Common Plumbing Problems In Old Homes

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Old homes have a certain charm. A mysterious past, a vintage design and a building full of stories are things that can only be experienced in these houses. These buildings also easily catch the eyes of those who want a piece of the olden times while enjoying the benefits of living in modern society.


While it is interesting to live in a house full of history, some caveats should be considered before buying one. Plumbing issues are among them. These houses could still be using a plumbing network installed when it was built. While there are instances where these can accommodate the needs of homeowners, there will come a time when it no longer complies with existing regulations.

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What Are The Most Common Plumbing Problems?

An aging plumbing system is the most common issue owners of old homes should expect. However, plumbing issues in this kind of house are abundant. Given their age, it is natural that there are numerous plumbing issues. The following are some usual plumbing issues appearing in old houses:

  • Old materials – Given the age of these buildings, the Australian government may no longer recommend the continued use of materials found in old homes. Several reasons are behind this move, including increasing the chances of experiencing hazards associated with the continued use of these old materials. Lead is one of the oldest materials found in sewer and water lines. The material was widely used in the solder joining copper pipe fittings. Galvanised pipe and polybutylene are other materials used in the past that are no longer recommended in homes and other buildings.
  • Failing sewer lines – There is no clear and easy way to determine when a sewer line is about to fail. With this equipment buried underground, homeowners can only identify this issue when there’s foul-smelling wastewater and seeping sewage in the ground. 
  • Pipe bellies – This issue happens when the house is affected by gradual movement or shifts over time. This movement causes the formation of the negative slope or “belly.” This belly restricts water flow and creates a pool where sediment and waste build-up.
  • Outdated fixtures – While there is a unique experience in using antique fixtures, it cannot be denied that they will break at some point in time. These fixtures breaking down is not surprising given the age of these homes. Showerheads, supply lines and other fixtures have their lifespan and will need replacement at some point.
  • Bad repairs – It is not uncommon for homes to have bad repairs. Common bad repairs found in these houses include unsecured pipes, backward sink traps and unsafe water heaters.

What Kind of Plumbing Do Old Houses Have?

Some materials were widely used in old houses and are absent in modern residential buildings. These materials may have been proven to be hazardous to human health or could impact the integrity of the plumbing system. These are plumbing systems found in aging houses: 

  • Galvanised steel – A popular building material between the 1930s and the 1980s, galvanised steel was later on found to easily form rust and cause erosion. This rust is then released into the water running through these pipes and causes water discolouration and possible health side effects. 
  • Copper – copper pipes are widely used in homes built during the 1960s. While it is considered the pipes any building can use. It can bring more disadvantages as time goes by. The continued use of aging copper pipes can cause lead to be incorporated into water that goes through these pipes. This material is no longer found in modern homes, as it could also be costly to install, maintain and replace.
  • PVC – some old homes also come with PVC pipes. It is relatively inexpensive and easy to install compared to galvanised pipes or copper pipes. The downside of using these pipes is that they are not ideal to run hot water. Homes that need to run hot water need to invest in copper pipes or CPVC pipes.

Should I Buy a House with Old Plumbing?

Yes, but it is best to have a skilled plumber check the plumbing system. A licensed plumber can identify which part of the plumbing system can endure for a long time and which of them needs replacing.

How Do I Know If My Plumbing Needs to be Replaced?

For untrained individuals, it is hard to know whether it is time to call your trusted plumber for a repair or replacement. The good news is that some indications tell us that a plumbing system is due for a replacement. These are some easily identifiable signs:

Contact the Best Plumber in Sydney Today!

At Optimised Plumbing Services, we have NSW Fair Trading-licensed experts who can help determine whether the recently bought old home needs pipe replacement. All have the qualifications and experience to quickly diagnose and provide the best resolution for your old house’s plumbing system. Contact Optimised Plumbing now to have us on your property today!

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