plumbing issues

Plumbing Issues – Knowing When to Replace Your Plumbing System Components

December 27 2016

Plumbing Issues

Most homeowners can’t always anticipate when they’ll have to deal with plumbing issues. There’s always the clogged toilet or the leaky faucet, but what if you’re dealing with more urgent problems? There’s one way to limit the risk of these larger, more urgent plumbing issues. Make sure you know how old the components of your plumbing system are.

Will your pipes will withstand another brutal winter season? Will your toilet ever be efficient with water? Will your water heater continue to provide hot water for every shower? The only way to know is to become more familiar with the life expectancy of your plumbing system components.

It’s wise to find out just how often your toilets, water heater, washing machine supply hoses, faucets, pipes, and drains should last, and the signs which may help you anticipate when they’re going to fail.

Here’s a list of the most common components and their average lifespans:


Parts of your toilet bear more wear and tear over time, unlike the actual toilet bowl itself. These parts within the toilet may need to be replaced often, depending on their usage:

  • Handle: Lifespan is based on usage
  • Flappers, trip levers, fill valves, fittings, and plumbing connections: 4-5 years
  • Wax seals: 20-30 years

You should replace your toilet handle if any of the following happens:

  • Need to jiggle it to stop the water from running        
  • Won’t fully flush unless you hold the handle down
  • Water runs on its own without having flushed the toilet



On average, a conventional tank water heater should be replaced every 10-15 years. The newer, tankless water heaters will last double that time – for about 20 years. Both of these systems can last longer if they are well-maintained, but start shopping if you keep noticing:

  •         The pilot light in your conventional water heater flickering out
  •         The circuit breaker in your tankless water heater keeps tripping
  •         The burner or heating element failing or the thermostat breaking
  •         The water valve sticking
  •         Any minor leaks or rust around the water heater


The hoses that are supplying water to your washing machine can take a beating depending on how much laundry you do. On average, washing machine supply hoses should be replaced every 3 years.

To avoid a potential burst of your supply hose, look for the following signs:

  •         Seeing or feeling a bubble in your hose
  •         Cracks, unraveling, discoloration, crimps, or kinks in the hose
  •         Any signs of leaking or rusting around the hose


Faucets can usually be repaired and rejuvenated, meaning you’ll only need to replace them if they have to be fixed on a regular basis or if they simply stop functioning.

As a homeowner, it’s clear that updating faucets can add value to your kitchens and bathrooms. Choosing newer fixtures with the latest technology (washerless cartridges, touch operated, etc.) can ensure they will have a longer lifespan.


If supply pipes leak, they will do the most damage to your home. They are under constant pressure and if your home is on the older side, these pipes may be costly to replace, but better to be safe than sorry.

It’s suggested that you replace supply pipes according to these lifespans:

  •         Brass pipes: 80-100 years
  •         Copper pipes: 70-80 years
  •         Galvanized steel pipes: 80-100 years


Tree root growth or years of contraction and expansion of ground soil can impact drain lines, but they can also fail due to old age. Hoping that a natural disaster will not occur, the average lifespans can be:

  •         Cast iron pipes: 80-100 years
  •         PVC (plastic) pipes: 25-40 years

Keeping records is essential to tracking the age of your plumbing system’s components. If you’re not sure how to determine the age of these components or the severity of your plumbing issues, consult with your contractor or stop by our showroom to learn more from one of our experts.