should i buy a house with galvanized plumbing

Should I Buy a House with Galvanized Plumbing? ( Pros & Cons)

Buying a house is the instance where one’s dreams become a reality. Therefore, the prior examination is something you need to do better than anything else. There are many things to consider, mainly the location and the accessibility, security, condition, and the budget needed for renovation are some facts you need to spend nights. The utility lines are another significant consideration if you want a smooth and trouble-free lifestyle in your dream home. Should I buy a house with galvanized plumbing? If you are stocked-still on this question, this informative article will surely help you.

Is Galvanized Steel Good for Plumbing?

When the steel pipes are covered with a coating of Zinc, they are called galvanized pipes. The main intention of this layer is to protect the pipeline from rusting and corrosion. This structure was used widely in the plumbing of buildings and houses built before 1960. Galvanized steel has been used for outdoor structures like fences, handrails, and scaffolding. 

To check whether your housing contains galvanized plumbing, you can scratch the surface of the lines. Use a screwdriver for this. If the scratch exposes a silver-gray color, the waterlines in your house are made from galvanized steel. You can confirm this by using a magnet. Galvanized steel will attach to the magnet.  

Galvanized pipes are prone to rust and corrosion for only about 40 or 50 years, generally. After exceeding that time phase, the pipelines will start corroding and rusting. Therefore, the older pipes do not present the safety lines as when it was installed brand new. Galvanized steel was a better alternative for the troublesome lead pipes in the era. But it also presents some percentage of risk if the installation is not done completely.

pros and cons of galvanized plumbing

Pros and Cons of Galvanized Plumbing

Galvanized pipes were the replacements for lead pipes. Lead was discovered to be a hazardous medium to carry water as there is a risk of mixing lead particles with water via chemical reactions. Lead is considered an element with no safe margins for human consumption as per the guidelines of the World Health Organization.

If the lead particles enter the human body, it may result in neurological issues. Children exposed to lead intake have a risk of decreasing brain development. Galvanized pipes were invented to overcome this lead issue. As expected, the galvanized coating acted as a protective layer and prevented the pipelines from rusting and corrosion. 

Although galvanized plumbing does not contain lead as an ingredient, the Zinc coating used for the process may have been contaminated with lead particles, as the used Zinc was impure. If such lead particles are attached to the interior walls of the pipelines, there is a risk of mixing those lead particles with water over time. In addition, the houses were sometimes replaced by galvanized plumbing, but the main service lines were lead pipes. Literally, there is a possibility of mixing lead into the drinking water of the houses as the water flows through the lead lines first. 

Although the lead service lines lately were replaced completely, there is a risk of presenting lead particles in previously-installed galvanized pipelines. This happens when the lead particles are contaminated with rust and deposited in the inner walls of the galvanized water lines. 

A main issue in galvanized water lines is the low water pressure in the taps and showers. Sometimes you will experience pressure differences in various places of the house. When the rust deposits occur, the diameter of the pipelines decreases and you will receive a low-pressure stream.

The rust deposited in the galvanized water lines will make the water appear brownish, and your sinks will eventually gain stains of rust.

What Is the Life Expectancy of Galvanized Pipe? 

Galvanized pipes were introduced due to the failure of lead pipes. Lead pipes presented a higher risk of dissolving lead with the water supplied through those. Lead is a harmful element that must be thoroughly kept away from human consumption. Galvanized pipes with a protective cover made of Zinc have overcome the threat of lead.

Thus, these pipes have 60 to 70 years of lifetime. But the exact time will depend on the quality of the materials used in the installation. The low-quality made-ups will only last about 40 years. If the zinc coating and the steel are of premium quality, there is a chance of preserving the galvanized condition for nearly 100 years. 

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Galvanized Pipe

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Galvanized Pipe?

Galvanized pipes were an innovative replacement at the time to prevent lead contamination with water and to prevent the utility lines from rusting and corrosion. The overall lifespan of a galvanized plumbing system is in between 60 years – 70 years. After the average lifetime, the pipes will start rusting and eventually corrode. 

Homeowners’ insurance does not cover these kinds of instances that happen due to poor maintenance and not obeying the common regulations. Galvanized plumbing is a well-known failure after years, and therefore it is not considered and approved as a safer way of plumbing at present. So, if your house contains a galvanized plumbing system and you have not replaced it either, after the purchase, your insurance policies will not cover any kind of damages or leaks that happens. 

Home insurance for galvanized pipes: Check out this video!

Video credits: Best Homeowners Insurance

Should I Buy a House with Galvanized Plumbing?

The utility supply lines are a major factor to consider when you buy a house. If the plumbing does not satisfy the prevailing rules and the systems, you will have to renovate the pipelines. 

Galvanized pipes are steel pipes coated with a layer of Zinc. This Zinc was not purified; therefore, there is a potential risk of presenting some amount of lead even in the galvanized lines. Lead can create harmful effects if it accidentally and unknowingly enters our bodies. Therefore, using galvanized plumbing in modern houses is strictly a must-avoid.

There is another instance where the galvanized plumbing presents lead residuals of previous lead pipelines deposited with rust. When we use this kind of line, we are exposed to lead intake via water as the rust dissolves in the flowing water. To check whether there is lead mixed with the water supply, you can take a sample of water from a tap to an approved laboratory. Here, you have to follow the instruction that you will receive from the lab when collecting the sample. 

The galvanized plumbing is a better option than the lead ones. But the average life span of those is nearly 65 years. Afterward, the pipelines tend to rust and will start to corrode. This will minimize the amount of water flowing in a unit of time and make your faucets operate with less water pressure. Have you ever dreamed of an hourly bath because of low-pressure showers when buying a new house? Of course, we all admit that it is a nightmare. This is another reason you must replace the old plumbing made of galvanized pipes. 

When the rust deposits continue, the water lines will burst, and you will experience water leakage in many places of the house. Buying a house with galvanized plumbing definitely adds extra expense in reinstallation. 

With these reasons explained, we suggest that it would be better to avoid purchasing a house with galvanized water lines if your budget does not tally with the reinstallation costs. 

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