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What are galvanized pipes?

Galvanized pipes are steel pipes that have been dipped in a protective zinc coating to prevent corrosion and rust. Galvanized steel pipe was commonly installed in homes built before 1960. When it was invented, galvanized pipe was an alternative to lead pipe for water supply lines. Today, however, we have learned that decades of exposure to water will cause galvanized pipes to corrode and rust on the inside.

What do galvanized pipes look like?

When first installed, galvanized pipes looks similar to a nickel in color. But as it ages, galvanized pipe may appear much duller, lighter, or darker, depending on its environment. We’ve also seen homes where the water pipes have been painted, so it can be difficult to tell at first glance.

How can I tell if I have galvanized pipes?

If you can’t tell by looking at your pipes, there is a quick test to tell if they are galvanized. Simply grab a flat head screwdriver and a strong magnet. Start by finding your water line and scratch the outside of the welded steel pipe with the screwdriver. Compare your results:

Copper

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