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Galvanized Steel Pipes

Galvanized steel is steel that has been coated with a thin layer of zinc to help prevent corrosion. The zinc prevents the steel from being exposed to erosive elements.

There are several types of piping that may have been used in the plumbing of your home. The most common types of piping are:

FIND PLUMBING PROS

1. Galvanized steel piping

This type of piping was used in many homes that were built until the 1960s.

2. Plastic piping

Although more popular now than in the past, is not universally allowed; check local building codes to find out whether they can be installed in your home.

3. Copper piping

Copper piping is usually the piping of choice for water supply lines; despite its higher price tag, copper piping is reliable and long lasting.

The Extinction of Galvanized Steel Piping

Why is galvanized steel piping not used in today's homes? Simply speaking, galvanized steel corrodes over a period of time. Galvanized steel can last roughly forty years until it needs to be replaced. This piping rusts from the inside out. Over time, galvanized steel pipes might corrode to the point where the pipes are completely restricted. Corrosion also occurs to steel when it is connected directly to copper or brass.

What Kind of Pipes Does Your Home Have?

If you are concerned about what type of piping you home has, there is an easy way to check. Find where your piping enters your home and then scratch it. If your piping is:

  • Copper, the scratched area will have the look of a copper penny
  • Galvanized steel, the scratched area will be a silver-gray color
  • Plastic, which is usually black in color, you will be able to see a clamp where it is joined to the water supply piping.

Replacing Galvanized Steel Pipes

The good news is, you can tell if galvanized steel pipes are going to give you water pressure problems before they completely fail. If rust growth is spotted on the exterior of the pipes, you will probably encounter leaking problems within a year or so. The bad news is, you will probably end up having to replace your galvanized steel pipes as time goes on, which can be both expensive and disruptive.

If you have a break in one of your steel pipes, your can repair a small break using a one- or two-piece clamp. If the break is large, you will have to replace the entire galvanized steel pipe from end to end.