Older homes boast a historic pedigree and something wondrous about them, from one-of-a-kind architecture to a drafty window that howls and whistles with each passing breeze. Moving in to an old property is an adventure that will keep your family up and running—why? Because there is always work to be done.
However, despite all the charm and the satisfaction for both your soul and wallet, the old house of your dreams also comes with a few plumbing problems that might arise from time to time.
Here are two common plumbing issues you are likely to experience in a home that is more than a few decades old.
Old and Questionable Pipe Materials
Your gorgeous, old home has the classic spaciousness and the 20th-century technology right down to the pipes. Unlike the wooden floors that have acquired a rustic style as the years went by, old houses have pipes made of questionable materials such as lead, galvanised steel or clay.
Clay pipes become increasingly brittle with ageing and are more prone to blockage caused by tree roots. Lead pipes, on the other hand, leach lead into the drinking water, which can lead to serious health consequences. Galvanised steel pipes are steadier, but the obvious problems are leaks and rust. In addition, old plumbing pipes perform poorly and can lead to massive leaks, odd-tasting water and inconsistent water pressure.
Ideally, your old home will require new PVC or modern copper pipes to guarantee performance. Make sure you consult with your plumber on the pipes that will need replacing and what your choices will be.
Failing Sewer Line and Septic Tank
As you would expect, your plumbing problems not only include the confines of your new-old house but also extend down to the sewer and septic lines. Although buried and out of sight, a filing sewer line or septic tank will lead to a flooded lawn with foul-smelling wastewater. Sewer lines are always wet and attractive to tree roots which can lead to crushed pipes and are also more prone to clogging, as they were installed before modern miracles such as the garbage disposal.
Other than a flooded lawn, gurgling sounds from your flowing drains and toilet can be a sign that you have a failing sewer line. Should this be the case, your first line of defense is to shut off your water supply and call in a professional plumber to diagnose and repair potential leakage or clogging.
All in all, a professional plumber is your best bet for knowing the condition of the plumbing system when you're moving into an older house.