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When it comes to the pipes in your home, knowledge is power.

Most of us know little to nothing about the pipes that allow us to take hot showers, wash the dishes and flush the toilet, but here at Culler Plumbing Services, we believe that knowledge is power. When there is a problem with the pipes in your home, particularly sewer or water lines, it can lead to a whole host of expensive problems, and if you want to avoid having to call our emergency plumber in Belleville, you are going to need to learn a thing or two about your pipes. The following is a list of the things that every homeowner needs to know about their pipes:

#1. How old your pipes are.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average age that a water main will break is around 47 years old. However, the vast majority of the pipes in homes across the United States are over 75 years old. Age is one of the most common reasons for a pipe to break, so it is incredibly important to know how old your pipes are. If you don’t already know how old your pipes are, one of the best ways to find out is by asking a plumber to inspect them. You could check the records by enlisting the help of a licensed water main and sewer contractor.

#2. If there are any issues from the trees in your yard.

Mature trees are truly beautiful to behold, and they add shade and privacy to your home. Unfortunately, though, mature trees can be hazardous to your plumbing system, because their roots can travel up to 50 feet. These roots often grow into pipes, leading to blockages and other damage and, in some cases, they have even been known to crush pipes. If you have mature trees in your yard, it’s important to know if, and exactly how, they are affecting your pipes.

#3. What material your pipes are made of.

Today, the majority of plumbing pipes are made of PVC and, sometimes, steel or copper, but that wasn’t always the case. Lead, cast iron and clay tile were often the most common materials used to make pipes in the past, and if you have an older home, chances are, your pipes are made from one of these materials. Here are the biggest issues to watch out for with each of these pipe materials:

  • Lead – Lead is an incredibly dangerous substance, and if your home has lead pipes, it could be putting your family at risk.
  • Cast Iron – Some of the biggest problems homeowners who have cast iron pipes deal with are corrosion and rust.
  • Clay Tile – Clay tile pipes are extremely vulnerable to soil washout, water erosion, ground settling and tree roots.

If you are unsure what material your pipes are made of, hire a plumber for a sewer line inspection. If your pipes are made of any of the above materials, your plumber may suggest replacing them with PVC pipes or another modern material.

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#4. How seasonal changes affect your pipes.

An extreme change in temperature, whether it be hot or cold, can be detrimental to your water lines because they expand and contract when the temperature changes. Even a 10-degree change in the temperature can add enough stress to your water lines to make them more susceptible to breaks. Water lines are particularly at risk when the temperature drops below 40-degrees Fahrenheit, because it can make them brittle.

#5. What the soil conditions around your home are like.

If the soil conditions around your home are poor, such as soil that has a high chloride content or low resistivity, it can cause your pipes to corrode, leading to contamination and leaks. Clay soils are the most corrosive types of soil, whereas, sandy soils are typically the least corrosive. If you think you may have clay soil around your home, it’s important to get your pipes inspected, even if you haven’t noticed any signs of trouble. Corrosion starts to build up slowly over time, and just because you don’t have a problem yet, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have damage.

No homeowner wants to have to deal with the damage or the costs associated with broken pipes, particularly if they are water or sewer lines, and a little knowledge about your pipes can go a long way to preventing it. Please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have!