What Are Galvanized Pipes?
Galvanized piped are steel pipes coated with zinc to prevent erosion. Galvanized piping was used for indoor plumbing in homes constructed prior to 1960. The general life span if galvanized piping is 40-50 years, although pipes that have constant pressure and water flow, such as to sinks and showers, erode more quickly. To determine if your piped are galvanized steel, place a strong magnet against the pipe. If it sticks, you likely have galvanized pipes, as magnets do not stick to other piping materials such as copper, plastic or PEX pipes. You can also scratch a pipe joint with a penny. If the color revealed is bronze, you have copper pipes. However, if the color revealed is a grayish color, you should assume you have galvanized pipes.
What Are the Risks of Having Galvanized Pipes in My Home?
The risks are plentiful when it comes to aged galvanized piped. Just as any other metal in constant contact with water, erosion occurs. When erosion begins to occur, your piping is no longer safe. You may experience low water pressure, uneven distribution of water, and leaks due to the buildup of calcium and other metals found naturally in your water source. Furthermore, when galvanized piping begins to erode, meaning the zinc coating wears away, and corrosion occurs, meaning the metal of the pipes starts to break down, the lead of your pipes will begin to be present in your water. Studies have indicated that consuming water with even a miniscule amount of lead over a period of time could pose serious health risks, including cancer and lung diseases. You may also begin to notice your water has an orange tint to it, indicating that your water has been contaminated with the rust.
So..What Do I Replace My Galvanized Pipes With?
Currently, indoor plumbing is generally constructed using PVC-CPVAC or PEX piping. These types of pipes are made of plastic materials. This prevents in the erosion and corrosion of metals over a period of time. PEX Pipes do not develop pinholes and are flexible, making them easier to install than metal or PVC Pipes. PVC Pipes do have advantages, however, such as being flame resistant and chemical resistant. Both PEX and PVC-CPVC pipe options are resistant to scale and chlorine, conserve energy compared to metal pipe options, and are quieter than metal piping.
Faulstick Is Here to Help!
If you are unsure if you have galvanized piping, or need assistance with upgrading your current plumbing pipes to a safer, more energy efficient material, give the professionals at Faulstick a call at 570-992-0447 or visit the contact section of our website to schedule an appointment.