A home’s plumbing system isn’t meant to last forever, and even materials that are incredibly durable do deteriorate over time. Your home, especially if it is older, may have a mixture of materials in the plumbing system ranging from copper to galvanized iron, steel, PVC and flexible plastic tubing called PEX. For homeowners in Boston, plumbing deterioration can lead to serious health issues within the home, and should be corrected sooner rather than later.

Outside of having a pipe burst, some homeowners don’t recognize the signs of damage or wear in their plumbing systems. Regular inspection of your plumbing system can help spot wear and deterioration before it leaves a very nasty mark on your home.

Here are some signs of plumbing trouble that you shouldn’t ignore.

Smell: If you notice a consistent odor when you open a tap, you should have your plumbing checked for leaks, corrosion or deterioration. Damaged pipes and aging hot water tanks can be a source of unpleasant odors associated with your water system.

Debris: If you notice debris coming out of your tap – the bathtub is a great place to spot these problems – your plumbing may be deteriorating. The debris is deteriorated piping material that your pipes are shedding. The debris may be brittle or rust-colored – especially if you have galvanized pipes carrying your fresh water to your fixtures. Also check the aerators on your taps for signs of mineralization and small bits of trapped debris. If you notice debris in only one location, you may simply have a deteriorating fixture.
Staining: Galvanized plumbing is notorious for creating rust-colored staining in your sink, tub and toilet fixtures. The staining doesn’t affect the performance of the fixture but it looks bad. It’s also a sign that your fresh water is being contaminated by a deteriorating pipe.

Sometimes, an electrical problem can cause staining and deterioration in your plumbing system! Electrolysis, which is a special kind of interaction between your electrical system and your plumbing, can cause unusual deterioration, wear and seemingly random damage to your plumbing fixtures. Corrosion and decay can occur at joints in your plumbing system where dissimilar metals may be in use. Electrolysis can also cause pipes to become pitted or even develop holes. Electrolysis occurs when the electrical system is improperly grounded to the home’s plumbing.

Leaks: Never ignore a leak in your plumbing, whether it’s a fresh water leak or a drain leak. Leaking water can promote the growth of bacteria and mold, cause significant water damage and can even cause structural damage if left unaddressed.

If you have questions about your plumbing, or notice strange odors, noises or leaks, contact us at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 362-0377 anytime. We’re happy to inspect your home’s plumbing system and can correct serious potential problems.
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DIY Blog, DIY Plumbing

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