• Braxton Bennett

Update that Plumbing!

If you own a Brick Rambler in Brigham City, there is a good chance it is an old home and most likely it has the original plumbing. Quick history lesson of Brigham City, during the late 1950's to 1970's Thiokol Chemical Corporation's opened it's doors creating new jobs in Box Elder County and creating population increase in Brigham about doubling homes built in its first year. This is the time frame were we see most brick ramblers that are built. With that age of the home, we see some older home issues, the one I am focusing on is (as the title states) plumbing.

I have to disclose, I am not a plumber or a contractor. I am not licensed in telling you how to fix it. I will provide at the bottom, links of were I gathered this information and have my opinion on its affect on your home value as an agent. If you need any type of plumbing work done or have questions, please direct them to a professional in this field.


Plumbing consists of two ways water travels. Water coming into the home and water leaving the home. For the rest of the article, I will refer plumbing coming in as water lines and plumbing leaving as sewer lines.

Plumbing technology has changed since installation was made on those older brick ramblers. Most likely during that time frame those water lines are made with Galvanized Steel with copper fittings. Though, that depends on the age of your home and the builder, you may have either older plumbing pipes or some of the plastic piping (polybutylene) from the 70's. Both have their issues. The polybutylene most likely would have already burst and it wasn't common until the 80's. Most Brick ramblers have galvanized steel.

Galvanized Steel pipes are durable but their life expectancy is not usually exceeding 60 years and can break long before then. The coating on the piping that protects it against corrosion has long been washed off and they can be rusting from the inside becoming very brittle. Waterline blockage or a lose in water pressure could be a sign of a rusting water line.

For sewer lines in brick ramblers the most common you will see is cast iron though there are other options. Cast iron is thick metal pipe that can look nice on the outside but its internals could be rusting away and it can be nearly impossible to tell until you have some blockage. Not to mention any ground shifts that could have disconnected pipes or effected the gravitational flow of the pipes. ( part of the pipe shifted up so that water cannot flow downward to where it needs to go.) Even plant life and its roots can cause major backups on the house.

You have an older home. Its components are not new. It is going to need maintenance and replacements. Like anything older, some of those same parts are not commonly used anymore making it expensive. Also there is a reason why builders upgraded to a different material. A safe bet is replacing those older parts with new more advanced parts to keep your house in good shape. Water is one of the most destructive forces on a home. Don't risk it on yours. Your pipes could last you for as long as you live there or they could burst tomorrow. Its going to be cheaper to change piping then fix all the destruction a burst pipe has made. So make your choice.

My personal suggestion because of my comfort level, is to price out the cost for replacing that plumbing and start saving. Changing out all the water lines can be cumbersome especially if you have a finished basement where the lines are already closed into the walls of the home. Pricing will vary greatly because of that. Get a professional to get you a quote so you know the numbers. Sewer lines can also be difficult. Sometimes it can be as easy as running a new inner sewer line through your old one( a lining that will not rust) or it can mean digging into your yard (or more) to replace it. So get an idea on pricing for your particular home and start making the necessary plans to be financially ready to replace it. (Another thing to think about, is how long you are intending on living in the home. If you are planning on moving soon, the cost may not financially make sense.)

As a Real Estate Agent my view on the effect on your home value for replacing those older materials is double sided. A lot of it plays fully on your situation. If you are planning on moving soon, that large of an expenses you wont recuperate in the sale of your home. If you are planning on staying for a while the appreciation of your property will eventually compensate for the cost of replacing.

Does it effect the value of your home? YES! but not in the way that you may think. Though it could potentially add a dollar amount to your home it isn't a set amount. So pricing a home comes from taking a here and now snapshot of the market and homes similar to yours that sold and what price they sold at. So the big question is, will that updated plumbing cause an appraiser to compare your home to other homes with updated plumbing? Most likely not.

What it will effect is the you will get more enticed buyers. I've had buyers that are turned off from a home because of the older details such at that. They want the updated material so that they feel safe about their home. I also have had buyers that aren't as weary about those details. So with updated lines you get both those sets of buyers. So you draw more of a crowd.

To be completely straightforward. In this market, it truly doesn't have a strong effect on the value of your home. Your home will sell in this market, and the general type of buyers who are looking at brick ramblers are not extremely picky about those details. So my suggestion is if you plan on living in the home for and extended period of time, to update the plumbing to keep from having major repairs in the future.


If you don't plan on living their much longer. Let me help in you pricing your home and bringing in multiple offers in! Click here if you are interested.

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