Older home

Old houses are filled with vintage charm and character, but they are also prone to problems newer models are less likely to experience. As the homeowner of a new fixer-upper or long-time resident of a home, knowing how to identify these common plumbing problems in older homes can help you make any necessary repairs and preventative upgrades while sparing yourself the stress and expense of damages.

What is an “Old” House Anyway?

This article addresses plumbing found in homes that were built 30 or more years ago. The average plumbing system lasts between 40 to over 70 years, but certain materials that were more common in past decades are prone to greater issues and more frequent breakdowns than newer pipes. Living in an old home isn’t a guarantee that things will go wrong, but if you’re considering how you can improve your plumbing and upgrade your property’s infrastructure, these are frequent issues you may encounter and want to tackle first.


Copper, metal, and galvanized steel pipes are likely to rust and weaken over time. The protective coating they are installed with erodes and can lead to rust appearing in your drinking water, which is dangerous to consume. Some companies, like First Class Plumbing LLC, know how much of a problem this can be. If you notice an orange tint or a metallic taste in your tap, it’s time to switch to bottled until you have a professional check out your plumbing.


Houses built in the 70s through the 90s tend to have polybutylene pipes that are prone to leakage. This material does not hold up well against frequent water exposure, so any pipes made from it are likely to drip and run far more than they should. This may be noticed as visible leaks under sinks, around tubs and showers or toilets, or it could be a subtle but steady increase in your water bill.


One of if not the most common plumbing problem is the clog. Whether it’s from build-up, sediment or a foreign object, plumbers are no stranger to blocked pipes, especially in older homes. Most pipes become more susceptible to clogs as they get older and more dirt, hair, and various other material flushes through them. Hydro-jetting can help clean and even restore many old plumbing systems using modern technology.

Tree roots can grow through sewer lines, causing backups and leaks. A foul smell, noticeable backup in your drains, and gurgling all indicate a potential sewer problem. The only way to know for sure what’s causing the issue is a professional plumber’s expertise. Thanks to new strategies, plumbers can conduct sewer inspections via camera and even perform trenchless repairs and replacements that spare your yard and property from damages.

When you’re living in an older home, some maintenance issues are more common than in newer homes. One of the biggest issues to look out for is plumbing problems. An unaddressed plumbing issue can lead to water damage in your home as well as mold and mildew. Left long enough, it can even cause structural damage. To maintain the timeless beauty of your home, keep an eye out for these plumbing issues and take care of them before they become a big problem.