How Water Flow Can Be a Sign of Problems in the GALVANIZED PIPE
When piping companies introduced it almost a decade ago, a GALVANIZED PIPE was an innovation in the field of water plumbing. However, this innovation has become obsolete over time because of multiple water supply pipes' problems.
A change in water flow through the GALVANIZED PIPE is a tell-tale sign of more severe issues. Therefore, it is essential to check the water flow to avoid problems before they damage your property.
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This article will discuss some signs to find out whether your house has a Galvanized piping system. Then we will discuss the importance of checking your house's water flow regularly. But first, let's introduce GALVANIZED PIPES.
What is a GALVANIZED PIPE?
GALVANIZED PIPE belongs to the family of water supply pipes that was popular back in the 20th century. Before GALVANIZED PIPES, lead pipes were responsible for water supply and distribution. However, when some studies highlighted the health hazards of Lead in drinking water, GALVANIZED PIPES replaced Lead piping.
A GALVANIZED PIPE is essentially a steel pipe. It is constructed with raw steel. But since raw steel is highly susceptible to corrosion and rusting, dipping these pipes into molten zinc makes them corrosion resistant.
The process of dipping any metal in molten zinc to make it corrosion-proof is called galvanizing. Hence, these steel pipes get their name: Galvanized Steel Pipes.
Does Your House Have Galvanized Piping?
Identifying whether your house has a GALVANIZED PIPE could help you nip the issues in the bud and mitigate them before they arise. Or take precautions to lessen their blow. Following are a few signs that you can look out for to check whether your house has a galvanized piping.
Color of the Pipe
The color of your pipe could be the most straightforward indicator of a GALVANIZED PIPE, but only if your piping system is visible above the ground.
A GALVANIZED PIPE is gray and looks like nickel, while copper is red or orangish-brown in appearance. So, head down to your basement and check the pipe next to the main supply valve whether the pipe's color is steel-gray or red.
However, a GALVANIZED PIPE can change color over time due to environmental conditions and appear darker and duller. To be sure that your piping system is indeed Galvanic, you can take a screwdriver and scratch the pipe's surface lightly. Scratching the pipe will expose its real color. So you can see if it is Galvanic steel or copper.
The magnetism of the Pipe
Checking out the pipe color will help you figure out whether the piping is copper or Galvanic steel. However, it will still leave you identifying whether it is a lead pipe or a Galvanize pipe because both these pipes are almost similar in color.
To combat this issue and differentiate between Galvanized steel and Lead, you will need to bring out the big guns, and the big gun, in this case, would be a strong magnet.
GALVANIZED PIPE is made of steel, which is an alloy of iron. Therefore, by nature, a GALVANIZED PIPE will attract a strong magnet. So, take a strong magnet and bring it closer to the pipe. If it attracts, you've got a GALVANIZED PIPE and a problem. However, if it repels, you've got a lead pipe and an even bigger problem.
Fitting of the Pipe
Another way you can identify your piping system is by checking out the fitting of the pipe.
You'll have to run to the basement for this one, too (sorry, couch potatoes) and inspect the pipe from where it enters your house. It would most likely be a GALVANIZED PIPE if it is thicker and has a threaded fitting.
Now, if the piping in your house is buried into the ground and you have to figure out what pipe it is, you've got two options. You can either dig up the street and do the color test. Or, you could check the flow of water in your faucets.
If, after you turn on the faucet, the water comes out in a burst for a fraction of a second, and then its pressure drops, you have probably have a GALVANIZED PIPE. And that too a failing one.
Another way to spot Galvanic piping is to see if your house's higher water fixtures experience low or no water flow. If they do, you probably have a rusty galvanic pipe.
Why Should You Check Water Supply from GALVANIZED PIPE?
Galvanic pipes have a life span of around 40 years. Given that they are in use latest since the 1960s, most of these pipes are nearing the end of their lives. So, it is common for GALVANIZED PIPES to develop problems that can lead to detrimental consequences.
The zinc coating of a GALVANIZED PIPE erodes over time due to contaminants present in water. Corrosion of zinc exposes raw steel to water and air. And the reaction of iron with air in the presence of moisture leads to the formation of iron oxide or rust. A rusty pipe can be the source of several issues.
Therefore, it is a good idea to keep an eye on the GALVANIZED PIPE'S water flow because a drop in water flow indicates rust and corrosion.
Here are a few reasons why you should check the water flow from your Galvanic piping system:
Drop in Water Flow
When a GALVANIZED PIPE corrodes from inside out, it becomes susceptible to sediment and plaque buildup. Moreover, the corroded pipe wall is rough and ideal for accumulating solid particles and biofilm. All this accumulation can decrease the pipe's inside diameter, thus leaving you with a minimized water flow.
Avoid Pipe Bursts:
When rust builds up in a GALVANIZED PIPE, it weakens it and makes it more susceptible to damage. Hence, when the ambient temperature drops below the freezing point, the water in the pipe freezes and expands. This phenomenon exerts pressure on a pipe weakened by rust, and hence, the pipe bursts.
Even without water freezing inside the pipe, a GALVANIZED PIPE can still burst because the rust 'eats away' the pipe from inside out, leading to leakages and bursts.
Ensure there are no Leakages Around the Joints
Piping joints are more susceptible to being damaged by corrosion because they are areas of high fluid friction. Therefore, these joints are often the first regions to leak due to corrosion. It is essential to keep an eye on the water flow through the galvanic pipes to ensure that your piping joints don't leak.
As we have mentioned, water reacts with iron and produces rust. When left unattended, rust can begin to mix with the flowing water leading to discoloration of water. Tap water can turn reddish-brown after being mixed with rust.
Rusty water is not only aesthetically displeasing but can leave rust stains on your porcelain sink.
Therefore, check your water flow for tell-tale signs of a rusty pipe.
Lead is detrimental to human health and can accumulate in the human body leading to grave consequences. That is why EPA has zero-tolerance for Lead and does not allow even minute quantities of it to be present in drinking water.
GALVANIZED PIPES use naturally occurring zinc, which contains Lead and other contaminants. Thus, using old GALVANIZED PIPES can cause Lead to leech into the water.
Furthermore, if your galvanic pipes had a connection with lead service lines, chances are Lead has accumulated on the inside of the pipes. And now, when the pipe is corroded, it gives way to lead to get mixed with water.
Therefore, once your water flow drops, get your pipes replaced as soon as possible to keep yourself and your family safe from lead toxicity.
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GALVANIZED PIPE is not used in contemporary houses anymore, and you can only find them in homes built between the 1930s and 1960s. These pipes were an excellent replacement for lead pipes. But now, at the end of their age, their protective zinc layer has corroded. Thus, they are leading to plumbing issues.
Once the zinc layer corrodes, the GALVANIZED PIPE rusts, and the pipe's inside diameter shrinks due to build up. This shrinkage of diameter leads to a drop in water flow. Therefore, it is important to check water flow if you have GALVANIZED PIPES because a low water flow is an obvious sign of more severe problems.
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