7 Signs You Should Upgrade From Metal To Plastic Pipes

You may want to upgrade the metal pipes in your home to plastic. Wondering if that's the right decision for you? Here are seven signs it is.

1. You Have Lead Pipes in Your Home

Lead exposure can be extremely dangerous, especially for children and pregnant women. If your pipes are lead, you may want to upgrade to plastic as soon as possible.

You can check if your pipes are lead with a lead test—you just rub the testing strip onto the pipes, and if it changes color, you have lead. However, lead may also be in the soldering used on the pipe.

Basically, if your pipes are older than 1986, they may have 50/50 solder which is half lead. After that year, lead solder was outlawed in the United States.  

2. You're a Landlord and Want to Protect Yourself From Liability Issues

If you plan to rent out the home, you may really want to get rid of the lead plumbing pipes. If you leave them in place, you must tell your tenants about them, and this can make it hard to rent out your place. However, if you fail to disclose that information to your tenants, they may be able to bring a lawsuit against you. To protect yourself, you may want to just make the upgrade to plastic.

3. Your Pipes Are Corroding

Whether your pipes are lead or not, if they are metal, they may corrode. If you want to avoid that, you may just want to put in plastic plumbing.

If you want, you can deal with that issue pipe by pipe as corrosion pops up, but with this approach, you risk water damage to your home. Each time a pipe gets a hole through corrosion, the surrounding area gets dripped on.

4. You Don't Want to Deal With Soldering

If you decide to keep the majority of your metal pipes and just add in plastic ones as needed, you will need to buy some transition fittings. These are fittings designed to accommodate a metal pipe on one end and a plastic pipe on the other.

However, to install these fittings, you need to solder the fitting to the metal pipe. Then, you need to wait until the fitting cools, and finally, you can attach the plastic plumbing pipe.

If you don't want to deal with soldering now or in the future, you may just want to replace everything with plastic plumbing. Generally, plastic plumbing pipes and fittings just snap or screw together, and you can apply a dab of adhesive to hold everything in place.

5. You Want All Your Pipes to Match

Does your home already have a mixture of metal and plastic pipes? Do you just want everything to match? Then, in this situation, you may also want to put in new plastic plumbing.

6. You're Trying to Sell the Home

When trying to sell a home, it helps if you can advertise that the home has a lot of upgrades. In particular with older homes, you may want to upgrade the plumbing. That provides more potential value to prospective buyers, and as a result, you may even be able to increase your listing price.

7. You're Frustrated With Frequent Clogs

If your old metal pipes are constantly clogging up, you may also want to think about upgrading. Even if they are the same size, plastic pipes don't clog as easily as metal pipes. The reasons for this vary, but presumably, the plastic is less likely to harbor built-up debris and sludge, and that helps clogs to slip through the pipes and out of the house.

For more information about pipe upgrades, contact a local plumbing contractor.