“Danger, Will Robinson! Danger, Will Robinson!”
That is the famous cry of ‘Robby, the Robot’ as he warned the young Will Robinson of danger in an episode of “Lost in Space”. (The show was actually before my time but I have seen it a few times on lazy Saturday afternoons.)
It’s a cry that’s appropriate for this blog. Only, I would change it to: “Danger, old pipes! Danger, old pipes!” OK, it’s not quite as catchy as the other one but it is actual fact not science fiction. If your pipes are old and haven’t been maintained or repaired, they could cause some serious damage.
Old pipes freeze, leak and burst causing thousands of dollars worth of damage. You might leave for work in the morning with your house intact and then return home in the evening to your bottom floor flooded with sewage or your top floor carpeting drenched.
Pipes are like any other item in your house, they need to be checked on occasionally. You may find them in bad shape or good shape. Regardless, I have a few ideas for you about those hidden but oh-so-important pipes that assist all of your plumbing in doing its job.
First, you need to find out a few items about your pipes:
- When was your house built? If your home was built in 1959 or earlier, you may need to replace your pipes.
- Were they replaced or repaired by the previous owners? (If you are fortunate to have records of such maintenance, check to see if the pipes have been serviced.)
- Are there any exposed pipes? If so, what is their condition?
- Do you have galvanized pipes? These are pre-WWII pipes which can develop pinholes. They also rot and petrify. Before long, they are as hard as Mount Rushmore and leaking water like Niagra Falls.
- Is it Orangeburg Pipe? This underground pipe is cheap, flimsy and rots. It’s like having tar-paper for pipes. Very bad stuff.
Then, once you have answered those questions you may want to examine your pipes on your own or have a licensed plumber do it for you. Here a few signs of old and deteriorating pipes:
- drain pipes that are rusting on the top of the pipe (not on the bottom)
- valves that are broken or don’t work at all as water can’t be shut off or it has to be shut off using the outside valve
- faucets that are so old that you can’t find parts for it (definite red flag)
Your licensed plumber will then do the following:
- look at the condition of your pipes (cuts, rotting, breaks, holes, etc.)
- examine the valves and check on their age
- check drain lines
- check on the ages of the faucets (as best that they can be determined)
Then, it’s not quite so complicated after that. If your pipes are a mess and no matter of repairs could adequately resolve the issue, then your licensed plumber would:
- Replace the old pipes with PVC pipes which may last a lifetime, or,
- Old pipes are easy to replace with PEX (Call your licensed plumber. PEX has taken the place of copper.)
Something very important to keep in mind: Your plumber has to size the new drain lines. If they are undersized then your pipes will not drain correctly.
Old pipes are easy to replace but your belongings, especially the sentimental ones, are not. Call a licensed master plumber at American Drain Cleaning and Plumbing today at (610) 342-5842. We’ll examine your pipes and eliminate that danger.