Common Plumbing Problems in Older Edmonton Homes

A plumber fixing under-sink pipes with a wrench.
Your home is your most valuable, and (usually) most expensive investment. But more importantly than that, it's your home - the place where you relax and stay safe with your family. That’s why it's important to proactively take care of your home, especially if it’s an older Edmonton house. Let us help you. Implementing a few precautions can ensure the safety of your family and the money inside your wallet!

Why settle for paying all the costly damages pipes in older homes can bring if you can simply prevent them? If you live in an older home, you are prone to problems that modern homes don't experience, and if paying a higher bill for water due to leaks doesn't scare you, perhaps considering that your basement might get flooded should! Here are the most common plumbing problems Edmonton homes face. Read these and stay proactive - your piggy bank will thank you!

Common Plumbing Problems in Older Edmonton Homes

The problem with older homes is that their piping often comes from an era in which we didn't know as much about the impact certain plumbing materials, practices, and tools can have as we do now. Not only that, but the piping in your home might be grossly over the useful life and may need to be replaced immediately. If you live in an Older Edmonton home, here are some common plumbing problems that your home might be experiencing without you even knowing.

Issues with Old Plumbing Materials

Solids pass through your pipes every day, regardless of what materials your pipes are made of.

Eventually, these solids can build up and cause problems. This is one of the most common plumbing problems because it can impact every type of pipe. The water pressure lowers when these materials build up and can eventually cause your pipes to crack and break. This can also affect the taste and quality of your water. You can tell if you are having this problem by turning on your tap and checking the pressure and flow of your water. If it's not what it should be, it might be the right time to carry out an inspection.

Problems with older types of piping

Galvanized Plumbing Pipes

Galvanized pipes are steel pipes with a layer of zinc and are no longer in use in the modern construction industry. The damage that this pipe can cause after a period of time depends on the type of water your home uses. Both soft and hard water cause problems to this piping meaning that this is one of the most common plumbing problems that galvanized pipes face. Hard water eventually deteriorates galvanized pipes, but, what may come as a surprise is that soft water actually reacts more aggressively and causes more damage to galvanized pipes. This is due to the lack of calcium carbonate in soft water. Zinc is meant to prevent galvanized pipes from corrosion, but without calcium carbonate, zinc cannot act as a protective layer as it is being corroded itself. Due to this, the pipe is eventually left with no protection against corrosion and corrodes itself.

Galvanized pipes tend to corrode inward and eventually end up completely choking off the flow. They also become brittle with age. They were used for both water and drain pipes so it is definitely something to be aware of. If used as drain pipes we do not recommend attempting to snake these pipes as they often break or the cable breaks off inside because it gets caught in the smaller diameter sections of the pipe. In these instances, we recommend replacing the pipe before it causes serious problems.

Galvanized Pipe Profile

Galvanized pipes tend to have a gray metallic color and make a metallic sound if you tap on them. This type of pipe will experience damage and corrosion regardless of what type of water (hard/soft) flows through it.

Polybutylene Plumbing Pipes

Polybutylene (also known as Poly-B) water lines were used widely in homes from 1978 to 1995. The biggest advantage of this material is that it was very affordable, which was great as it lowered the expense of building homes. But this material doesn't last as long as it was thought initially and since it was so widely used, it is also one of the most common plumbing problems in older homes. If you are living in a home with Poly-B pipes you should get these pipes checked out by an expert immediately.

It can take as little as 10 to 15 years for major damage to appear with these polybutylene pipes. The main problem with these pipes is that when this pipe reacts with oxidants in water, it becomes brittle, and then it can fail without warning which can make quite a mess in short order. It is also very vulnerable to UV light exposure, although this exposure is rare.

Polybutylene Pipe Profile

While usually blue, polybutylene pipes may also be gray or black. You can check if you own this type of piping by checking for stamps that state "PB" followed by serial numbers on your pipes.

Older Water Heater

While there is nothing inherently wrong with older gas heaters, everything has a life, and gas heaters that are between 6 and 8 years old and electric water heaters that are between 8 and 10 years old may be nearing the end of their useful life.

If you are unsure how old your water heater is, you may need to replace your water heater if you hear loud rumbling noises, see any leaks, or have rusty, discolored water when in use. You may also notice that the capacity isn’t what it used to be, this is likely due to a buildup of hardness within the tank. Whether you have an old water heater running past its prime or you simply need some water heater maintenance or repairs, our team of certified plumbing professionals can help.

Sump Pumps

According to the City of Edmonton, a Sump Pump is part of the home's foundation drainage system and has been a building requirement since 1988. Sump pumps should be inspected at least annually to ensure that they are in working order. If you don’t remember the last time your home had a sump pump inspection or see signs of damage or leaks, request an appointment right away!

Failure of your sump pump can cause thousands of water damage to your home and belongings. Our plumbers in Edmonton are capable of repairing and/or replacing any sump pump system and all of its components, including the battery backups.

Hard Water

Hard water is also a huge reason for plumbing damage in older (and even newer) homes. Edmonton has quite moderate hard water levels averaging between 10 to 16 grains per gallon. The problem with hard water is that it leaves scale deposits which shortens the life of household plumbing and water-using appliances. If your old Edmonton home uses hard water, it is highly recommended to inquire about a water softener and to also inspect your pipes and appliances for any damage caused by the hard water. You can call on Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Edmonton for your Edmonton water treatment, softener, and filter services. Our Edmonton plumbers use hi-tech laboratory analysis to ensure we find the best water softener system for your home.

Other Seasonal Plumbing Problems

As every Edmontonian knows, winters down here can be exceptionally harsh. That’s why it's extremely important to protect your homes against winter-related damages. This is especially true for older homes that may not have the proper precautions, or have precautions that are simply deteriorating as time goes on. Your home's plumbing should not be affected by the weather. If it is, request a plumbing inspection!

Frozen Pipes

Have you ever turned on a faucet during a cold winter's day only to be greeted by a trickle of water or nothing at all? Your pipes could be frozen! If you experience frozen pipes, it’s important to take action by shutting off your main water line and calling a local Edmonton frozen plumbing specialist to remedy the situation as frozen pipes could burst and bring costly water damage.

Another common issue with frozen lines is caused by leaving your garden hose attached to your frost-free hose bibs outside of your home. Frost-free hose bibs are designed to avoid freezing by draining the water out of the faucet back into the warm space in your home. However, if the garden hose stays attached it can’t drain, and when it freezes it will burst the hose bib. You won’t notice this one until spring though as it won’t leak until you turn on the faucet.

Every spring this one problem causes tons of water damage in the Edmonton area, so if you notice that you left your hose attached to a frost-free hose bib you’ll want to inspect it for leaks before you use it again. Remember the leak will only show up when the hose bib is in use!

Even without the extra strain during winter, time and corrosion will eventually make the water lines in your older Edmonton home in need of repair or replacement. Hard water will leave deposits in your pipes and will corrode them from the inside. As your older home continues to age, your water lines will reach a state that is not worth repairing. At this point, it is usually wise to completely install new water lines to ensure the integrity of your home's plumbing system and eliminate costly repairs and water damage from the leaks. To see the current state of your home's water lines, call in a local trusted plumber like Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Edmonton. We offer top-quality Edmonton water line installation services!

Sewer Lines

Another common problem in older Edmonton homes is the sewer lines. This is because older sewer lines are less sophisticated and are usually kept longer than their recommended life use. If you are unsure when your home's sewer lines were installed or would like to know their current state - book a sewer line inspection today with your trusted Edmonton plumbing company!

With a sewer line inspection, you’ll get to see firsthand what condition your sewer is in. Our experienced technicians can assess the state of your sewer, advise you on issues it may have, and provide you with some different repair options if a repair is required.


Another major old Edmonton home plumbing problem is the drains. Drains can be problematic simply due to their usage and age. Small solid objects are constantly passing through drains along with liquids. Over time these solid objects will build up inside the pipe and cause a blockage. Ignoring these blockages will only make the situation worse. If you are constantly dealing with slow or clogged drains, you need a professional Edmonton drain cleaning service! If you decide to attempt to unclog your own drains, never use drain cleaners. These chemicals will corrode your already-dated pipes and could cause major (and costly) piping damage. Our Edmonton plumbers only use the safest methods to repair your drain and clogs such as using the Hydroscrub Jetting to clear drains with high-pressure water, instead of corrosive chemicals.

Pipe “Bellying”

Pipe bellying can be a major issue for Edmonton homes. Pipe bellies are low spots in horizontal drain pipes which slow or stop the normal downhill flow of your home’s wastewater. Often these pipe bellies can cause cracks in the pipe which will allow the trapped wastewater to seep into the soil under your foundation. The most common way that bellied pipes are discovered is when the pipe clogs so it is important to make sure the cause of a clog is determined if possible so the larger problem can be addressed. If you experience any of these problems or are unsure of the age or last time your pipes were inspected. Contact a local trusted plumber today!

What Next?

If your pipe and plumbing systems haven't been inspected in the last few months, years or (hopefully not) decades, get in touch with us. Older home plumbing issues can often be solved before they become a more costly, and immediate problem. There is never a good time for an emergency.

Choose Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Edmonton

Does your older Edmonton home have any of these issues? It’s important to act fast! Call Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Edmonton and book your scheduled appointment - our expert Edmonton home plumbing technicians will take care of the rest. Apart from courteous and professional service - all workmanship and parts are guaranteed! Be at peace of mind knowing your home is in trusted hands. We make plumbing hassle-free for everyone! If you are dealing with an emergency - contact us today for 24-hour emergency service.