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Old House Plumbing: How to Care for Your Vintage Plumbing System

Since we first started out, Anta Plumbing has been the Toronto plumber of choice for owners of historic homes. Just the fact that we have been in business for such a long time, means that we have extensive experience about a vast range of plumbing fixtures, methods and techniques. That sets us apart from newer companies who may not know much about older types of plumbing, such as cast iron pipes and hot water tanks. However, we also have a keen understanding of topics such as tankless water heaters and other modern plumbing advances.

Some of the biggest keys to older home plumbing, is to:

1. Understand what it consists of

You must understand that your plumbing system may consist of different pipes and fixtures made of all types of materials. Through the years, whenever there has been a plumbing issue, the plumber at the time would’ve replaced fixtures with the best material at the time. That means that you may have some cast iron pipes and fixtures; others may be made of copper or iron, and yet others may be of more modern plastics. The different materials may not always provide the best results.

2. Be gentle with your old house plumbing

Older plumbing pipes were smaller and more prone to corrosion and cracking, especially in the cold Toronto winters. Due to the fact that older pipes bulge and warp, they form hairline cracks. Tree roots infiltrate those cracks, and as they continue to grow bigger, push the pipe walls further apart, resulting in bigger leaks and clogs.

3. Consider a plumbing upgrade

If you have lead or polybutylene plumbing fixtures in your older home, you need to change it right away. While lead has a 100-year life expectancy, it deposits lead into your potable water, which poses serious health hazards.

Polybutylene pipes, which were commonly used until the 90s, are fragile and prone to breakage. Replace them with a newer material with a better lifespan.

4. Know what to look for during maintenance

All homes should be inspected for plumbing issues once a year, but older homes should undergo two plumbing inspections a year. During this inspection –

look at all the exposed pipes and identify flaking, pimples, dimpling, stains, and discoloration. look out for leaks, including small, easy-to-repair leaks.
look at the color of your water.

If you notice any leaks, signs of corrosion or strange smells and colors in your water, you should call your plumber. Yellow or brown water may be an indicator of decay inside your pipes.

Replacing Old Home Plumbing Pipes

A trusted plumber will be able to advise when your home plumbing pipes need to be replaced. This might be a big jobs, but again, a City of Toronto licenced plumber will be able to advise on the least invasive methods for upgrading your plumbing. One of the most popular options, is PEX piping. Cross-linked polyethylene tubing is a flexible plastic hose that is snaked into the walls, thus limiting the demolition involved in other methods.

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