When It’s Time to Upgrade Your Plumbing

4 Dec

Many property owners find it easy to forget about their pipes until it is too late. If your plumbing is working well and water flows through your home with ease, it is unlikely you think about upgrading your system. However, when something happens and you suffer a leak or flooding, you understand the importance of maintaining your plumbing. Unfortunately, by the time property owners have a problem, it is well past the time of upgrading their plumbing.

Your pipes go through a lot on any given day. The constant flow of water can cause corrosion, rust, and overall disrepair. For many property owners across Canada, their pipes are already outdated. Yet, because pipes and the plumbing system are often tucked away behind walls or in the basement, it is not always easy to know when they need care.

Whether you are a homeowner or manage a commercial property, here are some signs to watch for that indicate it is time to upgrade your plumbing.

Water Colour

Depending on where you live, water discolouration can be a sign of a problem. If you use well water, live in a rural area, or have been notified of a boil water order in your area, then off-coloured water might not be a sign that your pipes are dated. However, if you usually have clear coloured water and you start to notice it becoming more yellow or brown, it is advised you call a professional plumber. Often, discolouration in the water comes from rusty pipes. The hazard here is that it can cause a build-up of minerals in your pipes. If this happens, there is a risk that the pipe will burst, causing serious water damage.

Material of Your Pipe

Pipes can be made out of different types of material; including brass, copper, PVC or, in older buildings, cast iron, lead, or galvanized steel. Each of these materials have a different lifespan. It is important to know what type your pipes are so that you can know how long they might last.

Brass, cast iron, or galvanized steel can last anywhere from 80 to 100 years with proper maintenance. However, galvanized steel can cause problems by constricting the water flow on the property. Copper lasts 70 to 80 years.

PVC pipes have a much shorter lifespan with most needing to be upgraded between 25 and 45 years. Property owners with lead pipes should have the pipes changed as soon as possible. Lead is a toxic substance and has been known to get into the water supply causing health risks. Unfortunately, a recent investigation has found that nearly 40 percent of water in Canadian homes has higher than recommended lead levels. If you are concerned about your lead pipes, contact a professional plumbing company to have them inspected.

Water Pressure

If you have noticed a decline in your water pressure from your shower or sink, it may be a sign that it is time to upgrade your plumbing. However, you’ll want to have your system inspected before making any major decisions. Low water pressure can be caused by many different reasons, including a clog or leak. Leaks and clogs that are left untreated can create other hassles like water damage. Regardless of the cause, having a professional plumber come in and assess the situation can save you expensive repair costs in the future. A professional can also examine your pipes and let you know if you should consider changing them.


Not all leaks mean that you need to change your plumbing, but it is a good idea to have the situation examined by a professional plumber. While some small leaks can be easily fixed, they can also be a sign of a bigger problem elsewhere in your system. Plumbers are the best ones to investigate your pipes for any discolouration, bumps, flaking, or other signs that they are getting too old. Consider it an investment into the safety and security of your home. Having a professional examine your plumbing can give you the peace of mind you need.


Foul smells that seem to come from your pipes or plumbing should be assessed by a professional plumber. These smells may just be the result of gases building up due to a faulty vent. However, if they are left as is or not handled appropriately, they could cause bigger problems for your plumbing. One of the best ways to avoid this situation is to have regular maintenance inspections.


While not common in homes, gurgling sounds in commercial property plumbing indicate there could be a backup somewhere. They often come from drains or appliances that use a large amount of water like laundry machines, dishwashers, or sump pumps. The sound comes from air in the pipes and you will need to contact a professional plumber to help locate the problem and fix the ventilation. Air in your pipes can lead to more serious problems, so it is a good idea to call in the professionals as soon as you can.


Water can accumulate in various places in your property, including behind walls, ceilings, baseboards, and more. If you start to notice stains in any area of your home or office, it is best to act quickly. Usually, by the time stains are visible to the eye, the water has been leaking for some time. This collection of moisture can cause mould or mildew to grow, presenting a health hazard for those living or working inside your building.


It is easy to overlook the plumbing on your property, as most of it is tucked away behind walls or in basements. However, without proper maintenance, plumbing problems can happen. These situations often lead to expensive repairs. Rather than waiting until you have a backup or flood, watch for the signs that it is time to upgrade your plumbing. If you see a change in the colour of your water, water pressure, or stains, it is time to call a professional plumber. In addition, gurgling sounds, bad smells, or dated piping can all mean you need to have your system assessed by a professional.

For more information about keeping your plumbing system healthy, call Brothers Plumbing at 1-800-742-0018 or contact us here.

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