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Should I replace my 30 yo Drainage System?

plumbing pipe drainage system

We all know how important our plumbing system is. It keeps the taps running, the toilets flushing and the house in working order. However, because we can’t really see our drainage system, it can be difficult to spot any signs of wear and tear. In an old house, it can be even more tricky to work out whether or not your plumbing needs replacing. This is why it’s important that you know the lifecycle of your plumbing and drainage system.

If your drainage system is 30 years old, we’ll talk you through the life expectancy of each pipe material, how to check for signs of damage, and whether or not you should repair or replace your system when it gets so old.

What sort of pipe material is in my house?

The material of the pipes in your home is one of the most important factors to consider when you’re deciding whether or not it’s time to replace your drainage system. Different materials have different lifespans, and some deteriorate much faster than others, meaning that they will need replacing faster than other plumbing systems.

If you live in an older house, or you never got to see your drainage system when it was being put in, you may believe it will be tricky to work out what type of drainage system has been installed in your home. However, an inspection report or an appraisal by Endpoint Plumbing is an easy and quick way to solve this.

Once the inspection is complete and you know what sort of material your pipes are made of, you can consider the rough lifespans of each material, which are:


Brass40-50 years
Cast Iron75-100 years
Galvanised Steel20-50 years
Copper50 or more years
PVCcan last indefinitely

Because each material has a different lifespan, when it comes to deciding whether or not to replace your drainage system, it really depends on the type of material it is made from. If you have a system made from galvanised steel and you know it’s not been replaced in years, you may want to consider getting your drainage system checked by a professional, like Endpoint Plumbing.

You also need to take into account the other parts of your system, such as the joints, fittings and components that connect everything together. If these have started to wear, they could be causing more damage to your system, which is another sign it’s time for you to replace it.

Signs of damage

If you’re unsure whether or not your plumbing system needs replacing, the most obvious way to find out is to check for common issues.

Here are some of the signs you need to look out for when deciding whether to change or repair your drainage system:

  • Noticeable pipe cracks
  • Corrosion
  • Leaks, which are causing damage to your home
  • Wet baseboards or wet areas behind the sink or dishwasher
  • Warped or water-stained flooring
  • Low water pressure

If you spot any of the above signs or have noticed that your house is feeling damp but you can’t find a cause, you will seriously need to consider changing your drainage system, as a broken one could result in untold amounts of damage to your property.

Should You Repair or Replace Your Drainage System?

If you have read through the above and have decided that your drainage system needs upgrading, you next need to consider whether you’re going to completely replace the system or if you’re going to repair the faults. The answer to this really depends on the extent of the damage to your pipes. If there are only a few signs of wear and tear, a patch-job may work, especially if your plumbing system is made from a material that has a long lifespan.

However, if your drainage system is at least 30 years old and is showing signs of rust, corrosion or damage, you need to seriously consider replacing the entire system to prevent any further water damage to your property. Plumbing work can be a big job, so it may be worth waiting until you’re carrying out other work on your home and install the replacement plumbing system as you go. Otherwise, you may have to knock through walls, which will cause a lot of disruption.

Need more help?

If you need more advice on whether or not it’s time to replace your 30-year-old heating system, Endpoint Plumbing is here to help. Get in touch now and we can come to your home at a convenient time and walk you through your options.