Common Plumbing Problems Of Old Homes

Common Plumbing Problems In Old Homes

Common Plumbing Problems In Old Homes


It’s no secret that old homes can be rife with issues, Whether you an existing or prospective owner of an old home it’s paramount to consider the common plumbing problems in old homes.

What is actually considered an “old home”? If you’re lucky to live in a city full of Heritage properties, the first thing that probably comes to mind is a charming Victorian era character home – full of nooks, crannies, quarks, as well as a grandeur. However, if you ask a plumber, they will likely consider a “old” home to be anything 30 years and above. As we enter 2021 and reflect back on the age of our homes, it’s easy to forget that a home built as recent as the 1980 is now 40 years old.  Lets look at the most common plumbing problems in old homes:


1 - Pipe Bellies


The ground surrounding old homes shifts and changes.  This can cause the pipes installed underneath  to adjust. When these natural shifts occur, pipes can buckle downwards, creating a “belly-like” formation that can cause water and waste to pool.  This creates a perfect storm for poor drainage, clogging, and or pipe breakage.

2 - Clogging and Drain Issues


Decades of sewage and soap scum take a toll on an old home’s drains, filling and clogging them with gunk. Even with routine maintenance, any experienced plumber would say it’s nearly impossible to keep an old homes pipes blockage-free forever.


Outdated Pipes



Tree Root Intrusion


Older homes may be surrounded by large tree roots that could threaten to break through sewer lines. Sewer lines take away the wastewater from a homes’ drains.  It is then routed to the sewer main that connects to a local treatment plant. Compromised sewer lines could create a host of gross issues like overflowing drains, or waste coming back up the toilet after flushing.

Homes are also susceptible to age related perils. If you are looking to invest in a property and are considering an older home, or you already the homeowner of an old home, it’s always better to be proactive!


  • Galvanized Piping: Galvanized pipes are a steel pipe that has a protective zinc coating (added to prevent corrosion and rust).  Commonly installed in homes built pre-1960. Like with most metals, decades of exposure to water can cause the protective zinc coating on galvanized pipping to erode.  This makes the galvanized pipes susceptible to rust. Water from rusty, galvanized piping can be hazardous to health and in some cases, even contain lead.


  • Polybutylene Piping: Polybutylene piping (or Poly-B) is a flexible grey pipping that has been subject to debates around its reliability. Whenexposed to excessive heat, high water pressure, and stress the reliability comes into question.. The high rate of failure in Polybutylene piping have resulted in many class-action lawsuits and replacement becomes a priority if they are still present in an old home.

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If you have any questions call the professionals at Highmark Plumbing and we will be happy to answer them for you. For any heating, electrical, or home repair issues visit our sister websites Highmark Heating,  Highmark Electrical or Highmark Construction

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