What I'm Seeing Now


Old Galvanized Plumbing Pipes - Supply And Drain Lines

It was an older house with the old galvanized plumbing pipes - supply and drain lines.

During the inspection the water flow was minimal, and the drains were all very slow.

Asking if this was common, my answer was that it would be with this type of plumbing.

Galvanized plumbing was actually steel pipes with a coating layer of zinc inside.  It was commonly used in plumbing in houses built up until the 1960s. 

Over time the zinc eroded, and corrosion developed that built up, accumulated, and caused clogging inside the tubing. 

As that accumulated corrosion built up the inside of the pipe constricted. 

Just like cholesterol building up and clogging inside our arteries and veins, eventually lower water flow would be the result.  And that was true in this subject house. 

When my client asked what the solution was  the answer was what you think. 



And it was.  Invited back to look at the remaining plumbing that was cut but not entirely removed, the interior of this drain line was quite visible.  The corrosive built up is clearly evident.

The spiders have already moved in!

Now, for years people were drinking and washing with water that was flowing over that corrosive mess!  Yummie.

My recommendation:  older homes often have expensive challenges.  Galvanized plumbing is sometimes one that has not been previously taken care of.  The solution is expensive, but permanent.  Which water would you rather drink or wash with - that flowing over what you see above, or that flowing inside copper or CPVC tubing?  After we looked around I checked on the new plumbing, and the water pressure was really good and the drains worked perfectly!



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 9 commentsJay Markanich • May 17 2016 03:51AM


Old galvanized pipes, I've had lots of water from more than a few and also saw their narrowed walls. Flavorful!

Posted by Kevin J. May, Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida (Florida Supreme Realty) about 4 years ago

Nothing like a little metal content in the blood, huh Kevin?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Oh my, I couldn't imagine drinking water, or using it in any way from these pipes.  The toxins in here must be at very high levels..  When I am accompanying a buyer on a home inspection, we always check the plumbing and look for copper or PVC ...anything less is not worth the health risk of pipes like these!! 

Posted by Gloria Valvasori, Accredited Senior Agent, REAL Experience | REAL Commitment | REAL Results! (BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS REAL ESTATE SIGNATURE SERVICE) about 4 years ago

Gloria - I have never read anything about the health risks, but they can't be good!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Good morning Jay. Older properties need careful intense inspection. Many potential problems needing attention. Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) about 4 years ago

Urgh...if the Sellers could have seen those pix decades ago...they would never drink another drop without replacing the plumbing !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) about 4 years ago

Yummy.... got to get your iron somewhere!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 4 years ago

I discovered this issue when I renovated a house in Brunswick, MD.  Both the drain and supply lines were restricted.  And one other small item, knob and tubing electrical.  Luckily the remodel required that I take the interior down to the studs, so access was not an issue.   I did find a couple of instances where there had been arcing behind the walls that could have led to a fire!  It was quite the learning experience.

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) about 4 years ago

Wayne - older houses have many possibilities.

It is pretty disgusting, S&D!

Fred - I prefer eggs cooked in an iron skillet!

Stephen - I often say that older houses are projects and labors of love.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

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