Plumbing problems wreak havoc on Houston homes

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- If you're a Houston-area homeowner living in a house built before the 1980s, there could be a problem growing behind your walls.

If you have galvanized plumbing inside the home, get ready to shell out thousands in the near future.

When Sarina Blanchard recently purchased an older home, she discovered plumbing issues that raised some red flags.

"We had reduced water pressure and a lot of corrosion," Blanchard said. "We were doing some extensive remodeling with the bathrooms and the kitchen anyway, so we opted to repipe the house."

Blanchard's house was fitted with galvanized piping when it was built in 1962. Just like many homes constructed before the 1980s, these pipes are starting to reach the end of their life expectancy.

"You might come home one day and find your whole house flooded. That's how serious it is," said Chris Powell, master plumber with CM Powell Plumbing .

Powell says it's a growing problem here in Houston.

"Flakes in your pipe. If you're constantly having to take your aerators off and clean them out. If water is just sitting there, it's just going to create rust," Powell said.

All of those are indicators of leaks springing up around the home.

"You're looking at a few hundred dollars to a thousand, depending on what it is," he said.

But as time goes on, more and more plumbing failures could pop up.

Homeowners will have to weigh their options. Continue making these Band-Aid repairs every 6 to 12 months, or tackle the bigger job of replacing all the plumbing behind the walls and ceilings.

"Essentially what we're doing is cutting out all the old pipe and replacing it with CPVC," Powell said.

Powell says CVPC is the industry standard used by most professionals these days. It's a major job that involves removing of sheetrock, cutting out galvanized pipes, routing the new material through walls and studs, and finally making wall repairs. Depending on the size of the job, it could take a few days to complete.

The price tag for a full replacement ranges between $6,000 and $10,000. It is a rather large cost to pay for homeowners with older homes, but it will provide peace of mind moving forward.
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