Plumbers have used all sorts of pipe over the years. Clay, tarpaper, wrought iron, galvanized steel, and other materials have their strengths and weaknesses. If you have a home that was built in the 1960s, you likely have galvanized steel. While the galvanization process will make the steel resilient to corrosion, it will not make it impervious. The older the pipes are, the more likely it is that you have issues with your pipes. If you want to know if you have problems, there are a couple of things to look for.
Signs of Corrosion Damage
When steel is galvanized, zinc is bonded to the steel. Zinc is less susceptible to corrosion, so it will prevent the steel pipes from corroding until the zinc gets scraped or leached away. The steel will then begin to corrode and flakes of rust can create hard water as well as begin to clog the pipes. Corrosion creates two threats:
1. Water can corrode completely through pipes, which will create leaks. If you want to know if you have a leak, turn off the water in your house and then look at the meter out by the road. If the meter still moves, you have a leak.
2. Corrosion inside the pipe will decrease the diameter of the pipe. Corrosion is more prevalent in hot water pipes, so you should check your hot water first. If you have lower pressure than you should, then the galvanized steel pipes have corroded to the point that they need replacement.
What to Do about Damaged Pipes
It is not likely that all of the pipes in your home will fail at the same time. Some plumbers will only replace badly damaged pipes. If this is the case, the remaining galvanized steel pipes are just time bombs waiting to go off. If the plumber replaces the pipes with more galvanized steel, then they just start the corrosion process all over again. To make your home safe from the risks of corrosion, you need to replace your steel pipes with PVC or PEX that won't corrode.
Older homes can have character that you simply can't find in newer homes. While it can be nice to own a slice of history, you need to know your risks. Old plumbing can leave you with hard water, leaks, and low pressure. If you have old plumbing, you'll want to have a plumber, such as Ziegler Plumbing & Sewer, INC., on hand to help with any plumbing issues.Share