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How Often Should I Replace My Plumbing Fixtures?

Posted by Ken Flournoy on Feb 10, 2016 8:00:00 AM

How Often Should I Replace My Plumbing FixturesHas it been a while since you've updated your plumbing, and now you're wondering if you're behind on some much needed replacements? Find out just how often your toilets, water heater, garbage disposal, washing machine supply hose, faucets, supply pipes, and drain lines need to be replaced — and the tale tell signs your plumbing fixtures are on the outs.

Average Plumbing Lifespans

  • Toilets (like the actual toilet bowls themselves) really only need to be replaced if they're cracked, though different parts within the toilet may need replaced more frequently. For example:
    • Handle: there is no distinct time frame, but you should replace your toilet handle if:
      • You have to jiggle it to stop the water from running
      • Your toilet won't fully flush unless you hold the handle down
      • Your water runs on its own without you having flushed
    • Flappers, trip levers, fill valves, fittings, and plumbing connections: 4-5 years
    • Wax seals: 20-30 years
  • Traditional Water Heaters should be replaced every 10-15 years while tankless water heaters last for about 20 years. Both can last longer if well-maintained, but you should start shopping for a newer model if you keep noticing:
    • The pilot light in your conventional water heater flickering out
    • The circuit breaker in your tankless water heater tripping
    • The burner or heating element failing
    • The thermostat breaking
    • The valve sticking
    • Leaks or rust around the heater
  • Garbage Disposals last for about 10 years as long as you are using them properly and only dispose of food items approved by your manufacturer. Other than age, your disposal may also need to be replaced if:
    • You're experiencing frequent clogs
    • Food is taking a long time to break down
    • You're resetting it more often
    • There are lingering odors that just won't go away
  • Washing Machine Supply Hoses should be replaced every 3 years and we've explained why in great depth before. Even between replacements, keep an eye on your hose for signs of a potential burst; these signs include:
  • Faucets can usually be repaired and rejuvenated, meaning you'll only need to replace them if they have to be fixed CONSTANTLY or your plumber deems them beyond repair. People generally update every few years for other needs like:
  • Supply pipes are under constant pressure and if they leak they'll do the most damage. Fortunately, unless your home is on the older side, this isn't something you'll have to worry about right away. A good rule of thumb for replacing supply pipes is:
    • Brass pipes: 80-100 years
    • Copper pipes: 70-80 years
    • Galvanized steel pipes: 80-100 years
  • Drain lines can give in over time due to old age, but they can also be damaged in the meantime by tree root growth. As long as you don't experience a natural disaster, the replacement time line looks a little something like this:
    • Cast iron pipes: 80-100 years
    • PVC (plastic) pipes: 25-40 years

If you're way past due for any plumbing replacements, give Ken's Plumbing a call at (864) 242-5511 or click the banner below to schedule service online! We work with residential and commercial clients in the greater Greenville, SC area! Did we miss something you still have a question about? Ask us here!

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Your guide to home drains and sewer lines

Topics: Plumbing, Water Heaters, Toilets, Pipes, Garbage Disposals