Do I Need To Replace Galvanized Plumbing?
The short answer is that all galvanized pipes used in residential fresh water plumbing requires replacement. We have an article covering how long galvanized pipes last: any remaining galvanized plumbing is now past its service life.
Galvanized steel pipes were commonly used from the early 1920's through to the 1960's. That means any remaining original galvanized plumbing is at least 60-70 years old, and likely has very significant internal rusting and corrosion.
Common galvanized plumbing problems include:
- Rusty and discolored water: as rust and scale in the piping flakes off, you can often get rusty colored water (or rusty tasting water) at your water outlets.
- Low or unequal water pressure: the internal rust and scale will build up and can significantly restrict water flow. The restricted flow will be most noticeable on hot water outlets, and outlets furthest from the supply.
- Water leaks: corrosion can become serious enough, that pipes and connections start to fail. Sometimes these leaks can be slow, and go undetected for long periods, resulting in build up of mold in wall cavities (requiring expensive and disruptive mold remediation when discovered).
Aside from the physical problems associated with galvanized plumbing, we are increasingly hearing about situations where insurance companies are mandating galvanized replacement in order to maintain coverage (or are increasing premiums significantly because of the galvanized plumbing). And of course - there is galvanized plumbing's impact on a home's value: which brings us back to the theme of this article (buying a home with galvanized water pipes).
Are Home Sellers Required To Disclose Galvanized Plumbing?
Home sale disclosure laws vary by state and locality, and disclosure of the presence of galvanized plumbing would likely be required in most areas. NOLO (provider of DIY law advice and support) provides a useful list of seller disclosure requirements by state.
Even if galvanized disclosure isn't explicitly mandated in a particular area, any prudent seller would be wise to disclose its presence as early in the sales cycle as possible.
We are very frequently called in to provide quotes (and perform urgent last-minute repipes) on situations where disclosure did not occur, and a home sale is being held up in the final stages of escrow when the buyer's home inspector discovered the old pipes. Note: there is a 100% likelihood of any home inspector flagging galvanized plumbing as an issue with an inspected home.
Should I Buy A House With Galvanized Plumbing?
If you are considering purchasing a home with galvanized plumbing, it should definitely factor in to your offer. However, you should not automatically pass on the house.
Completely replacing the galvanized plumbing may be an easier, and less costly process than you might have imagined. Here at Repipe Specialists, our repipes are typically completed in as little as one day (returning on a second day for wall patching). We can handle everything, including permits and inspections.
Complete home repipe costs range from $4,500 to $15,000 depending on the size and complexity of the project. We frequently provide free quotes to both buyers and sellers, as part of a home sale negotiation. As a buyer, with a Repipe Specialists quote in hand, you can confidently negotiate a concession from the seller - or insist that the seller repipe prior to sale (because the repipe only takes 1-2 days, it can often easily be completed without delaying closing dates).
Receive A Free Galvanized Plumbing Replacement Quote
Here at Repipe Specialists, we've fully replaced galvanized plumbing in thousands of homes across the USA with modern PEX tubing or copper pipe. We continually get positive customer feedback from customers about their whole 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. Our quotes typically range from $4,500 to $15,000 depending on the size and complexity of your project.
Schedule a free in-home consult, and a local estimator will explain all your repipe options and provide you with a written, fixed price quote. Replace galvanized pipes before purchasing a home to ensure the longevity of your new home's plumbing.