Galvanized steel pipes once used to transport our water supply to our homes have a life expectancy of 40 to 60 years. During the early 1960s and before, galvanized steel pipes were the pipe of choice for home builders and plumbers. However, they were progressively phased out and replaced with copper for new construction. By the early to mid-1970s, builders and contractors had no longer utilized it. As a result, any steel galvanized pipes still in use today are nearing the end of any useful life.
Corrosion is the cause that reduces its useful life because the pipe rusts from the inside out. Eventually, loose bits of rust collect around the faucets, reducing the water flow over the years. This is often the plumbing version of a clogged artery.
What Are The Signs My Pipes Need Replacing?
If you’re living in an older home with galvanized steel pipes that are over 50 years old, various indicators tell us the pipes are ready to replace. Below are some of the signs your steel pipes need replacing:
Galvanized Steel Pipes Have A 40 to 60-Year Life Expectancy
Age is the number one factor your pipes will need replacing. Any steel pipes that are well beyond their life span should get replaced. Any home with galvanized steel pipes means its pipes are over 50 years old. Unfortunately, a homeowner is rolling the dice that their pipes will not start leaking, and if they do, the damage could be more than expected.
Rust Blocks Good Water Flow Causing Low Water Pressure
Another sign is when rust particles accumulate behind your faucets over the years. The rust blocks good water flow causing low pressure, particularly at the sink and tub spouts, most notably when you initially turn on your water.
Check Disparities In Your Bathroom Faucets
Pressure disparities between fixtures are another problem. For example, you may discover that your bathroom sink has good water flow; however, the bathtub water flow is coming out slowly. Alternatively, as the bathtub is filled, the outflow at your bathroom sink lowers to a trickle.
Discolored Water When You Turn on The Water
Water rust discoloration can be noticed when you initially turn on a faucet, especially when the water has not been turned on in several days. Occasionally, you may even discover rust flakes when filling a glass of water.
Pipe leaks that occur in galvanized steel pipes are a condition known as “galvanic corrosion,” this happens when there is copper in the system. It usually takes place anytime copper could get in the system, for instance, from a nearby water heater. Once it gets started, it will ultimately start leaking. The powdery crust on your water heater’s piping connections is galvanic corrosion, a type of electrochemical breakdown that occurs when two different metals come into touch with each other. It must also come in contact with an electrically conductive liquid, such as water, that causes the rust. Start looking for signs of rust around shut-off valves, under sinks, behind your toilets, and on the top of your water heater, particularly at the wall entry.
Copper And Galvanized Pipes
Therefore, even if you have seen galvanized steel pipes coming from the wall behind your plumbing fixtures, it may surprise you that some homes were fitted with copper pipes and galvanized nipples. This is because a galvanized nipple was used within the water supply pipe at the final point of entry, it’s a small segment of pipe that enters the wall for the connection of a plumbing fixture’s shut-off valve, and both ends have male threads.
Check Your Plumbing Contractor For A Home Repipe
If you see any of the following symptoms, contact your local plumbing contractor to determine how essential it is to replace your pipes. There are other pipe replacement options, but the most common nowadays are CPVC, Copper, and PEX.
CPVC, Copper, And PEX Are All An Option
Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride is a thermoplastic formed by chlorinating polyvinyl chloride resin (CPVC). CPVC is far more flexible than PVC and can handle greater temperatures. Hot and cold water distribution pipelines, as well as industrial liquid handling, are examples of applications.
If you’re like most individuals who aren’t familiar with plumbing lingo, you’ve undoubtedly wondered what PEX stands for. PEX stands for Cross-Linked Polyethylene and is a residential plumbing pipe option along with copper, PVC, and CPVC. However, PEX is the go-to piping for most plumbing contractors.