Lead in water is a serious problem. Health experts agree that there is no safe level of lead exposure. Even low levels of lead in the blood can cause high blood pressure, kidney damage, cognitive problems, behavioral problems, and other health problems.
Lead pipes were once a common plumbing material. Many homes and businesses built before 1986 have lead pipes. However, lead pipes are no longer used in plumbing because of the health risks, but at least 667,275 service lines to homes and businesses in Illinois are still made of lead.
While The Illinois General Assembly passed a landmark bill last year to replace all lead plumbing in the state, it will take many years and billions of dollars to replace all the lead pipes. In the meantime, what can you do if you think you have a lead pipe?
Here are four ways to determine if you have a lead pipe:
Determine the Age of Your Home
If your home was built before 1980s, there’s a good chance that it has lead pipes. Lead was commonly used in plumbing because it was thought to be a durable and long-lasting material. However, we now know that lead is quite harmful to our health.
If you’re not sure when your home was built, you can check the public records. The date of construction should be listed there.
Inspect the Pipe Material
Lead pipes are usually gray or dull in color. They can also be easily scratched, which is another way to tell that they’re not made of a stronger metal like copper.
In addition, lead pipes are much heavier than other plumbing materials like copper. You can often tell just by picking up a section of pipe whether it’s made of lead. If you have any doubts, you can always consult with a plumbing professional to get a second opinion.
Check Your Water Pressure
Low water pressure could indicate that mineral deposits block your pipes. If you have lead pipes, these deposits can contain high lead levels.
Lead is a very soft metal, so it can quickly become corroded and clogged over time. This will cause your water pressure to drop significantly.
If you notice a sudden drop in water pressure, it’s best to call a professional plumber to take a look. They’ll be able to determine if it’s a problem with your plumbing or something else entirely.
Check the Water Quality
The presence of lead will cause the water quality to decline. If you notice that your water doesn’t taste as good as it used to or has a metallic taste or has a strange odor, this could indicate that there’s lead in the plumbing.
You can also have your water tested for lead content. This is typically done by a professional who will come to your home and collect your water sample.
The test results will confirm lead pipe presence and give you a starting point for taking action.
Living in Morton Grove, IL, you don’t need to worry about having lead pipes in your plumbing. Bill’s Plumbing & Sewer Inc. offers professional lead water line replacement services to ensure your plumbing is safe and up to code.
We are licensed, bonded, and insured plumbing contractors. Our team will replace your lead water lines with safe and durable copper pipes, so you can rest assured your plumbing is free of harmful materials.