Was your home built between the 1950s and 1960s? Do you still have galvanized steel pipes running through your walls? If your plumbing system still relies on that older metal, you could be at risk for everything from daily clogs to a full collapse. All Suffolk County homeowners with original steel plumbing should be thinking about galvanized pipe replacement.
When it comes to galvanized pipe replacement, there's a lot to think about. Luckily, you don't need as much knowledge as a professional plumber. All you need is some important information about what galvanized pipes are, the risks associated with them, and the process for replacing them in Suffolk County.
Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Central Long Island is here to make sure you know everything important about galvanized steel plumbing in Suffolk County. You don't have to concern yourself with the finer details—that's our job. All you need are the fundamentals, including which signs indicate that you should consider Suffolk County galvanized pipe replacement.
What is Galvanized Steel?
Galvanizing is the process of coating metal in a thin layer of zinc to protect it from corrosion. From the 1950s to the 1960s, it was common to use galvanized steel for residential plumbing installations in Suffolk County. Unfortunately, that protective zinc coating isn't as strong as people thought. After years of friction and wear from running water, it starts to wear down.
Why Should You Get Galvanized Pipe Replacement?
No plumbing lines last forever. In the case of galvanized steel, that limited lifespan is currently reaching its maximum age for many Suffolk County homeowners. As the zinc layer wears down, the underlying steel is exposed to corrosion. Over time, that corrosion grows, filling the internal space of your lines and weakening their walls.
Older steel piping is problem prone and frustrating. As corrosion spreads, it interrupts the flow of water and it spreads contamination into your water supply. When it comes to Suffolk County, all galvanized piping is old piping. Without professional replacement service from a licensed plumber, you'll be at risk for clogs and leaks caused by growing corrosion. If those leaks appear inside your walls, leak detection will be just the beginning of your troubles.
How Does Galvanized Pipe Replacement Work?
There are two options that Suffolk County homeowners have for galvanized pipe replacement. The first method, relining, is a process of blasting out debris and relining the existing galvanized plumbing with an epoxy coating. The second method, repiping, is preferred for most residential plumbing systems. It involves replacing all existing lines in your entire plumbing system.
Some homeowners in Suffolk County consider relining their existing plumbing rather than replacing it because the relining process is less invasive. It starts by blasting away built-up debris with compressed air. Plumbers then spray an epoxy lining on the exposed steel to stop further corrosion. While the method does decrease the mess and time investment associated with full repiping, it also comes with serious risks for homeowners, and it's generally only used for commercial plumbing systems.
The method of using pressurized air to clear debris has the potential to simply push blockage deeper in, rather than clear it out. It could also fully break any sections already weakened by corrosion, creating leaks that go unnoticed until water flow returns to those lines. In residential lines, there are additional challenges presented for epoxy linings. Many residential lines in Suffolk County are so small that it becomes difficult to inspect and verify repairs after an epoxy lining has reduced their internal volume.
The superior solution for corroded steel lines in Suffolk County is full galvanized pipe replacement. It takes more time and effort than relining, but the rewards of choosing a new, safer material are worth the time you'd have to give to a professional plumber. A modern type of piping will last longer than your existing galvanized piping, and it won't come with such significant risks.
Galvanized pipe replacement usually takes a team of plumbers about one week in Suffolk County. The process involves exposing all your current lines, which might mean digging around buried lines or removing patches of walls and ceilings. Your new lines—made of a modern alternative material—are then installed next to the existing lines.
After your replacements are connected to your mains, the old lines are either removed or left in place. Some specialized plumbing replacement companies complete their service by repairing any damaged drywall or landscaping. However, if you choose to get replacement services from a professional Suffolk County plumber, you may need to hire a separate professional for those final repairs.
Can You Replace a Single Section?
Yet, it is possible; however, replacing just one section generally isn't recommended by Suffolk County plumbers. Replacing a single section only provides a limited amount of protection, and it may not even solve your problem. That's because it's possible for other sections to be equally as corroded, and even if they aren't currently causing problems, they will eventually. It might not seem like it, but it's far more convenient and simple to complete replacement for every section at once.
Which Type of Pipe is Best for Suffolk County?
The exact type of modern material you should use depends on what your galvanized pipe replacement will affect. For anything that connects to a hot water heater, you have fewer options than for lines that only carry cold water, because hot water will damage some common types of piping material. In general, there are three options to choose from for Suffolk County homes.
1) Copper Pipes:
Often considered the best option for residential water supply lines, copper resists corrosion, lasts for a long time, and is relatively easy to install. Copper lines are generally a great option for galvanized pipe replacement.
However, copper can encounter difficulties with acidic water. As such, this may not be the ideal choice for piping in Suffolk County, where the water quality is slightly acidic. Copper is also susceptible to pinhole leaks and corrosion caused by contact with other metals.
2) PVC Pipes:
For cold water pipes, some Suffolk County homes use PVC plastic. PVC is more corrosion resistant than copper, easier to install, and more affordable. Additionally, since plastic doesn't conduct temperatures as well as metal, PVC is less likely to freeze during winter.
Unfortunately, PVC still comes with drawbacks. The most significant is that it can't be used for hot water. That weakness makes PVC better for drain pipes, sprinkler lines, and irrigation than for supply lines in Suffolk County. PVC also doesn't last as long as copper, and its joints aren't as flexible, meaning it's more susceptible to water leaks.
CPVC is a different type of plastic that resists heat better than the common PVC type. That means it's possible to use CPVC for hot and cold water lines in Suffolk County. CPVC is stronger and more flexible than standard PVC, but it's also more expensive.
4) PEX Pipes:
PEX, a.k.a cross-linked polyethylene, is another type of plastic that serves as an alternative to both copper and PVC. PEX has a lot in common with PVC and CPVC, but there are some situations which should be reserved for one or the other. One of the biggest benefits of PEX is its flexibility, which means that it's easier to snake and install PEX through hard-to-reach areas. It also requires fewer connections than PVC.
The downsides of PEX begin with its cost—it's more expensive than PVC. Although it will withstand hotter temperatures, it shouldn't be directly connected to a water heater, which means you'll need an additional section of CPVC or copper for heater connections. It's also much more difficult to install and requires specialized tools, which further increases costs and limits your options for potential plumbing services in Suffolk County.
Do You Need Galvanized Pipe Replacement in Suffolk County?
If you've got older galvanized steel water lines, it's better to replace them before they fail than wait for potential catastrophes to force your hand—and increase your costs. If you're reluctant to schedule service, then you should be aware of the telltale signs that indicate you're at risk for immediate plumbing emergencies because of galvanized lines.
Galvanized Plumbing Warning Signs:
Brownish-red, rust-colored water
Low water pressure
Rising monthly bills
Odd tasting water
If you spot any of the warning signs above, or ever experience sudden problems with your galvanized plumbing systems, don't hesitate to call a licensed Suffolk County plumber like Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Central Long Island. The sooner you get help with Long Island plumbing repair, the less you'll have to worry about costly complications and active health hazards.
For guaranteed, courteous galvanized pipe replacement service from a professional Suffolk County plumber, call 631-542-2194 ! We handle everything from Long Island drain cleaning service to repiping in Ronkonkoma and beyond!