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Thread: Galvanized Steel Plumbing Question

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  1. #1

    Default Galvanized Steel Plumbing Question

    We are purchasing a home in Maryland. The home was built in 1942. The current owner just purchased the home a year ago and in his inspection, there were no issues noted about the plumbing. Our inspector looked at the home this week and said that the plumbing throughout the house will need to be replaced. It is mostly galvanized plumbing with some copper pipes. He said that they did not use dielectric couplings between the galvanized and copper pipes, which is causing galvanic action. That galvanic action is happening throughout the house. All plumbing throughout the house will have to be replaced in 3-5 years.

    The seller and his inspector from last year, argue that the plumbing is steel inside, which means the plumbing will not corrode inside...that the plumbing is fine the way it is. We're having a plumber look at the pipes and the seller is bringing in his own plumber.

    Can you shed any expertise on this subject?

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    New England


    Galvanized piping gradually rusts from inside. Eventually, the pipe essentially closes off, severely restricting the flow (volume) The pressurecould be great, but the inside of the pipe opening could only be in the range of a small soda straw. Eventually, it will have to be replaced. A dielectric junction won't stop it. You often notice this first on the hot water lines, but if it is eventual on all lines.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005


    The older the home gets the sooner the piping will have to be replaced. If it was built in 1942 the water pipe is reaching the end of its usefull life. I will bet if you look close enough you can find spots of rust where it has rusted through and then sealed back up. The reason your seeing any copper pipe in the system is because there was a leak and it was fixed with copper, unless there is an addition.

    If the drains are galvanized they may be on their way out also.
    Last edited by Cass; 12-12-2006 at 04:08 AM.

  4. #4
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of the brave....
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    Talking probably wise

    If the fellow wants to sell the home
    its to your advantage to at least get an
    allowance for the pipe.....

    cause some day pin holes will probably start

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Default pipe

    How far in the future will "someday" be and why would the seller give an allowance for it, unless it is already happening?

  6. #6
    DIY Member casman's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    New York


    I don't see this as any different than buying a house with an old roof. These items have a life expectancy right? 54 years I think is a long time for galv pipe, just like with a roof except the roof would show more obvious signs of needing replacement.


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