Know thy pipes: that’s the first commandment of plumbing. A plumbing system is nice and reliable, out of sight and out of mind behind the walls. When there’s a problem, you don’t often know about it until it’s too late. It’s important to keep things running smoothly and proper plumbing maintenance helps things stay clear.

The thing is though, how do you know when it’s time to update your plumbing system? When it comes to the plumbing system in your body, you know when something’s wrong because you can feel it. Houses don’t exactly have nerves to send pain and your house can’t speak and tell you that there’s something wrong—or can it?

Here are four ways to determine whether your house might need a plumbing upgrade:

Check The Water Pressure

A quick and easy way to tell if something might be wrong is to check the pressure of your hot water. Older homes built before 1980 used galvanized pipes and unfortunately, they are chock-full of problems. Galvanized pipes tend to corrode pretty quickly compared to PVC pipes and they were used all over the place. The hot water pipes are typically the first pipes to go, so check and see how the pressure is. If it’s low, it could be because the pipes have corroded through or they’re plugged.

Look Under the Sinks

Since hot water pipes are the first to go, the previous owners might have already run into issues with galvanized or other problem pipes. So get down and check under you sinks to see if there are any new pipes. During construction, plumbing pipes are built into the walls. When contractors do plumbing upgrades and fixes, going through the walls is a lot more expensive and a lot more work so they tend to go through the floors. If there have been updates made to certain areas, chances are what wasn’t fixed before is about to go.

Monitor Your Meter Activity

When the water is on in the house, your meter will have a dial that will show the minute water flow. Go through your house and turn off all the water so that there is no more water flowing. Check everything and when you’re sure it’s off, go out and take a good look at your meter. If that dial is moving at all, you likely have a water leak somewhere. Not all leaks will immediately stain walls or floors. Some leaks are sneaky and you might not know about them until you’re sitting in the tub and it falls through the floor! 

Check the Water Colour

Beautiful, clear, crisp water. That is what you want and expect to see when you turn on your taps. So when some not-so-clear water is poured into your cup, it’s pretty alarming. It isn’t always sludgy and dark brown, but a little bit of yellow or brown in the water is an indication that the pipes are rusting.

Updating your plumbing system is expensive and time-consuming. Most people don’t opt to do it all at once but sometimes, doing the little fixes here and there can be a little like trying to plug multiple leaks with just your hands. Eventually, there will be more leaks than what you can do temporarily. Doing a plumbing upgrade can be worth the hassle at the time to prevent the trouble that outdated piping systems can bring.