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Frequently Asked Questions About Galvanized Pipe

Updated: | Published:

Old galvanized pipe leaking under a slab foundation.
Old galvanized pipe leaking under a slab foundation.

Are you concerned about the galvanized plumbing in your home?

Galvanized plumbing was widely used in residential plumbing systems in the past, but has been phased out for more up-to-date materials for several reasons.

In this article, we will address the most frequently asked questions about galvanized plumbing, providing you with valuable insights to make informed decisions about your home's plumbing system.

What is Galvanized Plumbing?

Galvanized plumbing refers to pipes made of steel (or iron) that have been coated with a layer of zinc to prevent corrosion.

The zinc coating acts as a barrier, protecting the underlying steel from rust and extending the lifespan of the pipes. Galvanized pipes were commonly used in residential plumbing systems until the 1960s.

Galvanized pipes are recognized by their grayish-silver color and have threaded connections for easy installation. The zinc coating provides a protective barrier against the corrosive effects of water, but over time, it can wear away, exposing the underlying steel to the elements.

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How Long Does Galvanized Plumbing Last?

Galvanized plumbing typically has a lifespan of around 40 to 50 years. Factors such as water quality, maintenance, and corrosion can affect its longevity. For more detail, we have a thorough article on the key factors that affect how long galvanized plumbing lasts.

Over time, the zinc coating on galvanized pipes wears away, leading to corrosion and rust. This can result in weakened pipes, leaks, and failures. Regular maintenance and repairs can help prolong the lifespan, but eventually, repiping becomes necessary.

If your galvanized plumbing is approaching or has exceeded its expected lifespan, it is recommended to consider repiping with modern materials for a reliable and long-lasting water supply.

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What are the Signs of Galvanized Plumbing Issues?

Galvanized plumbing can develop various problems over time. Here are some signs that may indicate issues with your galvanized plumbing:

  1. Rusty or discolored water: One of the most common signs of galvanized plumbing issues is the presence of rusty or discolored water. As the zinc coating wears away and the steel pipes begin to corrode, rust particles can enter the water supply, causing discoloration. If you notice brown or yellowish water coming from your faucets, it may indicate a problem with your galvanized pipes.

  2. Low water pressure: Accumulated rust and mineral deposits within galvanized pipes can restrict the flow of water, resulting in reduced water pressure. If you experience consistently low water pressure throughout your home, it may be a sign that your galvanized pipes are deteriorating. For more information about low water pressure, check out our ultimate guide to increasing water pressure.

  3. Frequent leaks: Galvanized pipes are prone to corrosion, which can lead to pinhole leaks or more significant pipe failures. If you notice recurring leaks in your plumbing system, especially around the joints or areas where the pipes are visibly corroded, it is a strong indication that your galvanized pipes may need to be replaced.

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Why is Galvanized Plumbing Problematic?

Galvanized plumbing can present several problems as it ages. Here are some of the primary issues associated with galvanized plumbing:

  1. Corrosion: Over time, the zinc coating on galvanized pipes can wear away, leaving the underlying steel exposed to water and causing the steel pipe to corrode. This corrosion leads to pipe deterioration and increases the risk of leaks.
  2. Reduced water quality: As galvanized pipes corrode, rust and other contaminants can enter the water supply. This affects the quality and safety of your drinking water and can also lead to clogged faucets, showerheads, and other fixtures.
  3. Decreased water pressure: The buildup of rust and mineral deposits within galvanized pipes can restrict the flow of water, resulting in reduced water pressure throughout your home.
  4. Frequent leaks and pipe failures: Galvanized pipes are prone to developing leaks, especially in areas where the corrosion is most severe. These leaks can cause water damage to your property and require costly repairs.

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Should I Repipe my House if it has Galvanized Plumbing?

If your home has galvanized plumbing, it is strongly recommended to consider repiping. The issues associated with galvanized pipes, such as corrosion, reduced water quality, and frequent leaks, can lead to significant damage to your home.

Repiping your home with modern materials, such as copper piping or PEX tubing, will provide you with a reliable and efficient plumbing system. It will eliminate the risks associated with galvanized plumbing and ensure the long-term integrity of your water supply.

Galvanized pipe full of rust
Galvanized pipe full of rust

Here at Repipe Specialists, we have extensive experience in repiping homes with galvanized plumbing. Our expert team will assess your specific needs, provide you with customized solutions, and deliver high-quality repiping services that meet your requirements and budget.

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What are the Alternative Options to Galvanized Plumbing?

When repiping galvanized plumbing, we recommend using materials such as copper piping or PEX tubing. Both options offer differing advantages, addressing the limitations of galvanized pipes.

  1. Copper piping: Copper has long been a trusted material for plumbing systems. It is known for its durability and longevity. Copper pipes have a proven track record and can last for decades with proper installation and maintenance. We have a thorough article detailing the advantages of copper piping.

  2. PEX tubing: PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) tubing has gained popularity in recent years due to its flexibility, ease of installation, and resistance to corrosion. PEX is a flexible plastic tubing that can be bent and routed through tight spaces, making it ideal for repiping projects. PEX tubing is known for its durability and is less prone to cracking or bursting compared to rigid materials. It is a cost-effective option for homeowners looking for a reliable repiping solution.

The choice between copper piping and PEX tubing will depend on your specific needs, budget, and preferences. Our experienced team will evaluate your plumbing system and provide you with the best recommendations for your galvanized plumbing repipe.

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How Much Does it Cost to Repipe a House with Galvanized Plumbing?

In general, our repipes fall somewhere between $4,500 for a two-bedroom, one-bath house, and up to $15,000 for a much larger, more complicated job.

We have a detailed article about how much it costs to replace your home's plumbing.

We solely focus on whole-home repiping. Our dedicated repipe crews work in teams, allowing us to complete the job within one to two days. This reduces labor costs and ensures a swift replacement of your plumbing system.

While repiping is an investment, it offers long-term benefits in terms of improved water quality, reduced maintenance costs, and increased home value. By eliminating the risks associated with aging galvanized plumbing, you can have peace of mind knowing that your new plumbing system will be reliable and efficient.

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Get a Quote for Repiping Your Galvanized Plumbing

Here at Repipe Specialists, we've fully replaced the plumbing in over 75,000 homes since 1991 using both copper piping and PEX tubing. We continually get positive customer feedback from customers about their overall home repipe experiences. We often exceed their expectations on:

  • Speed: Our repipe crews typically complete a repipe in a day, returning on another day for wall patching.

  • Convenience: Through our One-Stop Repipe™ process, we handle everything from permits, to wall patching, to inspections.

  • Cleanliness: Our crews are trained to protect your home while working (we cover all surfaces with protective sheeting), and to clean up fully at the end of each day.

  • Peace of Mind: Repipe Specialists is a fully licensed plumber in every state we operate in, and we back all of our repipes with a lifetime warranty.

  • Financing programs: To help take the sting out of unplanned repipe expenses, we offer several financing programs.

  • Price: As a specialist that performs hundreds of repipes a week, we can deliver high-quality repipes at a lower cost vs generalist plumbers. We have an article that covers repipe cost factors in detail.

Schedule a free in-home consult, and one of our local repipe consultants will explain all your repipe options and provide you with a written, fixed-price quote. Repipe your old galvanized piping today. Our quotes typically range from $4,500 to $15,000 depending on the size and complexity of your project.

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About Repipe Specialists

Expert Repiping at an Affordable Cost

Since our founding in 1991, we've been completing residential and multi-family building repipes to the highest standard.

With over 75,000 repipes completed, we've perfected our One Stop Repipe™ process: providing you with a high quality and convenient repipe experience while offering significant savings compared to traditional plumbers - plus, our work is guaranteed for life.

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