What’s the Lifespan of My Home’s Plumbing?

San Rafael

(415) 942-6565

Santa Rosa

(707) 452-3464

Your plumbing system plays an important role in maintaining the livability of your home. It consists of a network of pipes and valves, tanks, and plumbing fixtures that work together to remove wastewater from your home and bring fresh water in.

Every plumbing component has a limited lifespan. How long a particular plumbing component will last primarily depends on the material used. Plumbing components made from cast iron, galvanized steel and brass can last as long as 80-100 years, whereas PVC pipes typically last only 24-45 years.

Every homeowner must know the average lifespan of common plumbing components. Here’s an idea of how long the different components of your plumbing system should last.


The lifespan of your pipes primarily depends on two things – the materials used and the nature of the water passing through them (hard water vs. soft water). The lifespan of copper pipes can vary greatly depending on the type of copper used.

To cut costs, many builders install M-type copper pipes. These ultra-thin pipes are highly susceptible to corrosion and can develop leaks in as little as 20 years. L-type copper pipes are thicker and more durable than their M-type counterparts and can last up to 100 years.

Brass, iron, and steel pipes typically have a lifespan of 50-70 years. Known for their flexibility, PEX pipes usually last more than 50 years. Cast iron pipes last around 75-100 years.

Your pipes play an important role in maintaining sanitary and hygienic conditions in your home. Have a plumbing company near you in Petaluma inspect and maintain your pipes at least once every year.

  • Signs your pipes are going out:
  • Cracks and leaks
  • Tubing discoloration, flaking, stains, or other signs of corrosion
  • Poor water quality and low water pressure
  • High water bill


A toilet can last up to 50 years or more with proper maintenance. A toilet does not typically need to be replaced unless a large crack forms in the tank or bowl or an irreversible flushing problem persists even after you have tried everything.

A toilet has several moving parts. These parts can fail during its lifespan. Replacing them in a timely manner will maintain the toilet’s performance. Many families choose to replace their toilets due to aesthetic reasons or to reduce water use in their homes.

Signs your toilet needs to be replaced:

  • Cracks in porcelain
  • Water leaks
  • Inefficient flushing
  • It needs frequent repairs

Sewer Lines

Your home’s sewer line transports wastewater from inside your home to the sewer main line. Nowadays, sewer lines usually consist of PVC or ABS pipes. PVC pipes are more flexible than ABS pipes, while ABS pipes are the stronger of the two. These pipes can last up to 80-100 years.

If you live in an old neighborhood, your home’s sewer line may consist of a cast iron, clay or Orangeburg pipe. Cast iron pipes can last 75-100 years, whereas clay pipes have a life expectancy of 50-60 years. Orangeburg pipes do not usually last more than 50 years.

Here are some signs your sewer line is damaged:

  • Sewage backup
  • Painfully slow drains
  • A patch of lush, green grass growing near your septic tank
  • Foul smell around your property


Most homes in the country have hard water. Hard water contains several minerals that can accumulate inside faucets, increasing the risk of premature failure. Make faucet maintenance a priority. Regular maintenance will add years to the service life of your faucets.

On average, kitchen faucets last 12-15 years with proper maintenance. Bathroom sink, tub and shower faucets last 20 years or more.

Some signs that can indicate faucet problems are:

  • Weird noises
  • Rust and mineral deposit on the surface
  • A squeaky handle

Water Heaters

Your water heater is one of the most hardworking household appliances in your home. The lifespan of a water heater primarily depends on: a) the type of fuel used; b) the number of people in your home; and c) the water heater model.

  • Most tankless heaters last 20 years or more
  • Tank water heaters/traditional water heaters last up to 12 years
  • Heat pump water heaters last 10 years
  • Electric storage water heaters last 11 years

Consider replacing your water heater if:

  • It is too old
  • Water puddles around the unit
  • You hear unusual noises coming from the unit
  • It produces discolored hot water


A sink’s lifespan is dependent on the material used:

  • Porcelain: A porcelain sink can last a lifetime if refinished every 25-30 years
  • Stainless steel: Stainless steel sinks typically last 15-30 years
  • Soapstone sinks: Soapstone sinks are extremely durable and can last well over 100 years
  • Enamel steel: Enamel steel sinks are stainless steel sinks coated in enamel. Enameled steel looks like enameled cast iron but the similarity ends there. Enameled steel is much thinner than enameled cast iron. It is an affordable alternative to stainless steel and is usually used in rentals. Enamel steel sinks last 5-10 years

Here are some signs your sink needs to be replaced:

  • It becomes clogged frequently
  • Leaks
  • Unusual squeaking noises

Whether you want to set up a plumbing system in a new home from scratch or want to upgrade an existing system, John Owens Services can help. We are committed to helping our customers make their plumbing systems last longer. To learn more, call 707-452-3464.

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Serving Marin & Sonoma Counties

Good plumbing, heating, and air conditioning systems are vital in every North California home. John Owens Services, Inc. is proud to be the expert plumbing company you can count on

The John Owens Way

Our philosophy is simple, we always want to maintain equipment to give it the longest life possible. Next, we want to focus on repairing when something goes wrong. Then only as the last choice, we replace equipment when needed. That’s the John Owens Way.

San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464



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San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464