Why You Need to Replace the Galvanized Pipe?

galvanized pipe rust_galvanized water pipe

Galvanized piping is standard in old homes. Almost all the old homes made before the 80s use piping. However, these pipes can corrode and degrade as they age, leading to significant problems. So, why do you need to replace the galvanized pipe? Understanding this necessity is paramount for safety.

Galvanized pipes have an average lifespan of 30 to 70 years. After that, these pipes corrode from the inside. Corrosion makes mineral deposits. Minerals with rust mix with water and contaminate it. Therefore, replacing the old galvanized pipes when they age is necessary.

There is nothing wrong with the quality of galvanized pipes. However, they have their life. When they have passed it, it becomes mandatory to replace them. In this article, we will drill down and learn everything about swapping galvanized piping present in our homes.

What are Galvanized Pipes?

Pipes of every material get rusty over time. Whether you use copper, steel, or lead pipes, corrosion will always occur. So, the manufacturer applies a protective layer of zinc to make the pipes rust-proof. These pipes with a zinc coating are known as galvanized pipes.

This protective coating ensures the pipe won’t rust for 30 to 40 years. Steel pipes are usually galvanized and used in home piping. Galvanizing is both cost-effective and a reliable option to prevent rust and corrosion.

There is no restriction regarding material when it comes to galvanizing. Every material, such as copper, steel, and lead, can be galvanized. However, steel is the most popular. In the past, lead was used in the Piping system. However, due to its potential hazards, it is not prioritized in plumbing work now.

Reasons to Replace Galvanized Pipes

The first question is: do you need to replace the galvanized pipes? Yes, you need to remove the old and aged pipes. The second question is why? Multiple reasons make it mandatory to swap the galvanized piping of old homes. In the section below, we will discuss those potential reasons.

1- Rust & Corrosion

The exterior of the pipes might look good. However, rust and corrosion affect the interior of the old galvanized pipes. The minerals present in the water affect the zinc coating. Ultimately, this protective coating gets destroyed, and rust dominates inside.

The minerals in the water also deposit on the joints. Rust spreads rapidly when the zinc coating is destroyed. This is due to continuous exposure to oxygen in the water. Those minerals and rust make the water unhealthy.

When you drink such contaminated water, the chances are high that you’ll get sick. With time, the rusting issues become severe. Thus, the water flowing in the pipes becomes undrinkable. Therefore, it is mandatory to replace the old galvanized pipes.

2- Low Water Pressure

Rust and minerals deposit in the pipes. This deposition is not too big at the start to bother the water flow. However, those deposits become bigger with time, affecting the water flow. As a result, you will get low water pressure in your taps.

Some plumbing companies offer piping cleaning. However, this is a short-term solution. The increase in rust will make the flow even slower. If you are facing low water pressure, consider changing the aged galvanized piping.

3- Colored/Unhealthy Water

In the first stages, corrosion inside galvanized pipes does not affect the color of the water. However, with time, it gets worse. Corrosion at its peak inside the pipes will affect the color and purity of the water. The contaminants, or slake of the corrosion, will make the water look reddish and unhealthy. This is another factor that contributes to pipe replacement.

4- Leakage at Joints

The joins are the most sensitive and weak part of piping. So, the rust present on these joints makes them even more vulnerable. With time, the joints start to leak due to rust and corrosion. Usually, this happens when the joints have no zinc coating. There is no practical, long-term solution to leakage except changing the galvanized pipes.

How Do I Check if I Have Galvanized Pipes?

Many people buy homes from their original owners. Some homes are built for 40 to 50 years and undergo different ownership changes. So, how would you know if your home’s piping system is made from galvanized pipes? This question is valid.

There is an easy way to identify the legalized pipes made from different materials. Take a screwdriver and a magnet to test the pipes. Scratch gently on the exposed part of the pipe. Check the color. Now, bring the magnet close to the scratch part of the pipe.

Note if the magnet gets attracted to the pipe or not. If the magnet sticks to the pipe,  it is galvanized. The pipe’s different Colors and magnetic behavior will tell you about its material. Here is a table showing the other colors and magnetic behavior of various materials:

Pipe MaterialScratched Area AppearanceMagnet Test
CopperLooks like a copper pennyThe magnet will NOT stick
PlasticLooks whiteThe magnet will NOT stick
Galvanized SteelSilver-gray colorMagnet will stick
LeadDull silver-gray colorThe magnet will NOT stick

Quick Tip: During testing, make sure to conduct tests on the clean surface of the pipe. Rusty areas can affect the magnetic behavior of the material. Ideally, put some water on the pipe to ensure no dirt remains before bringing the magnet close to it.

How Long Do Galvanized Pipes Last?

Galvanized pipes usually have a lifespan of 30 to 70 years. However, this duration can differ depending on different factors. Extensively used pipes usually start to deteriorate after 40 years. Pipes with an age of 70+ years are in the red zone. They need to be swapped.

Some houses made in the 1930s still have good pipes. However, this is rare. The chances are high that those pipes will have rust inside. The water flowing through such pipes will also be unhealthy. Due to high rust issues, these pipes are always at risk of giving you colored water.

If you have an old house, it is recommended that you get it cleaned. Some plumbing companies offer pipe cleaning services. They remove the rust deposition inside the pipes and apply epoxy to slow the rusting process. If you’re unwilling to swap the pipes, you should get this cleaning done at the very least.

How To Know If Your Galvanized Pipes Are Bad?

Identifying the bad galvanized pipes is straightforward. You won’t know if they need replacement if you don’t know their conditions. First, note the rust present on the outside surface of the galvanized pipes.

Generally, rust in galvanized pipes comes inside first. The reason is that the interior remains exposed to continuous water and oxygen. So, suppose you notice any severe rust outside. In that case, it means the interior is also affected, and it is time to remove the pipes. Remember that rust appears on the exterior when the interior is highly affected.

Here are some signs that tell your pipes are bad:

  • Piping has an age of 50+ years
  • Lack of water flow pressure
  • Leakage at the joints of the pipes
  • The reddish or yellowish color of the water from the tap

If you notice these signs, you are advised to call the nearest plumbing company. They will further analyze the pipes’ conditions and provide the best solution. If the issue is not severe, they will clean the pipes. Otherwise, you’ll have no option except galvanized pipe replacement.

Are There Safety Risks or Concerns About Galvanized Pipe?

Yes, there are many safety risks involved with galvanized piping. You don’t have to face any issues until the protective zinc coating is present. Once this coating gets destroyed, you’re always at the risk of getting rusty water. The rust will spread faster when there is no zinc layer.

Drinking such water will cause many diseases. For example, indigestion, stomach issues, constipation, and abdominal pain. This contaminated water can stop brain growth in small kids. Thus, it poses serious safety and health issues.

The issue becomes even worse if the pipes are made of lead. Presently, lead is not used as a material due to its hazard. However, in the early 1900s, many houses had lead pipes with zinc coating. Such pipes are even more dangerous than typical copper or steel pipes.


Q1: What is Galvanized Plumbing?

Galvanized plumbing indicates that the pipes are coated with a zinc layer. This coating protects the pipes from rust and helps extend the life of the steel pipes.

Q2: What Are the Signs That Galvanized Pipes Need to Be Replaced?

Leaked joints, slow water flow, and colored water are signs of galvanized pipes needing replacement. If you find any of these signs, contact the plumbing company.

Q3: Why Is It Necessary to Replace Galvanized Pipes?

Old galvanized pipes usually get rusty due to the deterioration of the zinc layer. Thus, water coming from pipes contains rust particles and other minerals. Drinking such unhealthy and contaminated water poses many health issues. This is why it is necessary to replace the galvanized pipes.

Q4: How Much to Replace Galvanized Pipes?

The cost to replace galvanized pipes can vary depending on many factors. For example, the house’s size, the plumbing system’s complexity, and local labor rates. On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $1500 and $20000 for a complete replacement.

Q5: What Are the Risks of Not Replacing Old Galvanized Pipes?

The main risk is health. Drinking rusty and contaminated water can be harmful. Many other risks, such as pipe leakage and low water pressure, are also common.

Q6: Do Galvanized Pipes Contain Lead?

Galvanized pipes themselves do not contain lead. However, the zinc coating usually deteriorates over time and releases lead from soldered joints. Lead-contaminated water is seriously unhealthy and can cause many diseases.


Galvanized pipes have many benefits. They are durable and cost-effective, and their lifespan of 40 to 70 years is commendable.

However, as they pass their lifespan, they start to corrode and pose many issues, with rust at the top.

Knowing and understanding the reason for replacing galvanized pipes is essential. This guide sheds light on every aspect of galvanized pipes and their replacement. UIASEN manufactures galvanized pipes. Please contact us if you need wholesale.