Most home-builders operating before the 1960s installed galvanized iron pipes for the household plumbing system. Despite their name, galvanized pipes aren’t actually made of iron; they’re steel pipes that are covered inside and out by a protective layer of zinc. Over time the zinc can erode from the walls of the pipes themselves and build up in your plumbing system. Not only can this corrosion cause issues for your home’s structure, but also for the health of anyone in your household.
In addition to the zinc buildup issues frequently associated with galvanized pipes, older plumbing systems can become clogged over time with a variety of mineral deposits. Sediment and even small pebbles within your water can accumulate over decades, creating a clog that decreases water pressure in multiple areas of your home. Acidic water can also completely deteriorate older pipes and result in costly leaks that risk damaging your home’s infrastructure.
Rust also builds up in older plumbing systems. While small amounts pose almost no health risk, you may notice that your water isn’t as soft as it used to be. Clothes can feel stiff, even after washing, and your dishwasher might leave behind a residue on plates or cutlery. If too much rust builds up you’ll be able to taste and see it in your water, as well. While it might not be particularly bad for you, it’s certainly not pleasant!
One of the biggest concerns that comes with old pipes, especially those made of galvanized iron, is the risk of lead buildup and subsequent poisoning of your entire water system. As galvanized pipes corrode and form rust, lead that has accumulated in the zinc over the years can be released and make its way into the drinking water.
Lead is dangerous to the human body, even in small doses, and can cause a variety of health complications. The wide range of symptoms can include:
- Weight loss
- Bluish line along the gums (Burton’s line)
- Metallic taste in your mouth
- Abdominal pain
- Poor appetite
- Reduced cognitive abilities
- Reproductive problems
Children are especially susceptible to high levels of lead, which can cause permanent damage. As a result, it’s very important to replace any pipes in your home that could possibly release lead into your plumbing system.
Pipe Replacement in Seattle
For emergency plumbing or re-piping services, contact Puget Sound Plumbing and Heating today. Our family-owned and operated company is focused on providing residents of the greater Seattle area with quality service at a fair price.