For many people, plumbing problems are often out of sight and out of mind. Unless there is a very obvious problem that is highly visible, many issues with a home’s plumbing often go unnoticed. This is especially true with older homes where the pipes have begun to deteriorate. Not only do these pipes often leak and cause severe water damage, but they can leach lead and other harmful materials into a home’s drinking water. Whether it is due to their age or due to faulty construction and installation, many homes have problems with faulty plumbing, problems that often result in unclean water and all the health issues that go with it. Not all of these issues may be readily apparent, but if you live in an older home or find that you or members of your family are frequently sick, you may have problems with faulty pipes. Here are some of the more common issues you might face.
Disease is probably the biggest problem caused by faulty plumbing. Plumbing is used to remove waste from a building, and ideally the pipes that are used for this purpose are not the same ones used for drinking water. As one could easily guess, the pipes designed to remove sewage and other wastes from the home are full of bacteria and other dangerous micro-organisms that can cause serious health problems, and these contaminants can sometimes enter a home’s water supply due to backsiphonage, cross connections, and other plumbing errors. Plumbers are highly trained to avoid issues such as these, but mistakes do happen.
Lead and Other Contaminants
A far more common cause of plumbing-related sickness has to do with lead and other heavy metals leaching from the pipes into a home’s drinking water. Most modern homes built in the last few decades don’t have lead pipes, but the metal was and still is a common component in older plumbing due to its high heat resistance and general durability. However, these pipes deteriorate as they get older, causing lead to leach into a home’s drinking water. Even pipes that don’t contain lead can still leach other metals and materials into the water. For example, brown tap water caused by iron contamination is a problem that affects many homes. This normally isn’t a major health concern compared to lead contamination, but it is a sign that a home’s pipes should be replaced.
Hard Water and Calcium Buildup
Hard water is normally not the fault of bad plumbing, but if it goes untreated it can lead to other plumbing problems. Hard water can leave calcium deposits on the inside walls of a home’s pipes, slowing and eventually restricting water flow while causing damage to the pipes themselves. While most clogs can be removed by home remedies or store-bought drain cleaners, the calcium buildup caused by hard water can be significantly harder to deal with. These issues often call for the work of a trained plumber and possibly new pipes. If you have a problem with hard water in your home, consider investing in a new water softener before the issue gets out of hand. Although plumbing problems often go unnoticed by homeowners until they are easily visible, there are still plenty of serious issues they can cause. If you suspect that you have an issue with faulty plumbing, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber, especially if you live in an older home.