Sometimes it can be tough to know whether you should invest in a plumbing repair or replace the appliance or part instead. If you’re on the fence about making plumbing updates, or trying to budget for home renovation and updates in the new year, our list below can help. 

Take a look at our breakdown of the top plumbing parts in your home and their average lifespan. Then, use it to help you answer the big question: to repair, or not repair? 

Water heaters. Traditional water heaters should be replaced 10-15 years. Tankless water heaters should be replaced every 20 years. Regular maintenance and cleaning can extend the life of your water heater to the end of its warranty, but we recommend replacing it within 20 years at the very latest.  

Signs to look for that indicate the possible need for a new water heater include rust around the heater base, a pilot light that won’t stay lit, the inability to stay heated, and when the valve continues to slip.

Supply pipes. We’ve got good news for you here. Pipes last a long time and can usually be replaced one-by-one if they break. Most often pipes can be repaired and if you have an older home, it’s important that you have a plumbing professional inspect your home’s supply pipe system to make sure it does not need to be replaced. 

Ideally, brass pipes last between 80-100 years, as do steel pipes, while copper pipes last between 75-100 years. 

Faucets. There’s no time limit on faucets, but ones that are used repeatedly on a daily basis usually succumb to normal wear-and-tear at some point. Luckily, you can easily repair faucets unless they crack and break. 

Another reason to replace faucets is if they are leaking water on a constant basis. Of course, if you remodel your kitchen or bathroom, new faucets are a quick and simple way to make it more modern. 

Washing machine supply hoses.  Your washing machine supply hoses should be replaced every 2-3 years. Waiting too long can lead to major leaking and even cause your hose to burst. If you notice any bubbling in the hose, cracks, discoloration or rusting, you’ll need to replace the hose. Supply hoses can be purchased at home improvement stores and are often easy to replace without the help of a professional plumber.  

Toilets. The main part of the toilet, basically the bowl itself, doesn’t need to be replaced unless it’s cracked or otherwise broken, however, parts of the toilet will need to be replaced at some point. Flappers and valves should be replaced every 4-5 years and wax seals should be replaced every 25-30 years. 

Of course, if you see any leaking at the base of the toilet or if the toilet won’t flush, it may be time for a new toilet. And if you have to jiggle the handle constantly, you’ll want to invest in a new toilet handle. 

Garbage disposals. Most garbage disposals last about 10 years but we advise checking the warranty to make sure. If you’re resetting it often, or if food is getting stuck, it may need to be replaced. Additionally, if there are bad odors coming from the drain or if it simply isn’t doing its job, it may be time for a new garbage disposal. 

Drain lines. Drain lines can last from 80-100 years if cast iron, and 25-40 years if they are made with PVC. Most of the time, drain lines only need to be replaced because of tree root growth or a natural disaster. If you own an older home, it’s important to check your drain lines to make sure they are not old enough to need to be replaced. 

Don’t wait for a costly repair to update your home’s plumbing if it’s outdated. Remember: it’s always better to safe, rather than sorry, when it comes to home improvement.