When To Replace Lead Pipes With Plastic

July 28, 2017

Lead pipes were commonplace in the past, with the cheap, malleable properties of lead providing what appeared to be a perfect material to construct water mains and domestic water supply pipes. Fast forward to the 20th century and our increasing understanding of the dangers of lead saw legislation introduced preventing its use. 

Most houses that have had modernisation work undertaken since 1970, including all the pipes from the water main to the kitchen, should be lead free. However, many houses are still serviced by potentially dangerous lead pipes. Whilst the risks associated with lead piping can be managed to a degree, it is important to consider replacing outdated pipework with safer plastic pipes. 

So how do you know if your pipes are made of lead?

Lead pipes are dull grey in colour and tend to lack the sharp lines of modern pipes. Lead is soft and easily scratched to reveal a bright, shiny silver surface underneath – this is usually a good way to check. Of course, if you’re in doubt or are unsure how to access your pipes, get in touch with a professional who can check it out for you. 

If you do realise you have lead pipes, when is a good time to replace them?

Most would argue the sooner the better – no one wants to risk their health through a contaminated water supply. In our experience, any time you are already having work done on your home is ideal opportunity to update your water supply as it minimises overall disruption. This is particularly true if you are considering installing a new kitchen. To us, it makes perfect sense to make the most of this opportunity to swap from lead pipes to plastic pipes. 

It’s also worth chatting to your neighbours. It can be prudent to join forces and minimise disruption further. If others down your street are having to replace their lead pipes, it is a good indicator you may need to as well.

If you’re not sure exactly what the best options are when it comes to replacing old fashioned lead water mains and pipes, get in touch with us at RPD. We’re more than happy to answer your questions and provide impartial advice to ensure you chose the right options for your water supply. 


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