Plumbing doesn't last forever. Over time, old pipes and fixtures can corrode and leak. If you own an older home that was built many decades ago and you have yet to experience plumbing leaks, you've been lucky. According to Old House Web, any plumbing in homes built in the 1960s and prior are prone to problems with corrosion, which could lead to costly water damage repair bills in the future. It's better to err on the side of caution and replace the plumbing in older homes.
While this may seem like a monumental and costly task, there may be something you can do to somewhat alleviate the costs—sell the old pipes and fixtures to a scrap metal buyer. Here's what you need to know.
What Are the Pipes Made Out Of?
If you still have a copy of the inspection report from when you bought your home, take a look at it to see if it notes what type of pipes your home's plumbing system has. If you no longer have the inspection report, hire a plumber to inspect the plumbing.
Supply lines were typically made from brass, copper, galvanized steel, or lead decades ago. During this same time frame, drain lines were typically made from cast iron. These materials typically have a lifespan of 70-100 years, which will be soon if it hasn't already passed. Lead, on the other hand, has a longer life expectancy but is a serious health hazard as lead can leach into your home's water supply.
There are two types of metal: ferrous and non-ferrous. Ferrous metals are magnetic and include steel and iron. Ferrous metals are not very valuable when selling to a scrapyard. Non-ferrous metals are not magnetic and include aluminum, brass, copper, lead, and stainless steel. Non-ferrous metals are more valuable to recycle through a scrap metal buyer. While ferrous metals may not be very valuable, recycling them in bulk can be worthwhile. And, it's better for the environment.
How Much Work Is Involved to Replace Piping?
While a lot of your home's plumbing may be contained within the walls and flooring, there's also a lot of exposed pipes in the basement or crawlspace. Exposed pipes are easy to get to and don't require removing walls and cutting into floors. If you don't have the financial means of replacing the entire plumbing system in your home due to the costs involved of replacing walls and floors, at least take care of the exposed plumbing.
Your plumber may be able to replace the pipes that are inside your walls and flooring with cross-linked polyethylene tubing. This type of piping product can be snaked through walls and floors. The current plumbing network within the walls and floors will then be bypassed and no longer in use. It's not a good idea to do this where the pipes are exposed in the basement because it may reduce the ability for plumbers to make repairs in the future due to limited available space. Plus, two networks of plumbing can be unsightly and take up head room in your basement or crawl space. Instead, haul the piping to a scrap metal buyer.
How Can the Old Plumbing Be Transported?
As it's removed from the home, the plumbing can be placed into a roll off dumpster or a recycling container. Rent a roll off dumpster or contact your local scrap metal buyer to see if they provide this service. Since some types of metal can get heavy when heaped into a pile, it's a good idea to place the dumpster or container onto a hard surface, such as your driveway or onto concrete blocks. Avoid placing the container directly onto the ground as the weight can cause the container to sink into the ground, which could make it difficult for the container to be removed without damaging the grass and soil.
For more information about what kinds of metal piping from your home's old plumbing can be recycled, check out scrap metal buyers' sites like http://www.bigdaddyscrap.com.