If your home was built anytime before 1990, there’s a chance that your plumbing could be compromised. Problematic piping may seem like a minor inconvenience, but these piping materials can cause more than leaks and water damage — they can even cause health complications for children and elderly family members.
The Worst Plumbing Pipes You Could Have
Our team is breaking down some old plumbing materials that are still in use today:
Galvanized Steel Pipes
Galvanized steel is steel that has been reinforced against rust with a protective coating of zinc. While this process was great in therapy, in practice, the steel is still prone to rust after decades of wear and tear.
When the pipes do start to break down, the zinc coating protecting them from corrosion can break down and erode into your water supply. When the zinc erodes away, rust and other minerals can build up in the pipes — affecting water pressure. When the pressure gets to be too much, the pipes burst and leak.
Signs of Galvanized Piping
Homes and buildings constructed prior to the 60s have a greater chance of relying on galvanized steel pipes than other structures. To determine if you have galvanized pipes, look for signs of rust around pipe joints. Another easy-to-spot sign is continual problems with your water pressure and water quality.
Lead plumbing is number one on our list of bad plumbing materials due to its toxicity. Children are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning — in fact, the CDC cites that there is zero acceptable safe blood level for children younger than six years old. Lead poisoning can affect a child’s IQ levels and cause major health concerns.
The biggest concern with lead plumbing is that when the pipes corrode, lead enters your home’s drinking water in the same fashion as any other mineral. Ingesting lead causes lead poisoning, and the most common sources of lead in drinking water come from faucets, pipes, and plumbing fixtures.
Do I have lead pipes?
Homes and structures built before the 1970s were commonly built with lead piping, but not all older homes have this issue. A professional can help you determine if your plumbing features lead pipes. Contact Mainline Plumbing Inc. for more information on how our team can help.
Polybutylene pipes (PB) were thought to be a cheap and reliable piping material. They were widely used in homes between the 1970s and late 1990s, and some experts estimate around 10 million American homes may have been outfitted with PB pipes.
What’s the problem with such a popular plumbing material? Polybutylene pipes are susceptible to breaking down when they come into contact with chlorine — a common chemical used to treat municipal water. The piping can become so brittle that it can crack and burst, which has caused many problems, as documented in multiple class-action lawsuits such as Cox v. Shell Oil.
What homes may have polybutylene piping?
Polybutylene piping stopped being used as widely in 1996, but millions of homes could be affected. PB piping comes in many different colors — black, white, grey, blue — and won’t show obvious signs of corrosion like galvanized steel does.
Hire a professional plumber to inspect your plumbing and determine what kind of pipes you have. Replacing polybutylene pipe is essential to not only save your home from leaks and water damage but to save you money and avoid problems with your home insurance since some insurance agencies will charge more or won’t cover you at all.
Plumbing is one of the most important parts of any structure. The experts at Mainline Plumbing Inc. know how to avoid poor and problematic plumbing materials, so your home or business is set up for long-term success. Contact our team online or by phone at (209) 560-6652