If you live in an older home and you’ve experienced burst pipes or low water pressure, there’s a good chance you can blame galvanized pipes. Galvanized pipes were standard in homes that were built a long time ago, but we’ve since discovered how problematic they can be in the decades after they are installed.

What are galvanized pipes?

Galvanized pipes are most often found in homes that were built over 50 years ago, although they can be found in some homes even younger than that. Back then, it was believed that coating metal pipes with a thin layer of zinc would help prevent corrosion. However, as it turns out, galvanized pipes develop all kinds of problems over time and are now commonly replaced with copper piping.

What are the disadvantages of galvanized pipes?

  • Internal rusting. Although the zinc barrier in galvanized pipes does prevent rusting for a certain amount of time, it eventually wears out. When this happens, your pipes begin to corrode from the inside out, which can eventually lead to a leak or a burst pipe.
  • Unstable joints. The threaded joints that connect galvanized pipes are often unstable and prone to leaks and rusting. Often the threaded joints wear at the zinc coating of the pipes, which can quickly expose the metal underneath and cause corrosion.
  • Water contamination. When galvanized pipes begin to corrode, the corrosion materials and lead from exposed metal can seep into your water supply. This compromises the quality of your home’s water and can even change its color.
  • Mineral buildup. The zinc coating in galvanized pipes reacts with the minerals in your water supply. When this happens, those minerals begin to form a plaque that coats the inside of your pipes. Over time, that plaque begins to restrict your home’s water flow.
  • No insurance. Because of the problems associated with galvanized pipes, many insurance agencies will refuse to cover homes that have them installed.

What can you do if your home has galvanized pipes?

Cabrillo can replace your home’s galvanized pipes with new copper pipes. Copper pipes are built to last longer and are designed to prevent water contamination and mineral buildup. Because copper repiping is complicated and requires a highly-skilled plumber, it’s best to leave the job to us instead of taking it on as a do-it-yourself project.

If you have any questions about galvanized pipes, or if you’d like a plumbing system serviced or installed in your home, contact Cabrillo, your Bay Area plumbing, heating and cooling company.