Plumbing Pipes – Reserves

Replacement of supply pipes and drain lines are the most often overlooked components to be included in reserve studies because the useful life of most pipes exceeds 30 years. It is clearly the best policy to make certain that the replacement of these components is included in all reserve studies completed for our client associations. Always keep in mind that supply pipes are under constant pressure and therefore likely to cause significant water damage when they leak.

Average Expected Lifespans


Supply PipesCopper
35-50 years
Galvanized Steel20-45 years
Drain PipesCast Iron 50-70 years
PVC70-90 years

Average expected Iifespans are affected by the following factors:

  • The quality of the local water,
  • Possible manufacturing defects,
  • Improper installation,
  • Abuse resulting in premature corrosion, and
  • Proximity to the ocean (Salt air).

When it becomes apparent that the pipes in a building are starting to leak, it is almost always cost effective to begin the re-piping process because the cost associated with leaks can far exceed the cost of re-piping.

When re-piping a building, great care must be taken to check for asbestos, lead paint and mold.

Pacific Reserve Studies