Many older homes used galvanized pipe for water supply lines. Galvanized pipe is steel that has been coated with a thin layer of zinc to help prevent corrosion. This type of pipe was used in residential construction into the 1960s and has an estimated useful life of 40-50 years. The problem with galvanized pipe is it corrodes from the inside. As the corrosion and other minerals build up in the pipe the water flow is restricted. This causes low pressure or loss of pressure when using multiple fixtures. Eventually the restriction will cause total loss of flow.
In addition to loss of flow, the corrosion can cause pipe failure. Most commonly this happens at the threaded ends of the pipe where it enters a fitting. It may be hard to notice at first, maybe just a little moisture. As the condition worsens it may begin to drip or there may be a total failure. If any of these conditions are noted in your home it is best to have it checked out and repaired before there is a total failure.
Replacement with copper (or other materials where allowed) is the recommended fix for aging galvanized water lines. This can be accomplished by repairing only the damaged areas or with a total retrofit. The actual replacement of the pipes is not a difficult procedure, but gaining access and repairing those areas can be challenging.
If your home does not have galvanized water lines, you may have to do a little investigating to determine the cause. Make sure all water supply valves are in the full open position. If there has been an interruption of service or if the fire hydrants have been recently tested it is possible there is some sediment in the lines and fixtures.
If you have low water pressure in your home and are not able to determine the cause it is a great time to schedule a Maintenance Inspection. Call today if you have any questions.
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