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3 Outdated Plumbing Features And Why You Should Replace Them

by Tara Pena

Older homes are beloved by many people for their wealth of charm and personality, yet they can also present hazards absent in newer homes. Many such problems have to do with antiquated plumbing systems. If you live in an older home, or are considering purchasing one, read on. This article will discuss three outdated plumbing features that should be replaced as soon as possible. 

Lead Pipes And Solder

For many centuries, its leak resistance and easy malleability made lead a popular metal with which to construct water pipes. Not until the 20th century were the toxic effects of lead on the human body finally demonstrated. As a result, homes constructed as late as 1930 may still contain a preponderance of dangerous lead pipes.

If your home contains lead pipes, it is vital to your family's health that they be replaced without delay. Those who own older homes but aren't sure about the type of pipes they contain should have a professional inspection performed as soon as possible. Likewise, you may elect to have your water tested for lead by a certified laboratory in your state.

Galvanized Pipes

Even if you don't have lead pipes, you may still be at risk of lead poisoning if your home contains galvanized pipes. Galvanized pipes are steel pipes that have been coated in a protective layer of zinc. Common in homes built prior to the 1960s, they present an equally grave health risk. That's because over the years, the zinc tends to erode from the inside of the pipes, thus allowing accumulations of lead and other dangerous substances to form along the walls.

It's easy to determine if the pipes in your home are galvanized. Simply make a light scratch on the outside of the pipe using a knife. If the scratch is silvery-gray and has threads, the pipe is galvanized. If instead the scratched area has the appearance and color of a penny, your pipes are made out of safe copper.

S-shaped Sink Traps

Sink traps are specially formed sections of pipe located just below a sink or other water outlet. Their function is to filter out foul-smelling and potentially dangerous gases that rise up from the sewer. Unfortunately, not all sink traps perform this job equally well. S-shaped traps, which in many parts of the country have been prohibited for years, are notoriously bad at their job.

If you notice that the traps below the sinks in your home look like the letter S, consider upgrading to the much safer P-shaped traps as soon as possible. These maintain a constant seal and thus keep unwanted sewer gases at bay much more effectively than S-shaped traps. 

If you want help checking your home for these features and replacing them, contact a local plumbing service like Jenkins Plumbing