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How to Distinguish Galvanized Steel Pipe?

Jun. 10, 2020

BS4568 Galvanized Steel Pipe

Galvanized pipes are a common problem due to the aging of houses. Below is a list of frequently asked questions we received regarding galvanized pipes.

What are galvanized pipes?

Galvanized pipelines are steel pipelines that have been dipped in a safety zinc coating to avoid rust and also rust. Galvanized piping was frequently installed in houses developed prior to 1960. When it was created, the galvanized pipe was different to lead pipeline for water lines. Today, nevertheless, we have actually discovered that decades of direct exposure to water will certainly trigger galvanized pipelines to wear away as well as corrosion on the inside.

What does Galvanized Tubing Look Like?

When first installed, galvanized pipes look comparable to nickel in shade. But as it ages, the galvanized pipe may show up much duller, lighter, or darker, depending upon its setting. We've also seen homes where the pipes have been painted, so it can be difficult to tell initially look.

How Can I Inform if I have Galvanized Steel Pipe?

If you can not tell by taking a look at your pipelines, there is a fast examination to inform if they are galvanized. Merely grab a flat head screwdriver as well as a solid magnet. Begin by discovering your water line and scrape the outside of the pipeline with the screwdriver. Contrast your results:

Hot Dipped Galvanized Steel Pipe


The scraped location will appear like a copper penny.

A magnet will NOT adhere to it.


The damaged location will appear ivory or white in shade.

A magnet will certainly NOT stay with it

Galvanized steel

The damaged area will have a silver-gray shade.

A solid magnet will stick to it.


The damaged location will certainly have a plain silver-gray shade, and the metal will normally be soft and simple to scrape. A magnet will certainly NOT stick to it. Lead pipes are very easy to flex as well as may be misshapen. If you have lead pipelines, we suggest a replacement if whatsoever feasible.

Make certain to scratch test your pipes in several locations. It is not unusual to have more than one kind of piping on your waterline.

Does Galvanized Pipe Contain Lead?

The galvanized pipelines installed on water lines in between 1880 and 1960 were dipped in molten, naturally occurring zinc. Normally happening zinc is unclean, so these pipes were bathed in zinc that also had the lead as well as other impurities. The zinc finishing lengthened the life of the steel pipelines but included the percentage of lead and also other substances that can possibly harm occupants.

Furthermore, if your galvanized pipelines were ever before connected to lead plumbing (including solution lines) there is more cause for worry. The corrosion inside galvanized steel pipes can have entrapped little items of the lead. Even if the lead piping was gotten rid of years earlier, the galvanized steel pipes might still regularly launch the entrapped lead into the water flow. Chicago really did not stop making use of lead pipelines for solution lines till 1986, and also an estimated 400,000 lead solution lines are still in operation in Chicago alone.

The only method to make certain that lead is not activated from pipes to tap in a given residence is to totally replace the galvanized plumbing and also any lead solution lines.

Fire Pipe Hot Dip Galvanized ASTM A795

What various other issues can galvanized pipes trigger?

Low Water Pressure

Due to the limitation of the line, deterioration in galvanized pipelines can create lower water pressure throughout your house.

Uneven Distribution of Water

If a few of your taps have low water pressure, but others do not, this could be signs and symptoms of galvanized pipes. Rust can develop erratically. Likewise, part of the galvanized pipeline line might have been replaced in your house, however not everywhere.

Discoloration of Water

Galvanized Steel Water Pipe can launch iron as well as create staining. A clear indicator of this is a brownish discolor on a porcelain sink.


Offered sufficient time, galvanized pipes will certainly rust through and cause even more damage to your home.

If you want to change your galvanized pipelines, lead service line, or discover more regarding your alternatives, we would be happy to help.