Home > About > Pipe Failure


What Causes Galvanized Steel Pipe to Leak?
(pipe failure)

Galvanized Pipe


Brown or discolored water and low water flow in galvanized piping systems is a sign of rust and corrosion buildup within the pipe.



Galvanized pipe is steel pipe covered with a protective coating of zinc which greatly reduces its tendency to corrode and extends its life expectancy.

No longer used in homes, galvanized pipe was used extensively as water supply lines in new construction prior to the 1960's. Today it is most often found in water well applications of all types.

Galvanized pipe has a tendency to react with minerals in water, producing a build up of calcium deposits (scale) that can lead to lower water pressure.

A moderate level of calcium helps form a protective coating on the pipe, which may slow down corrosive effects. The operative word is moderate. High levels of calcium may build up in the pipe and restrict water flow.

Galvanized steel also corrodes over a period of time. The pipe rusts from the inside out. Over time, the pipes might corrode to the point where the pipes are completely restricted due to rust.

In addition, galvanic corrosion (also known as electrolysis) occurs when different metals come into contact with each other, as when when it is connected directly to copper or brass. The effects of galvanic corrosion are usually limited to the immediate area of metal-to-metal contact and the use of dielectric fittings helps stop the problem, but it does nothing to repair the resulting thin-walled, damaged pipe.

Galvanized steel can last roughly forty years until it needs to be replaced. Hard water in the home generally reduces the life expectancy of galvanized pipe.

Note: Sometimes large holes are found in the piping system once the encrustation is removed from the piping walls. If a large hole is found, we simply replace the affected pipe and continue with the process.



See also:
Copper Pipe
What Causes Pipe Failure