Cost Advisor

Do I need to replace the water pipes in my house?

November 2, 2022

If you’re a homeowner in Auckland, you most likely couldn’t care less about the plumbing system in your house. That is until; something goes wrong.

Your home at the very least will have water pipes to all your fixtures such as your kitchen tap or toilet in the bathroom. Your home will also have waste pipes as well carrying the waste away to a suitable discharge point.

However much like anything else, nothing lasts forever.

One day you’ll be rinsing the dishes and suddenly water starts pouring out of the cupboard because a pipe has burst under the sink. Or you’re sitting on the loo and when you go to flush, water starts piling up outside.

There are many reasons for pipes and fittings go bust, such as.

Old age
Corrosion from hard water
Improper installation
Outdated types of pipes

Did you know that some copper water pipes are over 100 years old?

There are many types of pipes running throughout your house, we have compiled a list of common types of water and waste pipes and whether you should replace them or not.

Copper pipe

The good:

  • Very durable
  • Lasts a long time (on proper installation)
  • Looks nice if it’s exposed outside
  • Great for Gas pipe

The bad:

  • Can leak prematurely in harsh water conditions or close to the ocean (Salt filled atmosphere)
  • Can be very difficult to fix if its not accessible without making holes in walls or similar situation
    It’s expensive

Should you worry about it, or should you replace right now?

Copper has the capabilities of lasting a very long time and we recommend you keep the copper for time being. You shouldn’t pay for something that is working fine. However, we strongly recommend replacement if you notice the copper pipe starting to turn green. This green color on the brown copper is the copper reacting with oxygen and is starting to form copper oxide. This corrosion can alter the structural stability of the pipe and can cause a leak.

Galvanized Steel Pipe

The good:

  • Very durable (when it’s not corroded)
  • Great for gas pipe

The bad:

  • Very susceptible to corrosion
  • Corrosion will slow water flow down even if pipe looks good from the outside.

Should you worry about it, or should you replace right now?

For water pipes using galvanized pipe, they should be replaced. There are no preventative measures to stop this type of pipe corroding when it’s filled with water. It may not appear to be rusting on the outside, but the corrosion will begin inside the pipe and make its way out. Galvanized pipe can be however kept in place for gas, as it doesn’t have water running through it to rust the pipe. It should never run through the ground or be in a moist environment.

Polybutylene pipe

The good:

  • Easy to install and repair
  • 25-year warranty
  • Corrosion resistant

The bad:

  • Do not expect it to last much longer than 25-year warranty
  • Does not look good when exposed

Depending on the age of the Polybutylene pipe, we are recommending keeping the pipe so long as it is not older than the 25-year warranty date. We also recommend that if you plan to renovate your kitchen or bathroom, to replace that pipework where possible. You would not want t to replace a bathroom while keeping the 20-year-old pipe and having leaks 5 years later.

Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) pipe

The good:

  • Easy to install
  • 25-year warranty
  • Corrosion resistant

The bad:

  • Does not look good when exposed
  • Won’t last as long as copper

PEX is a new pipe system that is designed and manufactured to last. We do recommend keeping this pipe and not worrying about it in most scenarios. However, if this pipe is 20-30 years old and you’re renovating the bathroom or kitchen, you’ll have access to replace sections of pipe that you would otherwise not have access to

To summaries, some pipe systems are better than others. However, this will vary from case to case. If your area has relatively clean water or the water is filtered, copper (although it will cost more) will always last longer than plastic variants. Pex and Polybutylene pipe would be better suited where there are a lot of chemicals in the water that would corrode any metallic pipe. 

If you are looking for a dependable plumber to make an assessment on your pipe system or have an emergency, Call Euro Plumbing today and get your issue sorted.

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