Galvanized steel is kind of like the buddy you met in college. You’ve got fond memories of all the times you’ve replaced and used that galvanized steel pipe in your basement, and you’ll always remember it well, but it’s just not as reliable as the friends you’ve made today, like PVC or copper. Galvanized steel can be great for outdoor aesthetics, or if you’re building a cool new project out of old pieces of machinery. But it’s just not a reliable material for your home plumbing.
Don’t worry, we’re not the only ones who think this. Galvanized steel hasn’t been used in homes since the 1960s, at least not by any reputable plumber anyways. If you’re wondering why that is, or you’re confused as to why you might want to replace your home’s galvanized steel pipes, then you’ve come to the right place. As your friendly neighborhood plumber in Cincinnati, OH, we’d like to set things straight.
What Is Galvanized Steel?
Galvanized steel is exactly how it sounds. It’s a type of steel pipe material that’s been dipped in a coating to prevent rust, corrosion, and other elements that might aid in it eventually wearing down and leaking. You probably already know that steel is one of the strongest materials in the world, but when you’re looking for a plumbing material, strength isn’t all that matters.
For instance, once that protective coating wears down on the steel, the pipes will quickly start to corrode, and their lifespan will be cut down tremendously. Longevity is one of the most important factors of plumbing material, and galvanized steel might be strong–but it doesn’t last nearly as long as it should for the price it costs.
Why Galvanized Steel Was Phased Out
Galvanized steel is missing two important parts–resistance and cost. For higher-quality pipes that are virtually just as strong and more resistant, copper is a great alternative. Copper pipes are naturally resistant to corrosion and are great for hot water lines.
PVC pipes are a type of plastic that can handle the load that a galvanized steel pipe might, but at a much lower cost to produce than steel.
It’s Unreliable and You’re Better Off Without It
We know that you and your old plumbing system have had some good times together, but the time has come to choose a more reliable partner in crime. Copper or PVC pipes are much more reliable for transferring water, waste, hot water, and other materials than galvanized steel.
While galvanized steel might technically still be working in your home, it’s a game of longevity. Galvanized steel pipes are all old and just aren’t installed in homes anymore, which means yours are likely rotting away from the inside out. Eventually, you’ll need to replace them, and the earlier you do that the less likely it will be that you replace them after a disaster.
Copper and PVC, on the other hand, are great materials that last a long time and don’t corrode as easily. PVC is super affordable and reliable, and copper is malleable yet strong enough to handle any plumbing need.