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5 Common Plumbing Problems in Old Houses

5 Common Plumbing Problems in Old Houses

Fixes for Plumbing Problems in an Older Property

Old houses possess a unique charm, and if you’re a homebuyer in search of that timeless character and craftsmanship, plumbing concerns might not top your checklist when deciding. However, once you’ve settled in, plumbing issues in older homes can quickly turn into a major headache. It’s wise to inspect potential problems before you commit to the purchase.


At Simply Plumbing, we’ve honed our expertise in dealing with the plumbing challenges older homes are prone to over the past decade. In South Bedfordshire, where we’re based, the prevalence of hard water can further accelerate the natural wear and tear on pipes over the years.

Uncertain about what to look for? To assist you, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 common plumbing problems frequently encountered in old houses, along with the necessary plumbing fixes to tackle them.

1. Outdated Fixtures and Fittings

When dealing with an older property, potential homebuyers should be mindful of the plumbing system’s age. If the plumbing hasn’t seen updates in many years, it’s essential to consider the implications before making an offer. Over time, corrosion, and the accumulation of stubborn limescale can gradually erode the plumbing system, resulting in unwelcome issues such as persistent leaks, reduced water flow, and frequent blockages.

Moving into a home with an ageing plumbing system means an immediate budget allocation for a comprehensive overhaul. This can represent a significant investment, so you may want to consider negotiating with the seller for a price adjustment to help cover these necessary updates.


Plumbing Fix for Wear and Tear

In the first instance, an old system will need to be replaced. Once your modernised system is in place, it is vital to maintain it to prevent future expenses. Scheduling annual plumbing maintenance is a great way to do this. Not only do you reap the benefits of a plumbing system in impeccable condition, but you also extend the lifespan of your fixtures, ensuring they serve you well for years to come.

2. Old Pipes

Old Pipes

If the house of your dreams was built prior to the 1990s then you need to ask whether the pipes have been replaced since then. If not, they could be either of the following:

Lead Piping

Lead piping was banned in 1986 but before then it was used for sewer and water pipes. This means that there are millions of houses across the UK that still have lead pipes which can cause health problems. To counter this water companies often add orthophosphate to drinking water as it helps prevent lead from dissolving into the water.

Galvanised Steel Piping

Steel steadily replaced the use of lead pipes from the 1960s onwards. This has since been identified as corrosive, which means that it can release rust into the water. Additionally, the rust that accumulates inside the pipes reduces the space inside the pipes making it difficult for water to flow through. This causes low water pressure and can create blockages that cause pipes to burst.


Plumbing Fix for Old Pipes

Pipe repairs and replacements should always be carried out by a professional plumber. If you find that you will need to replace the pipes in an older property, a plumber can provide an estimate of costs to replace them. This can then form the basis of a negotiation with the seller.

3. Sewer Line Damage

Damage to the sewer line can have many causes, but in an older property, the most likely cause is corroding pipes, or tree root ingress. If this is not treated early on, the pipes will become vulnerable to cracking, pipe collapse and leaks.

The telltale symptoms of sewer line damage are mould on the walls, an unpleasant smell from plugholes, or slow drainage across several multiple drainage areas.


Plumbing Fix for Sewer Line Damage

You will need to call on the services of a plumber that specialises in drain clearance. They will carry out a CCTV drain survey in order to diagnose the problem and make recommendations based on their findings.

4. Poor Legacy Plumbing Repairs

Older houses may have had multiple owners who relied on various plumbers and DIY efforts to manage their plumbing system. These can leave poorly maintained plumbing which will be the new owners’ headache once they move in. Common legacy problems we’ve encountered are:

  • Unsecured pipes
  • Backwards sink trap.
  • Poorly installed showers.
  • Faulty water heaters.

Plumbing Fix for Poor Plumbing Repairs

You can’t rewrite history, but you will need to rectify the plumbing issues caused by poor plumbing repairs. Think about asking a plumber to carry out an inspection of the property you’re thinking of buying. They will know what to look for and can give you an estimate of the work involved in putting poor plumbing right.

5. Bellied Pipes

This problem occurs when there is a sag in the pipe that allows water, waste or sediment accumulate. There are many reasons for a bellied pipe; in an old house it’s likely that soil erosion, or earth movement has caused the sag to develop. Usually this occurs at the joint or fitting of a pipe. Over time this can cause blockages, or leaks.


Plumbing Fix for Bellied Pipes

A plumber would need to excavate in order to fill the void beneath the sagging sewer pipeline with dirt and gravel. Once filled, the pipe’s joints will need to be strengthened and reinforced.

About Simply Plumbing

Since we started work in Luton, Simply Plumbing has built a reputation as local plumbing specialists that can be relied on to fix plumbing problems,  clear blocked drains, or install bathroom fittings in houses old or new. This is because we can be relied upon to offer accurate diagnoses of existing problems, and detailed quotes on work that needs to be done to fix them. We always work to the highest professional standards, and we keep our prices affordable.

Need local plumbing services in Luton, Dunstable, or Bedfordshire? Call Simply Plumbing straight away on 01582 250030

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