Nothing lasts forever, and that includes the plumbing pipes in your home. Fortunately for home owners, the majority of pipe materials perform well for decades. However, when that lifespan is reached, pipes may start to leak.

To prevent leaks, use the chart below to determine if your home’s plumbing lifespan is adequate or if water pipes are bursting for attention.

It can also help to review any home inspection reports you received when you bought your home to see what kind of pipes you have — or better yet, bring in Avis to do a professional inspection of your plumbing system.

Typical pipe and plumbing types:

Supply pipes (under constant pressure and therefore most likely to cause water damage when they leak)



Galvanized steel

Drain lines

Cast iron

Polyvinyl chloride (known as PVC)

If your pipes are older than these guidelines from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Residential Rehabilitation Inspection Guide, it doesn’t necessarily mean they need to be replaced. Well-maintained pipes may last longer, and poorly maintained ones or those in areas with hard water and high mineral content may fail sooner.

Check for Polybutylene

Polybutylene piping is a gray, plastic plumbing material used from the 1970s through the 1990s and is extremely prone to breakage. If you suspect your home has polybutylene pipes, have Avis inspect the system immediately. You can’t determine the condition of these pipes with a simple visual check, as the exterior of the pipes may appear fine. Chlorinated water causes these pipes to flake from the inside out, which ultimately results in the pipes failing without any visible warning.

Check For Lead

Lead pipes, used in the early 1900s, have a life expectancy of 100 years, but they can leach lead into your drinking water, a potential health hazard. Lead pipes are typically dull gray and the surface of the pipe can be easily scratched with a knife or key.

If you suspect that your home has lead water pipes, have the water tested. If results show the lead content at 15 parts per billion (15 ppb) or more, call Avis immediately to replace your home’s lead pipes.

And if you do have systemwide issues (or, worse, a catastrophic failure), immediately give Avis Plumbing and Air Conditioning a call. We are a licensed and insured Cape Coral plumber who has the experience to cost effectively replace your home’s pipes.

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