The type of material your plumbing pipes are made of will primarily determine how long your pipes will last. The two main kinds of plumbing pipes are drain pipes and water supply pipes. Water supply pipes are under much more pressure than drain pipes, so they can cause more damage to your home when they fail.
Water supply pipes are typically made of cross-linked polyethylene, or PEX, in modern homes, which has been tested to last over 100 years. However, older homes may have brass, copper, or galvanized steel. Brass and galvanized steel are estimated to last between 80 and 100 years, while copper can last around 70 to 80 years.
Drain pipes are usually made of PVC, which lasts for roughly 25 to 40 years. Cast-iron pipes are still installed but are more expensive and traditionally found in older homes. Cast-iron usually has a lifespan of 80 to 100 years. To know when your pipes need replacing, you should familiarize yourself with what materials your pipes are made of and how old they are. If they’re nearing the end of their lifespan, consider replacing them before they fail and cause other problems.