Nowadays, the plumbing issues of galvanized piping and its associated potential risks are common knowledge to homeowners.
Fortunately, innovations in plumbing have provided many alternatives. Yet, how do homeowners know when to make a change?
Here at Clovis Plumbing Services our skilled professionals advise homeowners to be watchful of the following critical plumbing issues:
Replacing Galvanized Pipes: Rust and rust spots on pipe
When it comes to pipe replacement, the first thing we get from homeowners is, "How can I tell if my plumbing makes use of galvanized pipes?"
On first installation, galvanized pipes may look similar in color to nickel.
Yet, depending on the environment, they can become duller in color – dark or light gray – over time.
If it is difficult to identify visually, we suggest you scratch the external surface of the pipe with a screwdriver.
The color will be silver gray with galvanized pipes, and they will also attract a powerful magnet.
As they get older, galvanized pipes may show obvious indications of rusting which may even cause leaks.
If during your plumbing inspection you notice rust or big lumpy growths along pipes or around joints, then you may want to change out your pipes.
Replacing Galvanized Pipes: Discolored water from faucets
Run a test by filling up a clear glass with water from all your home faucets and inspecting them.
Iron may be released from galvanized pipes, causing obvious discoloration.
You can also carry out this check by observing your porcelain sinks for any brown stains.
If there is any discoloration, you should get this issue inspected immediately.
Replacing Galvanized Pipes: Unusually low water pressure
If you notice that the water pressure from some of your taps is lower than others, then it could indicate issues with the galvanized pipes.
An irregular build-up of restrictions or corrosion in the plumbing line can result in reduced water pressures, causing repair costs in hundreds or even thousands.
Note that your home may have multiple piping types so you are advised to thoroughly inspect all water sources and pipes in your home.
Replacing Galvanized Pipes: Lead content in water supply
You may not be able to determine this simply by looking at water coming out from your faucets.
Lead can be present in your home when lead materials, including pipes, faucets and solder corrode and emit lead in the water.
All galvanized pipes installed between the years 1880 and 1960 were put in naturally occurring zinc – an impure compound which contained lead as well as other impurities.
While the lifespan of steel pipes was made longer by the zinc, the consequence was that minute amounts of lead were released which could leak into the water sources.
Also, galvanized pipes connected to lead service or plumbing lines offered an increased risk of trapped lead emitted to the flow of water – even after the lead pipes are removed.
Determining the lead content levels of your water supply
In order to determine the lead content levels of your water you will need to contact your area water supplier.
The CDC states that you should call and ask, "Does my street service pipe (header pipe) contain lead?"
You can proceed to ask for a copy of their Consumer Confidence Report.
This contains the various contaminant levels discovered during regular testing – as required by federal law.
Yearly reports from many public suppliers can be found online at the Environmental Protection Agency's website.
Alternatively, you can get a Water Quality Report for Fresno.
If the levels of lead are 15 parts per billion, immediate action should be taken to avoid the health risks.
Keep in mind that you can only ensure your plumbing is completely lead-free by replacing galvanized plumbing.
Inspect your existing plumbing to identify major problem areas
If you have discovered the above plumbing issues, the next thing to do is to thoroughly inspect your existing plumbing.
With this you can determine if all pipes require replacement or not, as well as costing for replacing galvanized pipes.
Many homeowners opt for copper pipes as a preferred alternative, but it can be very expensive to replace all pipes.
There are other alternatives, including PVC pipes (best for drains), while copper is best for the main water supply line.
You may use copper only where necessary in order to save costs.
We are aware that all of this may seem like such a huge task to carry out all by yourself.
That's why we are available to answer your questions and prepare you to solve all your plumbing issues.
Call us or send an email and we will gladly help you!
Check out our article on Whole House Repipe next!