At some point, the pipes in your home will need to be completely replaced, but it isn't always clear when that becomes necessary. By looking at the age of your pipes and what they're made of, as well as looking out for signs of widespread trouble, you can get a better idea of how much time your pipes have left. A plumber can also investigate any plumbing issues and tell you if you need a full replacement or if repairs will do for the time being.
Take Age Into Account
The age of the pipes in your home can be a good indicator of how urgently you need to start re-piping your house. Different materials have different life spans, so depending on what your pipes are made of, you could be looking at a varied life span. Even different types of the same material can have different life spans. Your home may instead use cast iron, steel, or PVC. If you don't know what kind of pipes you have, you can sometimes get a general idea by looking underneath fixtures like sinks, or by looking at visible plumbing in your garage or basement. If you think your pipes still have several years left in them, you can often safely focus on fixing individual issues as they pop up rather than having to re-pipe your entire house. If these problems become more widespread, however, it may be time for a complete replacement.
Check For Signs of Trouble
Apart from major issues like leaks, you might also notice some other signs that your pipes are failing. If you hear high-pitched shrieking or whining sounds while the water runs, for example, they may be clogged with sediment on the inside, which increases the water pressure within. You may also notice discoloration in your water, which can happen when your pipes start to corrode and rust starts coming through your faucets. These problems can happen for a variety of reasons, so it's worth doing a little troubleshooting first. For example, if you only notice discoloration when you run hot water, there may instead be an issue with your water heater. Isolated leaks may also simply be the result of a failing fixture and not a widespread piping problem. If they are more widespread, however, look into getting an inspection to have your pipes checked before anything goes wrong.
Get a Thorough Inspection
A thorough inspection is the best way to have your pipes checked if you suspect they may be failing. It also helps in the event that the problem can be solved via repairs; for example, if the sediment in your pipes can be removed, that can save you from having to replace them for a while, which in turn can save you money. This step isn't always immediately necessary unless the signs of pipe failure are obvious, but it can also be a great way to verify what the problem is before you start budgeting for a solution.