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How do you know if you have lead pipes

Wednesday 05 May 2021

There are several possible sources of lead in your home pipes that can end up in your drinking water:

Water pipes connecting the drinking water supply to your home
Solder in your pipes
Older copper taps and valves
To really know what's going on, replacing lead pipes is a good idea if you let a professional from Zoofy come by. On Zoofy you can immediately find a good installer without call-out charges. Your job is insured up to 2.5 million euros.

Water pipes that connect the drinking water supply to your house

This water pipe is usually located in the basement. Or if you don't have a basement, this is usually the lowest point of the house - usually in a corner - probably closest to the road and low to the floor.

The first trick for recognising lead pipes - without even touching it or doing anything - if the pipe is a dark grey colour, that is usually a good tip: that is a lead pipe.
Then scrape the pipe with a screwdriver; if it is lead, the metal should be soft and really shiny.
If your supply pipe turns a brownish, coppery colour, it means it's a copper supply pipe.
Apart from lead or copper, you can also have a plastic or galvanised steel pipe coming into your house. If it is steel, a magnet would stick to it. If it is lead or copper, a magnet would not stick to it.

Important: Even if you have no lead pipe in the basement, that doesn't mean the entire pipe is lead-free. There may have been a partial replacement of the pipe, which means that some of the pipe under your yard may still be lead, even if some is copper or steel. Or it may be that your city still has lead water mains to the curb. Your best bet is to call your city to see what kind of data they have. And you can get your water tested.

How old is the plumbing in your home?

Solder connects pipes in household plumbing. Scrape the solder to see if it has that shiny colour. There is no way to know for sure by doing that scraping test on solder, as there is also '50/50 solder'. That's 50 per cent lead, 50 per cent tin.
Other types of plumbing you may find in your home are galvanised steel pipes and plastic water pipes. Neither contain lead, but older galvanised steel pipes can corrode, and these corroded areas can be places where lead leaching from a lead water pipe can collect.