Galvanized steel was the most popular water pipe during the 1940s. Copper was also used for water pipes. Until the end of the decade, water utilities continued to use lead for service pipes to homes, but not supply pipes inside the house. Older homes in Alice, Texas, are charming, but they have unique problems that new construction doesn't have.
One of those problems is plumbing. Older homes often have certain types of pipes built with metals such as galvanized steel, which we no longer use when installing a plumbing system. Between the 1930s and the 1980s, most contractors and plumbers built homes out of galvanized steel tubing. Later, professionals discovered that galvanized steel rusted and corroded relatively easily.
This corrosion resulted in blockages quite easily. They also release lead into the water, leading to water discoloration and possible disease. Older homes usually have at least a few galvanized steel pipes, because replacing an entire piping system is expensive. You find PVC in old houses that have had their pipes replaced.
Many people choose to replace galvanized steel or cast iron pipes with PVC because it is relatively inexpensive and easy to install. PVC doesn't rust or corrode like most metal pipes, and it handles high pressure water very well. However, you cannot run hot water through PVC pipes or they could deform. You'll need copper or CPVC for hot water lines.
In the early 20th century, thick-walled copper joined with threaded fittings was used, but it was limited to public buildings due to its high cost. However, light gauge copper tubes and fittings were developed during the 1930s, making copper economically viable and increasing its popularity. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) was experimentally produced in the 19th century, but did not become practical to manufacture until 1926, when Waldo Semon of BF Goodrich Co. Developed a method for plasticizing PVC, which makes it easier to process.
PVC pipe began manufacturing in the 1940s and was used extensively during DWV reconstruction of Germany and Japan after World War II. In the 1950s, plastic manufacturers in Western Europe and Japan began producing acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) tubes. Methods for producing cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) were also developed in the 1950s. InspectaMedia does not tolerate any conflict of interest.
We have no relationship with advertisers, products or services analyzed on this website. Here we provide a photo guide to determining the age of a building or its plumbing, piping and fitting system by examining visual clues. The age of a building can be determined quite accurately through documentation, but when documents are not available, visual clues, such as those available during a professional home inspection, can determine when a home was built by examining its components, building materials, even nails, fasteners and types of saw cuts in wood. Here we list some useful clues to answer the question how old is the house? and we provide photographs of key visual clues useful in determining the age of a building.
We also provide an INDEX OF ARTICLES for this topic, or you can try the SEARCH BOX at the top or bottom of the page as a quick way to find the information you need. Often, old gas lines have been completely disconnected and sometimes reused to route electrical wiring to new light fixtures or to gas lamps that have been converted to electric ones. Don't assume that an old gas fitting or valve in a wall or found in a chimney is inactive. We turned this lamp on and on, which gave everyone a brilliant surprise.
While almost any home inspected in North America will have an indoor bathroom today, in 1921 only one percent of homes had an indoor bathroom. The green of this tub was a perfect match for a McSkimming porcelain and plastic toilet combination that we speculated the tub could also have been produced by McSkimming. McSkimming Brick %26 ceramics produced clay toilets and other products in New Zealand from 1882 to the 1980s. Plumbing fixtures and plumbing materials offer considerable age in the dating of a building, including easy clues such as the presence of a manufacture date stamped on many toilet tanks to the periods of use of water supply pipe types (lead, galvanized steel, black iron, copper, plastic pipes) and construction drainage pipes (lead, cast iron, copper, plastic, clay).
Often, in older buildings, there will be several types of pipes, since repairs and changes have been made to the building's plumbing system. And determining what the materials of the pipes are can be difficult. Below our photo of old water or heating pipes (follow the pipes to see their connections) illustrates the difficulty of identifying the pipe material through simple inspection. It may be necessary to scrape a little on the surface of the pipe to distinguish between brass and copper, or to use a magnet to identify the steel.
Next we see the main leaded water supply inlet pipe (red arrow) and the cast iron drain pipe. Cast iron pipes used for drain pipes in the building are shown, as well as sewer lines. In How to Use an Energy Snake in Building Drains, you can see a common splice of ABS plastic drain pipes in an existing cast iron sewer line. The leaded water inlet pipe (see LEAD PIPES in BUILDINGS) connecting a building to the main street water pipe is shown in our photo (left), where you can also see cast iron drain pipes painted gray.
See LEAD IN DRINKING WATER, HOW TO REDUCE. The Orangeburg drain %26 septic field pipe, most commonly used in drainage pipes and septic fields, was made of ground wood fibers bonded with an adhesive putty (coal tar), which usually looks like a black tarry pipe. Details on the orangeburg pipe are in ORANGEBURG PIPE, used for the first time in the U.S. UU.
In Boston in 1865, but it was not likely to be found in a construction area, drain, drain, or septic drain field before the late 1940s and then through the 1960s to the early 1970s. Details on all types of building supply and drain pipe materials and heating pipes can be found in PIPES in BUILDINGS, CLOGS, LEAKS, TYPES. Here we illustrate the wide variety of materials used to build kitchen, laundry and bathroom sinks and analyze the typical age of each type of sink. The cast concrete sink with a hand wringer for clothes pictured above is installed in a national park building in Akaroa, New Zealand, and is still actively used.
In North America, cast concrete sinks have been in use for more than 100 years. As with toilets and tubs, often a look at the materials and style of sinks used in a bathroom, kitchen, or laundry area can give clues to the likely age of the building, as well as the plumbing installation. Lucas (201) traces the history of kitchen sinks in Canada and illustrates several of these fixtures, starting with galvanized wash tubs used in homes where plumbing has not yet been installed. See SINK TYPES %26 MATERIALS for our catalog of sink types and sink materials, uses, ages and history.
Does the date stamp on the toilet say the age of a building? Okay, not exactly, but many toilets include a date stamped or engraved on the inside of the toilet cistern, often on the lid of the toilet tank, as we show in our photo below. That embossed date stamp indicates the year of manufacture of the toilet. If the toilet is original to the house, that can give us a clue as to the age of the building. Reader Kathy Bohon points out that the date stamp on a toilet tank or lid is a useful indicator of age, provided the building's plumbing system hasn't been renovated.
Of course, since the toilet will have been manufactured before its installation, or if the toilet was reused from another structure, in any case, its date will be a little earlier than the building. Low-flush toilets that reduce the amount of water used began to be popularly used in the U.S. For 1980, but you may need to look closely inside the toilet cistern to identify some models. Since this label may have been removed, also look on the cistern or toilet base for a low flush designation included in the porcelain liner, as shown in our photos.
Simple plastic reconditioning internal tanks allowed toilet manufacturers to leave the outer size and shape of the toilet intact, even when opting for a low-flush water-saving design. In TOILET OVERFLOW EMERGENCY you can see one of these toilet models. See also TOILET TYPES, CONTROLS, PARTS How can we determine the age of a residential water heater? Observing and Decoding Water Heater Label Data. It would be unusual to find an original water heater in a building built before 1970 in the U.S.
So, don't assume that the water heater era is the age of building an older house. Almost all modern water heaters, electric, oil or gas, include data labels and stickers that indicate the year and month of manufacture of the water heater. That doesn't indicate exactly when a water heater was installed in a particular building, but it does indicate the age of the water heater itself. However, most manufacturers code the year and month of manufacture of their water heater in the product serial number, so the age of the water heater is not immediately obvious, but it can be decoded.
For more information on determining the age of water heaters, see AGE of WATER HEATERS, where we include a chart that Scott LeMarr has generously shared. In Water Heater Life Expectancy Comparisons, we list the factors that determine the life expectancy of a water heater. Jerry, I suggest hiring a plumber who can use a camera to check your drains, see their condition, and give you a report of what's needed. That way you can see for yourself what is happening.
I am looking for information about these pipes can be accessed from the outside of the building, since they are channeled into a drain. Continue reading under ESTIMATING THE AGE OF THE CESSPOOL or select a topic from the closely related articles below, or view the full INDEX OF ARTICLES. Or use the SEARCH BOX below to ask a question or search for InspectaMedia Search the InspectaMedia website. During the Middle Ages following the fall of the Roman Empire, plumbing development practically ceased for centuries, except in isolated cases of pipes installed in palaces and castles.
Piping Materials The earliest known evidence that drainage tile was used for plumbing was found in Mesopotamia and is estimated to have been manufactured around 3000 BC. C. Mechanical engineers and plumbing contractors now consider many factors when designing a water distribution system and most plumbers in the past did not have the benefit of this knowledge. Plastic water pipes, one of the things you need to consider is the durability of each type.
Polybutylene pipes were used in several million homes built in the united states from 1970 to the mid-1990s. Copper tubing was approved for use in the early 1930s and plumbers found that they were lighter and easier to work with. Copper water pipes are still the most common type of plumbing pipes used today because of their longevity, durability, and corrosion resistance. Rigid copper tubes come in three types, including M, L, and K, where M has the thinnest walls and L and K have the thickest walls.
Water supply and distribution systems have come a long way since the days when indoor plumbing was a dream come true. . .