Lead Plumbing: Its Popularity, Decline, and Modern Risks
Lead is a dull, dense, pliable, and unappealing metal that is closely tied to human history and the development of modern civilizations. While it’s been useful as a harvesting tool or is now integral to batteries and other power sources, it shouldn’t be consumed in large quantities. Unfortunately, its use in plumbing from Ancient Rome to the American 20th century has been convenient at best, deadly at worst.
If you have an older home or have not had your plumbing replaced in several decades, then you may live in a home with deadly lead pipes. You’ll need to hire a plumber in Daly City, CA, to test for lead and remove all lead-based pipes and fixtures.
THE HISTORY OF LEAD PLUMBING
Lead plumbing has been used since antiquity for its resistance to leaks, ease to melt and shape into tube-like formations, and slick surface that’s ideal for allowing water to run. In fact, it seemed to work so perfectly and was so economical that lead plumbing remained popular for millennia, and was even installed in American homes as recently as the 1970s, or even later.
Unfortunately, lead is not rust-proof, and over time, a lead that is frequently exposed to moisture, as plumbing tends to be, will start to rust. Rust will cause flakes of metal to chip away, and suddenly you have a supply of water that is tainted with lead. Sadly, lead pipes today look similar to stainless steel pipes and other types of metal plumbing, so you can’t always tell by looking at your pipes if you still have lead plumbing. It takes a plumper’s keen eye and testing methods to determine if you have pipes that may be slowly poisoning you.
SHOULD YOU BE CONCERNED?
If you own a home that was built before the 1980s, you should absolutely be concerned about your plumbing. While lead pipes were being phased out of popularity in the latter half of the 20th century, and copper pipes took their place, homes built before the 1980s may still have lead soldering between every safe copper pipe. Your water supply line and interior pipes may contain lead parts that are still a hazard to your health. Worse, because of the age of the plumbing, lead pipes that are several decades old may have already started to corrode and may be leaving toxic deposits in your drinking water.
Contact a plumber in Daly City, CA, as soon as possible to test your pipes for lead and replace any dangerous parts with safe and modern plumbing.