Upgrading Your Pipes

How To Detect Lead Pipes And What To Do If You Have Them

With a shockingly high number of media stories focused on people who have received lead positioning from their drinking water, many homeowners are wondering if they are safe. Wondering if your pipes may have lead in them? Here's a look at how to check and what to do if you have lead:

1. Test your water.

You can buy a simple water testing kit online or at your local hardware store. Ideally, you should invest in several kits so that you can test a few different taps throughout your house. Remember to check both hot and cold water. If there is lead on the pipes, hot water will be more likely to cause the lead to be shed from the pipes and dissolved into your water. As a result, you may get a higher reading on hot water than cold water, but it's important to know what's going on in both situations.

2. Contact your city about the pipes supplying water to your house.

If you find lead in your water, you need to figure out where it is coming from, and in most cases, it's either coming from the pipes leading to your house or from the pipes inside your house. Contact your local water supply company to make sure that your home is not fed by lead pipes. If it is, you will need to take some of the lead mitigation steps below.

3. Check your home's pipes for lead.

If your home has relatively old plumbing, there may be lead in your pipes. Find any pipes that you can access without cutting a hole in the wall. If they appear to be a dull color, take a small metal tool and scratch them. If scratching removes the dull film to reveal a shiny surface, that is usually a positive sign that your home's pipes are made from lead. Additionally, if there are odd dents in the pipes, that also may signify lead. In this case, you should contact a plumber about removing your lead pipes and replacing them.

Keep in mind you don't necessarily have to replumb the entire house at once. If you are on a budget, start with the pipes that supply drinking water to your home such as the pipes leading to your kitchen or bathroom sinks. Save the pipes supplying water that is used for washing (such as the pipes leading to your washing machine, your bathtub, your utility sink, etc) for when you have a bit more time and money.

4. Run water before drinking it.

If you cannot afford to replace your plumbing right away, there are easy ways to reduce the amount of lead that is in your water. In many cases, the lead gets into the water while the water sits in the pipes. However, if you run fresh water through the pipes, it doesn't have any time to pick up the lead.

To get water that is relatively lead free, run your tap for several minutes, just allowing the water to go down the drain. Then, once you feel that most of the water that was sitting in the pipes is gone, you can collect some water for drinking. Before using this method, check the lead levels in your water after it has been running a while and compare these levels to the lead levels that are in the water right after you turn it on. Doing a comparison will help you see if this method works for you.

5. Install a filter.

If  you are looking for a more surefire way to remove lead from your drinking water, you may want to consider using a filter. The filters on water jugs don't work, but you can talk with a plumber about adding a filter that cleans all of the water coming into your home. Alternatively, an under-the-sink filter may work as well. Contact a company like Clean Plumbers BY Phillip Maurici Plumbing Inc for more info.