Do I need to replace the galvanized pipes in my home?

Galvanized pipes, which have been used for decades, are made of steel with a zinc coating, inside and out, to prevent the steel from rusting. But over the decades, minerals in water gradually eat away at the zinc, and the coating itself wears out from the friction of passing water. Wherever the zinc wears through, rust can develop and build up. Rust takes up more space than steel, so the corrosion eventually fills the pipe. “It’s a rusty, crusty mess,” says Tim Whistler, owner of Tim Whistler Plumbing & Gas Fitting (301-648-9676; timwhistlerplumbing.com), which operates in parts of Maryland and Washington.

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