Older homes come with an immeasurable amount of character. That ambiguous but charming term, character, can come from the finishing, the exterior, quirky layouts, and even standout or stand-alone features on the property. Homeowning of older or historically acclaimed homes are proponents of the integrity of their accessories and appliances. As they should be.
In order to maintain its authenticity, homeowners of older homes must invest not only their money but their time and energy into the maintenance of their home. Not all can be trusted to perform quality service with quality products. Plumbing often gets bundled into that connotation in the service industry. While many providers are executing to their best ability, older homes require a bit more attention to detail, which can operate by antiquated processes and systems as well as the burden of structural change that inevitably evolves over time from social and cultural needs.
Homeowners may know the most about the personality and general format of their homes but taking measures into their own hands either results in temporary or short-lived results, amateur servicing, or misdiagnosed treatment. Finding and relying on a ‘fixer’ from the outside world can cause trepidation. Ultimately, though, allowing a professional plumber to carefully and critically assess the plumbing environment in your home is your best bet for maximum asset retention.
The following are leading recurring issues seen in the majority of older or historical homes when left undiagnosed.
Extended Damage from the Seasons
Plumbing piping is one of the few exceptionally stable and formidable features of the home but it is not completely safeguarded from natural elements. Seasonal change, especially as dramatic as we experience it in Boise and most of the Northwest for that matter, can factor in on the materials science aspect of plumbing.
Because plumbing is wired both inside and outside the immediate framework of the home, it must shift with the outside environment just as we do. Changes between cold and hot can result in wear and tear on plumbing systems. Underground pipes withstand the brunt of this seasonal weathering. Over time, pipe bellies – the middle space between joints – can start to sag due to the force of gravity on the contents of the pipe and the pipe, itself. This dragging can result in an eventual burst or breakage in the pipe belly to due untreated stress on the pipe. Broken pipe detection is our first step in resolving your plumbing problems.
Quick fixes can be an appealing solution for immediate issues in an older home but they generally produce complications and obstacles with larger consequences that the initial issue. Many people also ignore the materials used in these quick fixes. Using mismatched materials (piping, joints, taping, etc) especially in homes that rely on particular resources can contribute to larger conflicts in the plumbing system as well as manufacture new problems.
Vintage is in and, as plumbers, we completely understand that. However, sometimes vintage is not in use. Function and utility are the primary objectives of plumbing systems. Original equipment and fixtures are typically sturdier than their contemporary counterparts. Although, time does impact function so just because an original may last longer does not mean that it does not have a threshold of use.
When goals are no longer being achieved by original equipment or fixtures due to small but strenuous leaks, alternatives must be looked at before the original parts threshold oversees its capacity in a historic home.
Poor Sewer Line Management
Every homeowner knows that their plumbing is an essential asset for the home. Every homeowner also knows that their plumbing is a nitty-gritty means to an end for waste management. While most do not enjoy thinking about waste removal, the reality does not change. In order to operate and uphold the ‘dirty work’ of plumbing, sewer lines must be adopted into the regular checklist of home maintenance.
Because of the condensation that is inherent to sewer lines, tree roots and other naturally occurring environmental factors can tamper with the functionality of sewer lines. Watching out for potential conflicts like these and seeking professional opinions and intervention can hinder major sewage backups.
More often than not, homeowners of any age of home do not take preventative steps to check in on their home systems. For homeowners of older homes, this can be what makes or breaks the authentic preservation of a historical home. Additionally, the EPA has recognized that resolving plumbing problems can result in major energy savings for older homes. Plumbing is all too often taken as a given in home maintenance but to capitalize on your investment, checking up on plumbing systems before the going gets rough can be your home’s saving grace.