Plumbing Life expectancy

What is the Lifespan of Your Plumbing and Plumbing Appliances

Every day, we use plumbing in some form or fashion.  When you take a shower or bath, you’re using plumbing when you turn on the shower valve and when the water is going down the drain.  You’re also using plumbing when you get hot water that is being heated by your hot water heater.  Plumbing is a major part of our every day lives.  There is no denying that plumbing and plumbing appliances help us live comfortably day in and day out.  As a homeowner, you want to make sure that you are getting the most out of your plumbing investments by being aware of the lifespans and maintenance necessary to keep your plumbing system running smoothly. When you think about the life expectancy of an appliance or system, you think about how long the item will run properly without needed to be replaced.  Every aspect of your home, from the cabinets to the flooring and framing, has an average life expectancy.  Here’s a look at some of the common plumbing items in your home and their average lifespans.

  • Water Heater

When it comes to water heaters, there are two categories – tank and tankless.  The most common forms of water heaters are conventional tank-style water heaters that hold anywhere between 30-80 gallons of water.  A typical life expectancy for a tank-style water heater is about 8-12 years.  Since tankless water heaters provide hot water on demand and are not continuously running, they average about a 20-year life expectancy.

There’s always a chance that your water heater (or tankless water heater) will show signs of wear and tear as they age.  You should be aware of rumbling or bumping noises coming from the unit, discolored hot water coming from your faucets, a significant drop in hot water temperature, or a pool of water at the base of your water heater as being signs of wear and tear.  If you see any of these signs and you’re at the 8-10 year mark for your water heater, you may want to consider replacement rather than repair.

  • Toilet

Believe this or not, but most toilets are built for the long haul and have virtually an unlimited life expectancy.  While the tank, bowl, and seat themselves may last that long, there are other components such as the flapper, handle, and fill valve that may require replacement every few years.  Thankfully, these items are often quick and easy repairs.

Our advice is to not replace the entire toilet unless you have to.  Signs that your toilet needs to be replaced include cracked porcelain, frequent clogging, constant water running in the tank, and/or water leakage from the tank or base.  If any of these issues occur, we recommend replacing your toilet rather than doing repairs.

  • Sinks and Faucets

Different materials will have different life expectancies.  For example, if you have a kitchen sink that is made from acrylic, you can expect to get about 50 years usage from it.  If you have a vessel sink made from copper, porcelain, or glass, you can expect an average of 20 years usage.  Enameled steel kitchen sinks may last for over a decade while soapstone sinks could last for over a century.  As for your faucets, you should expect them to last for approximately 15-20 years unless they are damaged by events outside or normal wear and tear.

When should you replace these items?  If you have a leaky faucet, it may be time to replace the faucet.  Think about it this way – a leaky faucet can cost you approximately 104 gallons of unused water per year.  That’s a lot!  When it comes to sink replacement, our recommendation is to replace the sink when or if it becomes structurally damaged.

  • Garbage Disposals

Typically, a garbage disposal will last on average for 12 years under normal usage.  Normal usage is considered to be using the disposal with soft foods and water running while the disposal is running.  Putting hard products and foods down the disposal could damage the blades and cause early replacement.  You can also prolong the life of your disposal by doing weekly care by putting citrus, ice, soapy water, and baking soda down it to clean the drain and guards.

I you have leaks coming from the bottom of the device, a noticeable decrease in performance, the unit stops coming on, or the unit clogs constantly, you may want to consider replacing your disposal as these are warning signs that the disposal could be failing.

These are just a few examples of the plumbing items that you have in your home.  Other items such as sewer lines are built to last for generations.  Regardless of when your lines or plumbing items fail, we are always here to help you with repair or replacement.  Give us a call today!