Throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, home flippers are still going strong, despite 2022’s skyrocketing interest rates. But if you’ve recently invested in a fixer-upper, whether to sell it or settle down in it, you want to make sure that your renovations are high quality. That means not just focusing on the latest aesthetic upgrades, but your plumbing code, too. Many older homes may be hiding dangerous plumbing issues like galvanized pipes, requiring extensive pipe repair or even whole-home pipe replacement.
A home repiping project may sound like more than you bargained for, but in the long run, it could be the best option. With the right repipe specialist on your side, you can make the best decision for your new renovation and make the most of your investment.
What is Galvanized Plumbing?
Before about 1960, many homes in the Dallas area were built with galvanized pipes, which are steel pipes coated with zinc. The original idea was that these steel, zinc-coated pipes would ward off exterior corrosion and rust and be an ideal alternative to lead pipes. Unfortunately, we learned that plumbing systems made of galvanized steel corroded on the inside after years of exposure to water.
The rust and other contaminants caked on the inside of these pipes can cause a host of problems. At best, you may notice low water pressure and discolored water. At worst, you’ll have to deal with widespread leaks and lead-contaminated water.
Although Dallas and Fort Worth banned lead service lines in 1986, some remained unreplaced until quite recently. That means any homes with galvanized pipes could have hidden lead remaining in their home’s own water lines.
How Can I Tell What Type of Plumbing Pipes I Have?
Identifying dangerous types of plumbing—like galvanized steel or lead pipes—can be tricky. First of all, homes are often built with more than one type of pipe material. If your home is over about 40 years old, it may have three, four, or even more pipe materials. From the plumbing fixtures themselves to the pipes hidden in the attic or basement, there’s a lot to check, and it’s important to be thorough.
A trained and licensed plumber can help you determine whether your plumbing is up to code. They can also recommend water pipe replacements with more safe and dependable materials, like PEX pipes.
Should Galvanized Pipes Be Replaced?
Galvanized pipes should be replaced, because they pose risks to both your health and your home’s structural integrity. In fact, some homeowner’s insurance companies won’t even issue a policy for homes with galvanized pipes. In other cases, you may be required to have your pipes’ condition certified before a policy is issued. But at Bacon, we recommend that all galvanized pipes be completely replaced as a permanent repair.
What About Other Plumbing Materials?
Other types of pipe in older homes may also need repair or replacement, depending on the material. The life expectancy of other pipe materials is typically:
- Copper pipe: 50 to 70+ years (dependable and safe when properly maintained; should be inspected in older homes)
- PB pipe: 10 to 15 years (no longer manufactured after 1995 and should be replaced)
- CPVC pipe: 50+ years (dependable and safe)
- PEX pipe: about 50 years (dependable and safe)
- Cast iron pipe: 50 to 100 years (should be regularly inspected for corrosion and may need to be replaced)
What Does the Repair or Repipe Process Look Like?
At Bacon, our technicians will never try to force a whole home repipe on you if you don’t actually need one. We