The Dangers of Old Pipes

Homes built decades ago were held to different standards than buildings and residences constructed today. Houses built during the 1960s and earlier were often equipped with galvanized sewer/water pipe systems. These steel pipes were coated in a layer of zinc to extend their effective lifespan. While this seemed like a good idea at the time, builders and health professionals today now know that galvanized piping can cause a number of problems for homes and homeowners alike.

Lowered Water Pressure

Naturally occurring zinc, the variety used in the construction of galvanized pipes, contains a number of impurities such as lead and iron. Over decades of usage, the water that passes through a home pipe system can slowly corrode the walls of galvanized piping. Small deposits of iron and other minerals separate from the zinc interior and build up in the water itself. Iron can even begin to rust within the pipes.

As the metal sediment and rust begin to accumulate, they eventually settle. The deposits build along the pipe walls until they restrict the entire water line, resulting in reduced water pressure for your household. Left unchecked, the rust and minerals could completely block your pipeline and cause a water main rupture.

Water Hardness

The same sediment buildup that causes a decrease in water pressure makes its way into the water you use throughout your home. Rust in the water you shower and drink with can cause a red discoloration or leave brown stains in sinks. Clothes washed in water high in iron or rust often feel stiff, and your dishwasher might leave behind a residue on plates or cutlery.

Health Effects

The lead that is released from galvanized pipes can pose significant health concerns when it makes its way into a household’s drinking water. Ingesting too much lead can result in lead poisoning, which causes a wide range of symptoms and complications including:

Fatigue - Headaches - Insomnia - Constipation - Nausea - Abdominal pain - Reduced cognitive abilities - Reproductive problems

High doses of lead are particularly dangerous to children. Lead poisoning can hinder brain development and lead to life-long cognitive side effects. Parents that suspect their child has lead poisoning should seek medical attention.


If you are concerned about your pipes, give us a call for a free consultation.


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