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Common Plumbing Issues in Chicago’s Older Homes


Older Homes

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Many homeowners prefer the charm and character of an older house, as they were built with techniques and materials that are much more expensive in modern construction. However, with that unique charm comes a unique set of issues. Some problems are relatively small nuisances, but others, such as issues with older home plumbing, can cause severe and expensive damage. If you own an older home, it’s a good idea to keep these common concerns in mind to prevent expensive repairs in the future.

Potential Plumbing Problems You May Experience in an Older North Shore Home

  • Copper Pipes with Lead Solder – In houses built before lead was banned, copper piping may have been fitted with solders that contain lead additives. Lead is highly toxic, and it can cause joint and gastrointestinal pain, irritability, fatigue, and memory loss. It is particularly hazardous to children and can cause serious complications in physical and mental development.
  • Rusted Galvanized Pipes – Galvanized piping consists of iron coated with a layer of zinc. Zinc erodes over time and leaves pipes susceptible to corrosion and breakage. These rusted pipes can cause your water to turn orange and become unsafe for use.
  • Failing Polybutylene Pipes – Polybutylene pipes were once considered to be an excellent product due to their affordability and easy installation. Unfortunately, constant exposure to oxidants in public water systems causes a chemical reaction that leads to flaking, brittleness, and cracking. If your home was built between the late ’70s and early ’90s, it could have been constructed with polybutylene pipes.
  • Pipe Bellies – The gradual shifting of your home over time can create a negative slope in your pipes, called a pipe belly, that restricts the flow of water and creates pools that can accumulate sediment. Unaddressed pipe bellies can cause clogs or leaks.
  • Worn Fixtures – Older homes often have faucets, fixtures, and supply line connections that are more than likely nearing the end of their functional lifespan. If your home still has its original faucets, handles, valves, and spigots, they are susceptible to leaks, which can lead to unnecessary high utility bills or unpleasant odors.
  • Intruding Tree Roots – Tree roots are naturally drawn to water sources, and that includes your home’s pipes. You should schedule regular checkups to keep tree root intrusion from causing sewage backups or pipe breakages.

The team at American Vintage Home are the North Shore’s older home plumbing experts you can trust. If you have concerns about your home, contact us conveniently online, or call (847) 999-4595 to schedule an evaluation.

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