We call plumbing and plumbers by those names because they once were associated with the metal, lead, or plumbum in Latin. The poisonous lead the Romans used in their marvelous pipe systems probably contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire.
Today we do not plumb with lead, but we use galvanized steel. A conscientious Phoenix homeowner should recognize signs that point to replacing a houseful of galvanized pipes.
Galvanized Steel Pipe
Steel makes a great, inexpensive material for pipes. Made from iron and carbon, it can be formed cheaply and quickly, but does not hold up well in water alone, since it rusts. To prevent rusting, the galvanized steel pipe is hot-dipped in molten zinc. Zinc provides corrosion resistance but, unfortunately, wears away. Then, the exposed steel starts to corrode and rust, while sediments build up.
The process can take years, but the pipe will effectively narrow, reducing water flow and increasing sediment build-up. The sediment may show itself as specks in your sink, or as clogs in your faucet aerators.
What to Watch For
The presence of galvanized pipe in itself is not an issue. The joints, corrosion and sediment are the issues. As the galvanized pipe wears, you may see water dripping at pipe joints, white powdery deposits on the underside of pipes, obvious rust stains, or evidence of earlier leak repairs.
Another type of pipe to watch out for, popular from the 1970s through the 1990s, is polybutylene plastic pipe. This was very popular in the sunny south but is not recommended due to breakage. The plastic reacts with chemicals added to municipal water supplies, leading to crazing and fractures. These pipes, like galvanized steel pipes, should be replaced.
At Day & Night Air, copper is the preferred replacement material for pipes. Copper works easily, solders and brazes beautifully, provides decades of reliable service, and holds up under pressure and temperature changes.
Another choice is PEX, crosslinked polyethylene, a flexible plastic tubing. Because of its easy installation, PEX will cost less than copper.
Among plumbing companies Phoenix homeowners rely upon for everyday repairs, only a few have the experience, equipment and skills to replace all the pipes in a house efficiently and without destroying walls. Day & Night Air is the best of those companies; contact us today to learn more about pipe replacement.