Common Old Plumbing Issues You Frequently Find in Old Houses: A Kelowna Homeowner’s Guide

Posted in Plumbing Repairs

A good plumbing system is an essential part of every home. However, no matter how well-built your home’s plumbing is, plumbing issues are bound to occur sooner or later. This can be due to the lack of plumbing maintenance, natural causes, and, of course, age. Compared to many other cities in and around British Columbia, Kelowna is considered fairly young. Still, many houses have been around since the early 20th century. And over the last 50 years, Kelowna has grown into a thriving community with award-winning vineyards and wineries. But old buildings with old plumbing systems are still frequently found in the city. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for plumbing problems to occur when you least expect them.

The old houses in Kelowna are beautiful to look at. For anyone in search of a house, these old houses are something out of a storybook. Made from antique materials that are worth a lot of money today, these properties make for a beautiful living space at low costs. However, old houses, especially with their old plumbing systems, are more prone to suffer from aggravating plumbing problems, such as clogged drains and leaky pipes. So it would be in your best interests to know about these things before moving in.

At 911 Heating Drainage Ltd., our Kelowna plumbers offer replumbing or repiping services that might be just what you need to enjoy a historic home. First, let’s learn more about common plumbing issues that frequently arise in older houses and buildings. This way, you’re informed about the type of renovation or remodel needed to restore your potential new home.

Why Do Old Houses in Kelowna Suffer from Plumbing Issues?

The answer to this is simply because the pipework is also old, like the property. There are various factors contributing to the failing plumbing of an old house. If it was built in the early 20th century, it likely contains metal pipes. Metal pipes, such as cast iron or galvanized steel pipes, used to be time-consuming to create, and so was the installation process. While metal pipes are efficient and optimal after the initial installation, you can’t expect the same performance 70 to 80 years later. Even with maintenance, these materials can begin to corrode. For example, galvanized steel has a life expectancy of around 30 years, and without maintenance, it will likely corrode. As for cast iron pipes, without a protective layer, they can be prone to rust.

But even 50 years ago, a poor choice of plumbing materials was used to fix up homes, though, at the time, they were deemed efficient and cost-effective. But the truth is that the materials used for the plumbing were not able to withstand the passage of time. Plus, back then, the design of plumbing systems differed greatly from what we have today.

The work of some previous inexperienced plumbers might have also added to the misery of the old plumbing system as well. Thanks to better education and technological advancements, our Kelowna plumbers are able to create a safer and more energy-efficient home environment for families.

This doesn’t mean that old plumbing in old houses doesn’t exist. In fact, they are still there and in use!

Common Old Plumbing Pipes in Old Homes

In the guide, we want to make Kelowna homeowners aware of the issues that old plumbing can cause. But first, it’s crucial to understand and identify some of the different types of old pipes that were used many decades ago.

Polybutylene pipes (Poly B)

Poly B pipes were a hit from the late 1970s until the mid-1990s due to their flexibility and cost-effectiveness. It’s a flexible, grey-coloured pipe that typically has copper fittings on the outside. That’s the best way to identify Poly B; plus, they are branded with the manufacturer’s serial number CSA-B 137.8.

Poly B is made from saturated polymer, which is technically a type of plastic resin we would deem delicate and flimsy nowadays. They are no longer used for plumbing purposes because of the various problems they cause. Poly B reacts strongly to oxidants and chemical elements like chlorine, which homeowners happen to use frequently for cleaning purposes.

Polybutylene pipes are no longer being manufactured. However, they were still used in houses during the late nineties, so it is likely that some of the old houses with old plumbing might still have them.

It is still uncertain why these pipes were so defective. However, it is generally agreed that the chlorine in public water systems reacts with the plastic pipes. As a result, the pipes become brittle and eventually deteriorate. Contact experienced plumbers in Kelowna as soon as possible if your entire plumbing system is made from Poly B. Have all of them replaced to prevent disastrous outcomes.

Metal pipes: Galvanized, cast iron, copper

Although no longer used for water supply piping, galvanized pipes are still manufactured for repair work of existing ones. Galvanized pipes were used for water supply in many of the older homes. However, when the zinc on these pipes erodes, the exposed iron can easily rust. This makes them easy to spot as the water gets discoloured. Our Kelowna plumbers can replace these with better alternatives for you.

Another more durable option for metal piping back in the day was cast iron, which is also known to be super heavy. While cast iron piping would still deliver a fantastic performance, the high costs and labour are simply not worth it. Whether it’s galvanized or cast iron, they will eventually need to be replaced. With how heavy they are, the replacement process and disposal don’t always come cheap.

If you do have older plumbing in Kelowna that is made from metal materials, we highly recommend a detailed inspection. If you’ve been experiencing plumbing problems with them, you’ll likely need a repiping project to restore the efficiency of your home’s water flow. Corrosion, clogs, and plumbing leaks are the most common issues with metal pipes.

On the other hand, copper pipes are still commonly used today. It’s considered the most durable and dependable material for water supply lines. Unlike other metals, it’s lightweight, flexible, highly corrosion-resistant and ideal for underground use. Copper materials perform very well throughout, but if they are older than 50 years, we doubt that they’re still functioning optimally. Any type of old plumbing is prone to plumbing problems, whether it’s due to pinhole leaks or others.

DIY Repairs

In the past, we have had customers who have performed some poor DIY repairs on their old plumbing. The trouble is that you cannot apply a temporary band-aid on your drain pipes, whether it’s using a plumber’s putty to stop a pinhole leak or a pipe clamp to prevent a pipe burst. All these low-quality repairs are bad and would soon result in a plumbing disaster. From foul odours to mould growth and corrosion, nothing good will come out of DIY repairs, except for costly damage repairs.

We only recommend DIY repairs to temporarily stop an existing leak and, eventually, call an expert plumber in Kelowna to thoroughly examine the plumbing issue. Unfortunately, old plumbing is not salvageable, so there is nothing about it that you can save. You’ll always have drainage issues, such as a sensitive sewer main or discoloured water supply due to a corroded water main line.

Upgrade Your Old Plumbing System with 911 Plumbing Heating Drainage Ltd.

History lovers would love an old house in Kelowna and experience pure nostalgia all day long. But in terms of the house’s functions, you want to make sure the old plumbing is taken care of. Revitalize your living space with our expert repiping services at 911 Plumbing Heating Drainage Ltd. Don’t let common plumbing problems wreak havoc on your beloved home; instead, call a licensed plumber for inspection, repair, and replacement services.

Telltale Signs You Need to Upgrade Your Old Plumbing:

  • Recurring clogged drains and clogged toilets
  • Pinhole leaks, water leaks, burst pipes
  • Water damage in walls and subfloors
  • Slow drains
  • Sewer line clogs and other damage
  • Foul odours
  • Corroded pipes
  • Soggy lawns
  • Issues with water pressure
  • High water bills
  • Unsafe drinking water due to discoloration
  • Pest infestation
  • Family members getting sick
  • Frequent plumbing emergencies

No More Plumbing Issues Due to Old Plumbing—Hire 911 Plumbing Heating Drainage Ltd. Today!

It’s a reasonable decision to contact a professional plumber in case you encounter the aforementioned problems. Contact 911 Plumbing Heating Drainage Ltd. for all your plumbing needs, including the replacement of old plumbing.

We are a reputed company that has been providing quality plumbing services for a long time. Kelowna residents choose us because we offer the following:

  • Licensed and insured plumbers
  • 24/7 emergency services
  • Transparent upfront pricing system
  • Convenient appointment times
  • Guaranteed satisfaction, workmanship, and parts
  • Long-term solutions for all types of plumbing repairs

We proudly serve our community of Kelowna and neighbouring communities, including West Kelowna, West Bank Kelowna, and Peachland. Don’t risk broken pipes and costly repairs; instead, call (250) 801-0911 today to speak with a knowledgeable customer service representative, or contact us online!

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