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  1. #1
    Robert Alexander's Avatar
    Robert Alexander Guest

    Default Discolored water, galvanized pipe

    How would you guys write up discolored water with galvanized pipe (75+ year old home)?

    When I run any of the faucets in the home, discolored water (brownish color) runs for 5-10 seconds before running clear. I suspect the pipe is rusting from the inside out and sediment/rust particulate is needing to be flushed out.

    Thanks!

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Fuquay Varina, NC
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    Default Re: Discolored water, galvanized pipe

    I would say that the pipes have a life expectancy of about 40 years and when they begin to fail they rust from the inside out. Water pressure will drop as the diameter decreases and leakage will eventually occur at fittings. Budget for replacement in the near future.

    Also read this: Iron in Drinking Water

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Discolored water, galvanized pipe

    Robert,

    I would write pretty much what you just did along with Mike's comment.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Discolored water, galvanized pipe

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Schulz View Post
    Budget for replacement in the near future.

    "budget for replacement in the near future" leaves that entire burden on the client.

    Better to state the truth: 'The recognized way to correct this condition is to have the house re-plumbed by a licensed and qualified plumbing contract with another approved material.' and write it as a repair item.

    That allows the buyer to negotiate that with the seller, quite possibly getting a credit or cash back to help cover the cost.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
    imported_John Smith Guest

    Default Re: Discolored water, galvanized pipe

    Discolored water isnt always an indication that the plumbing is near failure. Discoloration can be from a number of sources (water supply lines, water supply line maintenance, water heater, etc.). I agree that galvanized piping doesnt have an infinite life, but I would highlight it as a possibility, along with some of the other possible scenarios mentioned above.

    Also replumbing isnt always required. In Houston, local guys are reporting on success of coating pipe from the inside out. It aint cheap, but it could save money by not having to rip apart walls and such.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Healdsburg, CA
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    Default Re: Discolored water, galvanized pipe

    Wait... if that house is in Dublin, Ireland perhaps the owner has piped into the Guinness plant?

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  7. #7
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
    imported_John Smith Guest

    Thumbs up Re: Discolored water, galvanized pipe

    If thats the case, I'd buy the house.


  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Discolored water, galvanized pipe

    Galvanized pipe depending on the hardness of water may not be rusting but may be becoming restricted due to scale and minerals building up along the walls of the pipe. For lack of a better term - water sclerosis. This build up would hinder or stop the pipes from rusting from within, but will restrict flow/pressure. On the other hand as pointed out the Ph/alkalinity of the water will also affect longevity.

    You also didn't mention if the water is from a well or municipal supply again that would also play into the conditions you have reported.

    The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Discolored water, galvanized pipe

    Discolored water like you describe can also be from an old water heater and/or water that's been in the lines for a long time. If the house has sat vacant and you fire up each fixture to test it, you are essentially clearing each of the lines.

    Often times, once it's cleared it's weeks or months before it comes back. I can't recall ever seeing it just run brown for more than a few minutes. Usually, much less.

    As with the general consensus, the pipes are past their typical service life and replacement should be planned for. I have a comment about this - Generally poor performance (leakage, inconsistnet flow, etc) is common with materials of this age and should be expected until these pipes are replaced.


  10. #10
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    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    Default Re: Discolored water, galvanized pipe

    At 75+ years old the old pipes are toast!

    The rust is a sign.. You should not have rusty water flowing out of your sink. What's that movie called "Dante's Peak"!! The age is a dead give-a-way but when you find rust in old pipes they are past their prime and replacement is the only thing you can do.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  11. #11
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
    imported_John Smith Guest

  12. #12
    Robert Alexander's Avatar
    Robert Alexander Guest

    Default Re: Discolored water, galvanized pipe

    Thanks folks for the replies.

    This home failed functional flow tests at every bath and I recommended a replumb based on this and several other findings. It was a municipal supply - 115 psi at hose bib with NO water pressure regulator installed! I called this stuff out too. Certainly doesn't help the situation. Owners agreed to replumb - felt bad for them. They felt they were "wronged" by the original inspector who never mentioned any of this when the home was inspected 8 months earlier.

    Oh, later in the inspection forgot to mention when i used the handle of my screwdriver to tap on the galvanized lines in a few "suspect" places, a pipe failed.

    I hope his insurance is up to date...

    This and other things gave my client over $5,000 credit on sale. Needless to say, they were ESTATIC!


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