underground pipes

Many homeowners experience problems with their water and sewer lines that could be easily avoided. Pipe breaks, clogs and leaks can be expensive to fix and can be a major hassle to deal with. With the right planning and care, though, savvy homeowners can prepare for the worst underground piping problems and sometimes prevent these problems from happening in the first place!

How old are your pipes?

The vast majority of the U.S.’s water pipes were installed after World War II, and most of them are in serious need of repair or replacement. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average lifespan of a pipe before needing to be replaced is 15-100 years. If it’s possible, find out how old your pipes are before time catches up to them. You can find out the age of your pipes by having your plumber look at your pipes as they enter the foundation wall. You can also find out by asking a licensed water main and sewer contractor to obtain records from the Department of Environmental Protection.

Related: Things to be Aware of When Buying an Older Home</strong>

What happens if your pipes leak underground?

Underground water leaks flow out of the area where the pipe is broken. The seepage spreads into the surrounding soil, which it will erode over time. It’s just a matter of time before signs of erosion become apparent above ground level, leading to the creation of sinkholes on your property or on nearby roadways.

Do you have trees near your home?

Tree roots can be invasive and disrupt service lines. Roots seek out pipes because the water, oxygen and nutrients they contain attracts them. Tree roots can cause blocks and blogs; in some cases, they can crush your pipes. Old lead and clay pipes are particularly vulnerable to tree roots.

Do you have clay soil?

Poor soil conditions can cause the insides of your pipes to corrode, which can lead to leaks and water contamination. Clay soils are among the most corrosive of all soils, and can quickly break down your pipes if you’re not careful.

Do you live in an area with sudden temperature shifts?

Water lines are prone to breaking when hit by sudden extreme temperature shifts. This can happen in hot and cold weather. Sometimes a sudden 10-degree change in the temperature can be enough to have an adverse effect on your pipes.

Have you been ignoring the warning signs?

There are little things that can happen in your home that could be a sign of problems with your pipes. Do you cook a lot in your kitchen? Grease and food disposals can build up in your pipes over time. A classic indicator that a line may be leaking is if your faucets start to stammer. And a clogged toilet or one that’s slow to drain can be a sign that the sewer line is clogged. Pay attention to these small disruptions in your environment: they can be an omen of bigger problems coming down the pipeline.

Related: How Often Should I Have My Plumbing Inspected?

Call Boydco Plumbing at 602-335-0323 to schedule your inspection.