If you’ve got an older home, you probably find yourself needing to do a lot of renovations these days. It’s just one of the side effects that comes along with these houses. One of the items that you probably will want to check on during these renovations is your plumbing. Older model homes are more likely to have older model pipes throughout or in bits and pieces, many of which are what is called “galvanized.” These galvanized pipes can cause a host of issues, which we will go over to give you solid reasoning for replacing your galvanized pipes.
What are “galvanized” pipes?
This type of plumbing pipe is commonly found in homes that are 40 years or older. They are made up of steel and are dip-coated in zinc, which is meant to help prevent corrosion and rust. Now, these were designed as a replacement for lead pipes, which were shown to cause many health issues. While the galvanized pipes worked for a while, years and years of constant water contact will always do its damage.
Also, depending on just how old the galvanized pipes in your home are, they may contain trace amounts of lead. This could be from the original method of galvanizing with natural zinc, which was almost always impure and had traces of lead, or from the connections into your home that are made up of lead pipes that haven’t been changed out yet.
What’s the problem with galvanized pipes?
The zinc coating on galvanized pipes works well enough on the outside, as this part doesn’t have constant contact with water. However, the inside of these pipes is a different story altogether. With so much water moving through them all the time, the zinc coating wears down over the decades and the inside of the pipe rusts like crazy.
So, what does this corrosion mean for you, your family, and your home?
- Health risks: Would you lick a rusty piece of metal? Rub yourself against a rusty wall? No, of course you wouldn’t. If your galvanized pipes have gotten corroded and rusty, then that is basically what you are putting into or on your body when you use water from those pipes.
- Leaks: With corrosion comes the risks of damage to your pipes and the potential for leaks throughout them. This can lead to serious damage to your ceilings, walls, and floors if these leaks aren’t caught.
- Low water pressure: Corrosion in your galvanized pipes can create water pressure problems as it blocks off different areas of your pipes. You may notice that your water pressure has dipped slowly over time as that buildup happens.
- Uneven water distribution: Just like above, the corrosion will create uneven water distribution because it often builds up unevenly. You might start to notice that different areas in your house have different water levels or water pressure.
- Weird water color coming from the taps: Rust and corrosion in your water from your galvanized pipes will inevitably lead to reddish or brown water, which can stain your sinks and tubs. Keep an eye out for that.
How do I fix this problem before it gets worse?
If you have galvanized pipes in your home, getting those replaced should be a priority. You can contact a plumber to confirm if your pipes are galvanized, and then create a plan to remove and replace them with a more efficient type of pipes. While it may cause some pain to your wallet when it comes time to do the project, it will be far less expensive than the repercussions if you don’t. Water leaks that damage your home and require big repairs, health problems that may result in hospital bills, etc.
We hope that this article has provided some helpful information for you as a homeowner. Knowing all that you can about your plumbing is important, as it can impact your whole home and life. If you suspect that your home has galvanized pipes after seeing some of these signs, or if you know for sure that it’s there, call a plumber today and start the process of changing out those hazardous pipes! Stay healthy and stay safe, and keep your plumbing in tip-top shape.