Plastic or copper is generally used in home building these days. In the past, it was galvanized or metal. Newer homes usually have PEX or copper waterlines inside and out and are generally safe from breakage. But, it is also possible to have plastic PEX or copper pipe for indoor plumbing, and have galvanized steel as the line that feeds your house from the road. Here are some important reasons to consider replacing your old galvanized steel water line:
Rust. Rust builds up inside metal water lines. If you leave something metal outside, it gets wet and rust eventually begins to form. The same thing happens inside your water line. Believe it or not, you are drinking small amounts of this rust every time you drink a glass of water. That is pretty gross, right? It is probably not very healthy.
Decreased volume. Does the water coming out of your tap seem to be weak? As rust and other minerals build up inside your water line, it narrows the inside diameter of your pipe. This doesn’t affect your water pressure, but it does affect your water volume. (Pressure is how fast the water comes out of your faucet; volume is how much water comes out of your faucet). One example of good pressure / bad volume is: when you are showering and somebody flushes a toilet. The water volume coming out of your shower head decreases and you have to wait until the toilet fills back up. This is generally happens with galvanized steel water lines. Your pressure is great but you can’t run more than a couple faucets at once. Replacing your old rusted line with a new plastic line, increases the volume significantly. No more unexpected surprises when in the shower!
Rolling the dice with older pipes. If your water line is old, there is a greater chance of springing a leak. In the long run the cost of replacing your waterline beats repairing it; as one leak will lead to another, and so on. Lessen the inevitable by replacing the old line.
No muss, no fuss. Replacing the water line is less of a hassle than you think. That is if you use a licensed plumber! No need to dig up your lawn or break up the driveway: a good plumber knows how to use the existing hole to replace the waterline. The only spot that could need digging is near the road, and that should be a small hole.
Just like dominoes, once rust and minerals build up (in steel lines), it will affect your faucets and other fixtures. This build up will actually corrode the fixtures. If you are on a well, this is one issue you need to consider. Most wells contain hard water and the build up can be rapid.
We hope this helps you decide if it’s time to replace that water line. An internet search, word of mouth or yellow pages can point you in the right direction to a licensed plumber. Be sure to ask if you are a candidate for a trench-less installation. Give yourself peace of mind and increase the value of your home with this improvement.