If you are a homeowner or a property manager, you may wonder how long your plumbing and HVAC pipes will last. Plumbing and HVAC pipes are essential for delivering water to your faucets, showers, toilets, appliances, HVAC equipment, as well as carrying away wastewater and sewage. However, pipes are not designed to last forever, and they can deteriorate over time due to various factors such as corrosion, erosion, pressure, temperature, and water quality. Knowing the life expectancy of your pipes can help you plan ahead for maintenance, repairs, or replacements, and avoid costly and inconvenient plumbing emergencies.
The life expectancy of plumbing and HVAC pipes depends on several factors, such as the type of material, the installation quality, the usage frequency, the quantity, and quality of repairs over the years and the environmental conditions. Here are some general guidelines for how long different types of plumbing pipes can last:
Copper pipes are durable and resistant to corrosion and bacteria. They can last up to 50 years or more if properly installed and maintained. However, copper pipes can be affected by acidic water or soil conditions, which can cause pinhole leaks or cracks. Copper pipes are also more expensive than other types of pipes and require soldering skills for installation.
Galvanized steel pipes are coated with zinc to prevent rusting. They were commonly used in older homes before the 1960s. They can last up to 40 years or more if the water is not too hard or acidic. However, galvanized steel pipes can corrode over time from the inside out, which can reduce the water pressure and quality. They can also leak or burst due to freezing temperatures or high water pressure. Galvanized steel pipes are not recommended for new installations and should be replaced with copper or plastic pipes if possible.
PVC pipes are made of plastic and are lightweight, flexible, and easy to install. They are commonly used for drain, waste, and vent (DWV) systems in modern homes. They can last up to 50 years or more if properly installed and maintained. However, PVC pipes can crack or break due to extreme temperatures or physical damage. They can also degrade from exposure to sunlight or chemicals. PVC pipes are not suitable for hot water supply lines and should be used only for cold water applications.
PEX pipes are made of cross-linked polyethylene and are flexible, durable, and resistant to corrosion and freezing. They are commonly used for water supply lines in modern homes. They can last up to 50 years or more if properly installed and maintained. However, PEX pipes can be damaged by rodents or insects that chew on them. They can also be affected by chlorine or UV rays if not properly protected. PEX pipes require special fittings and tools for installation and should be installed by a licensed plumber.
Cast iron pipes are heavy and strong and are often used for sewer lines in older homes. They can last up to 75 years or more if properly installed and maintained. However, cast iron pipes can rust and crack over time due to corrosion, erosion, or soil movement. They can also clog or leak due to tree roots or debris. Cast iron pipes are difficult to repair or replace and should be inspected regularly by a professional plumber.
As you can see, there is no definitive answer to how long your plumbing and HVAC pipes will last. However, we hope this post helped you gain a better understanding of the variables that impact the life expectancy of the pipes in your community.
The best way to determine the life expectancy of your plumbing pipes is to have them inspected by a qualified piping expert, who can assess their condition and recommend the best course of action. A qualified piping expert can also advise you on how to extend the life of your plumbing pipes by performing regular maintenance tasks such as flushing the domestic water heaters, routine cleaning the sanitary drains, adjusting the water pressure and temperature, etc.
If you are working on a project that requires an assessment, repair, or replacement of the plumbing and or HVAC pipes and / or risers in your community, please contact us using the form below and the CLEAT team will help you with industry leading solutions to meeting your project goals.
Click to call 703.705.4511 or fill out the form below to get expert insight on your project.