The lifespan of pipes in a house depends on the type of piping, according. Here’s a breakdown of how long pipes last, depending on the material:
- Plastic pipes (PVC, CPVC, etc.): Indefinitely
- Copper pipes: 50+ years
- Brass pipes: 40-70 years
- Galvanized steel pipes: 20-50 years
The best way to replace old pipes in your house is to hire a licensed plumber to do the fix. You and the plumber can start the assessment by figuring out when your pipes were installed and if they’re in poor condition. If the plumbing in your home needs to be replaced, the plumber may need to remove drywall or ceiling materials to access the pipes and perform the job.
Installing piping in your home will likely cost between $450 and $1,000 per fixture. However, it’s important to always get cost estimates from plumbers so you can properly budget for this project. Several factors will drive the cost to install new plumbing in your home.
For example, the size of the house and the number of fixtures will impact costs. And the type of pipe material also has a significant impact, with copper piping being the most expensive. Piping located in difficult-to-reach areas also drives up the cost, as does wall repair and add-ons like water softeners.
Learn more by reading our piping installation cost guide.
How often your plumbing needs to be replaced depends on several factors, but the primary one is the type of piping installed in your house. Different materials (copper, steel, plastic, etc.) have different lifespans. How well you treat your piping also affects how often it needs to be replaced.
Here are additional signs you may need to replace your piping:
- Your pipes need constant repairs and attention
- There are signs of water decay, discoloration and leaks
- Your drains lines endured damage from tree roots or severe weather
- You’re remodeling your home
When in doubt, always ask a plumber for their expert opinion.
The best type of pipe for plumbing depends on your needs and concerns. For example:
- PVC lasts indefinitely and is easy to install.
- PEX is easy to install and isn’t subject to corrosion.
- Copper is durable and slightly more expensive.
Talk to your plumber about all your options, which may include other types of pipes (CPVC, polyethylene, ABS, polybutylene, etc.)
Depending on the service you need (unclogging a drain, fixing a pipe, installing new pipes, etc.), plumbers charge anywhere from $45-$165 per hour. Plumbers often operate on a fixed rate model, too. Some won’t charge hourly rates because the variables involved in their work makes it less practical to do so.
Plumbers will scope out the work, calculate the cost of parts, and roll it together with other fees to give you an estimate for the job. They may even offer standard flat rates for things like installing a toilet or a sink. Reach out to plumbers near you to get an accurate cost estimate for your project or repair.
A plumber will need to enter your home to fix plumbing issues like dripping faucets, clogged sinks or toilets and leaky pipes. They might not need to come into your home if the faulty appliance is located outdoors or in the garage. Before you begin the project, contact plumbers near you to find out they will need to enter your home.
First, switch off the water supply to reduce the water damage. You should also turn off the electricity for the part of your home that has sustained the leak, as it can be extremely dangerous if the water comes into contact with an electrical socket. Next, drain the remaining water from your faucets so it doesn’t freeze inside the pipes.
Once you’ve done all of this, search for qualified plumbers in your area and ask them to provide you with a quote.
When a pipe bursts, the water can cause indoor flooding and damage your home. If the pipe is in an accessible location, you will likely notice puddles of water right away. However, if the pipe is underground or behind a wall, it may cause reduced water pressure, a sulfur smell or discolored water. All of this can cause significant (and expensive) damage, which is why you should always contact a plumber near you if you suspect your pipes are leaking.
Sudden water damage may be included under most homeowners’ insurance policies, but it’s typically not covered if the damage could have been avoided with proper maintenance.
For example, if a pipe in your laundry room suddenly bursts and causes damage to the flooring and walls, that is usually covered by insurance. But if a pipe under your sink has been leaking for months and causes your wood floors to rot, your policy won’t cover that damage.
Always double-check with your insurance agent (or another expert) to see what your policy covers.