Galvanized steel plumbing was commonly used in the 1950’s +. The lifespan of galvanized steel is approximately 50 – 75 years, but it is usually replaced before they spring a leak. Water from galvanized steel pipes may contain rust and supply discoloured water.
Many insurance companies in Ontario will not insure a home with galvanized plumbing or lead pipes.
In most of Canada, the amount of lead in natural water supplies is very low, but lead can enter the water supply in your home from old lead service connections (pipes) or lead solder in the plumbing. Water filters can be installed which can possibly remedy the situation.
Homes built before 1950 often have lead pipes. Also, lead solder was used for plumbing until 1990 when the National Plumbing Code of Canada no longer allowed its use in new drinking water plumbing or in repairs.
Concerned that your home may have lead pipes? Lead cannot be seen, tasted, or smelled if it is dissolved in water, but if you suspect that your water supply may be contaminated by lead, or if you are not sure about the condition of your water, it should be tested to make sure that lead levels are within a safe range. Home test kits are available but may not provide accurate results regarding lead levels in your water. For a complete accurate evaluation of your water supply, a certified laboratory should perform the testing. Check with your regional/municipal office to guide you through the water testing process.
Many towns and cities have programs to replace lead service lines. To find out if your home has a lead service line, contact your municipality. One of these programs exists in Toronto, to assist the homeowner with leaded pipes . The program exists for residents wanting to replace the entire lead pipe that supplies water to their home. The property owner is required to replace the privately-owned section of the lead pipe at the same time or before the City-owned portion, the City commits to replacing the City-owned pipes in up to 12 weeks.