Same-Day Free In-Home Estimate & Systems as Low as $60/month! Read More

Skip navigation

Douglas Cooling & Heating Blog

When Does a House Need New Plumbing Pipes?

Does your Birmingham, AL area home need new plumbing pipes? Many homeowners are unsure when pipe replacements are needed. The right answer for your household depends on the type of piping, the material of your current pipes, their age, and their condition. 

In this blog, we’ll cover the types of plumbing found in most homes, how long plumbing pipes last and common problems that require new pipe installation.

Plumbing Pipe Replacement by Type and Material

Birmingham homes have two types of plumbing pipes: supply pipes and drain lines. Supply pipes bring clean water into your home for use; drain lines carry wastewater out of your home. Brass, copper, and galvanized steel are common in supply pipes, while cast iron and PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) are used for drain lines.

At different points throughout history, certain materials were preferred for use in new plumbing pipes. The age of your home and if pipes have been replaced before often dictate the type of pipe construction material. Your plumber assesses pipe material as well as condition to determine if you need to replace pipes.

Normal lifespans for plumbing pipe material types

  • Cast iron lasts 75 to 100 years.
  • Brass lasts 40 to 45 years.
  • Copper lasts 50 or more years.
  • Galvanized steel lasts 20 to 50 years.
  • PVC pipes have an indefinite lifespan.

If your home’s plumbing pipes have reached the expected lifespan per their material type, it is time to upgrade to new plumbing pipes. Additionally, you want to install new plumbing pipes if your home is currently equipped with pipes made from the following materials:


Between the 1970s and 1990s, builders installed polybutylene pipes in homes. North American building codes no longer recognize this type of piping because it does not stand up to typical water treatment chemicals. Polybutylene pipes are not repairable.

Galvanized iron

Galvanized iron pipes were installed prior to 1960. This steel pipe has a protective zinc coating, which has been shown to erode and increase leak risk as well as diminish water quality.

Signs of Pipe Damage Which Require New Plumbing Pipes

If your Birmingham home has relatively new plumbing pipes or your older pipes have not reached their expected lifespan, pipe damage is a potential issue that warrants the installation of new plumbing pipes. Signs indicating pipe damage and a failing plumbing system include:

  • Cracks in pipes
  • Corrosion on or within pipes
  • Pipe leaks
  • Low water pressure
  • Poor water quality
  • Wet areas around water-using appliances or sinks
  • Water stains
  • Warped floorboards
  • Damp crawl spaces
  • Mold growing in crawl spaces
  • Gurgling noises from pipes
  • Rumbling noises near the main water supply line
  • Foul odors from drain pipes
  • High water bills with no other explanation

Plumbing inspections reveal more

Some of these issues are easily noticed by homeowners, while some are not. Solution: request a professional plumbing inspection. An inspection surveys your home’s supply and drain plumbing pipes, evaluates their condition and determines the cause of any problems. 

With this information, your plumber makes a professional recommendation for the installation of new plumbing pipes or repairs. If everything’s fine, you have a good baseline for the future. A plumbing inspection is also a great idea before you purchase a home or plan to flip one. 

A general home inspection generally doesn’t cover plumbing in this detail and you could purchase a home that needs new plumbing pipes unknowingly.

Call Douglas Cooling & Heating for “New Plumbing Pipes and Sewer Services Near Me”

If you think your Birmingham, AL area home may need a licensed plumber, call Douglas Cooling & Heating for professional assistance. We inspect your piping to determine material and condition, and help you find an affordable and trusted solution for plumbing pipe replacement. 

Don’t forget, our licensed plumbers are ready to tackle any of your plumbing problems. Our local plumbers assist homeowners with water heaters, garbage disposals, leak detection, fixture installation, dripping faucets, running toilets, slow drains, clogged sewer pipes and more. Contact us today to schedule a visit with a licensed plumber from Douglas Cooling & Heating.

Comments are closed.