From mile high ceilings to stunning woodwork and craftmanship – older houses have character and beauty that can be hard to find in newer homes. But while the one-hundred-year-old stained-glass windows are awe-inspiring – one hundred-year-old plumbing isn’t (or at least not in a good way).
Not only can it be difficult to troubleshoot and determine the cause of plumbing issues in an older home, but depending on how long it’s been since the plumbing system has been updated, it can be a costly and time-consuming job. The good news is that once the repair is made and your plumbing has joined the 21st century, you won’t have to worry about that part of your plumbing for decades to come.
Below are four of the most common plumbing problems found in old homes in Cincinnati. Quick note: We’re addressing issues typically found in homes built in the late 1800s to early 1900s – back in the Victorian era that made Cincinnati an architectural gem. However, if your home is at least 30 years old, you might deal with the same issues.
Houses settle over time. In older homes, where pipes might be encased in concrete or buried, pipes might be affected by the shifting of the earth and settling. Should the pipes shift downward, it can cause a “belly” that limits water flow. Worse, these bellies can lead to a pool of water that might contain waste. This can lead to clogged, foul-smelling pipes.
Solution: Hire an experienced plumber to inspect your plumbing system to make sure there are no bellied pipes.
Pipes made from outdated materials
U.S. building codes change. In fact, even homes built thirty years ago might have pipes and other plumbing features that are no longer up to code. Back in the early 1900s, two of the most common types of pipes were lead and galvanized. Both can lead to issues in your home.
Lead was the most popular choice for water main lines, sewer line and areas of the home due to its durability and its flexibility. It’s also extremely toxic and can lead to serious health issues including gastrointestinal problems, fatigue and memory loss. Although the use of lead in homes was banned in the 1980s, there is a chance that some older homes still have lead piping.
Another popular choice for pipe material, galvanized pipes are actually a combination of iron and zinc. The problem with galvanized pipes is that, over time, the zinc layer can (and will) erode. This can lead to brittle, weak pipes that break and clog.
Solution: Have a plumbing professional perform a comprehensive inspection of your home’s plumbing to identify if yours still has lead piping. You’ll need to remove that piping immediately. If you have galvanized piping, a plumber can replace sections at a time, starting with wherever your pipes are the most brittle.
Worn out fixtures
From faucets to shower heads, all plumbing fixtures will eventually need to be replaced. Antique handles and porcelain knobs, for example, might look great in the bathroom, but if the knobs are stripped from too much use, they can compromise your plumbing.
The solution: Replace worm fixtures – don’t try to repair them or get by with a “quick fix.” If you love the look of antique plumbing fixtures, you can find updated versions at most home improvement stores. Or, visit an antique shop to find some that are in much better shape.
Sewer line problems
If you live in an older home and notice a foul smell coming from a sink or appliance like the dishwasher, or if you notice bubbling after you flush the toilet (especially if water bubbles in sinks at the same time), the culprit might be a faulty sewer line. If you have recently remodeled your home or otherwise added modern appliances like a dishwasher, your older sewer line might not be used to having so much water moving through it.
Additionally, sewer lines can be damaged by tree roots that grow into the line, or from older, brittle material. Ground shift can also cause problems.
Solution: Schedule a video inspection of your sewer main. Not only can the video reveal the state of your sewer line but it will identify any issues that need to be addressed so you aren’t stuck with a costly repair.
Have an old home? The team at Allied Reddi-Rooter has been helping homeowners across Cincinnati keep the plumbing in their beautiful, older homes in top shape. We are here to help you with yours, too. Call the team at Allied Reddi-Rooter a call at 513-396-5300, or contact us via our website. We always come highly recommended and have earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau for our expert quality of service.