as your next home improvement project.


How to Ensure Your Pipes Last

If you find that your pipes are made from galvanized steel or lead, it is important to have your entire residential plumbing system replaced as soon as possible.

If your pipes are older than the lifespans listed above, call a plumber to come out and inspect your residential plumbing system. You should also contact a plumber if you notice any of the warning signs that your system is in danger during your yearly maintenance check.


Warning Signs It’s Time to Repair or Replace

Since residential plumbing is behind the walls, you might not always see the issues until they become irreparable. Where you can, be sure to inspect any exposed pipes at least once per year. If you notice any cracks or leaks, discolored water from the taps, or signs of discoloration (discoloration, flaking, dimples, and stains), call for a professional.


Best Residential Plumbing Professionals in North Georgia

Whether you’ve determined your pipes unsafe, past their prime, in need of repair, or just want some professional maintenance, give Hulsey (a Blue Flow Company) Environmental a call. Our experts are available to visit your home, evaluate your system, and provide a recommendation to ensure you plumbing is always working well for you.