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.
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.)
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.
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.
If your water pressure has suddenly dropped or your sink and toilet have unexpectedly started clogging, you may have a burst pipe. Other tell-tale signs include watermarks on the wall of your bathroom or laundry room, drips or puddles in your home or basement, or water from your faucets that have suddenly turned brown. You may also notice a strange rotten-egg smell or the sound of gurgling water in your home.
If you notice any of these signs, contact a plumber near you to fix your pipes immediately.
The national average cost to repair broken pipes ranges from $120 to $170. Prices can vary depending on the type of damage, whether the pipe is easily accessible, the materials needed and where the pipe is located. For example, an exposed pipe under the sink will likely cost much less than a pipeline in your yard that requires digging.
Your overall cost will also depend on the hourly rate of the contractor. Most plumbers charge between $60 and $65 per hour for standard pipe repair, and up to $95 per hour for complex plumbing work.
Contact the best pipe repairers in your area to find out how much it will cost to fix your pipe(s).
To learn more about pricing factors, read “How much does pipe repair cost?”