Old Pipes? 3 Warning Signs to Look Out For

Old homes are beautiful and unique in their own ways, but they also come with a unique set of challenges, especially when it comes to plumbing. Old homes were often fitted with pipes made of galvanised steel or copper that could be increasingly difficult to use. Old plumbing can also be more prone to clogs, resulting in endless headaches for a new homeowner.

If you're new to an old home, keep reading to learn about some of the key warning signs that your plumbing needs some extra love and care. We'll also cover solutions to potential problems so you can implement them as soon as possible and save yourself a world of trouble. 

1. Red or Discoloured Water

Does red- or copper-tinted water come out of your taps? Do you notice a brownish residue on your dishes or sink? Your pipes were probably made with an older material like galvanised metal that is slowly starting to rust.

While the rust isn't necessarily toxic, it indicates that your pipes are reaching the end of their natural lifespan. You'll want to act quickly to replace the pipes before they rust out completely, leaving you with a huge, watery mess complete with mould and property damage — not to mention days without plumbing while you re-pipe the home.


Talk to your plumber about replacing the older pipes with a more rust-proof material like copper, stainless steel, PEX or CPVC. Each of these materials has its pros and cons, and some are pricier and more durable than others. Your plumber can give you a material recommendation that works best for your unique older home. 

Bear in mind that while replacing a home's entire piping is expensive, the upgrades are generally worth it in the long run. They'll also up your home's resale value. If you can't afford to replace all the pipes right now, make sure to at least replace the worst bits of piping.

If you have galvanised steel pipes, do not replace worn-out sections with copper pipes — unless a plumber connects the two with a dialectic coupling, the copper will add to your corrosion problems.

2. Clogs

Clogs are obviously a problem in every home (and a clear indicator that you need to call a plumber), but with older pipes, clogs can indicate more of an issue than just a bundle of hair or potato peels trapped in the sink. For instance, a clog could indicate that the previous owners put more things down the drain than they should have. It may also signify a deeper issue like tree roots growing into the pipes.


You can always try removing clogs yourself with a combination of boiling water, vinegar and baking soda. However, this method will likely only work on the smallest, most recent clogs. A plumber must address clogs that came from the previous owner or that result from rust build-up in your old pipes.

3. Sewer Backup

If sewage backs up into your bathtub or sink, get in touch with a plumber right away. Sewage backup is not only a health hazard but (due to the age of the house) also a likely indicator of a serious plumbing problem, like tree roots growing through your drains.


Only a plumber can help you deal with an issue as big as tree root backup. The fix can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars, so act as soon as you notice a backup.

Contact a Plumber for Help

When you take the steps above and reach out to a plumber as necessary, you can extend your home's plumbing by years and ensure that your older home is an idyllic refuge from the rest of the world instead of a mouldy, smelly hazard.

Need professional plumbing assistance to diagnose, replace or repair your home's old pipes? A & C Plumbing is happy to help. Call us today and read through our blog to learn more about home plumbing repair.