Is There Lead In Your Plumbing Pipes? Here's What You Need To Know

27 February 2023
 Categories: , Blog


If you're like many modern homeowners, you may believe that lead in household tap water is a thing of the past — after all, even though lead pipes were once common in many homes, they were banned in the United States in 1986 due to their harmful effects on health. However, many homes built before this time may still have lead pipes, which can leach lead into the drinking water.

Here are some signs that your plumbing pipes may have lead in them.

Age of Your Home

If your home was built before 1986, there is a higher likelihood that your plumbing pipes contain lead. However, even if your home was built after 1986, it is possible that some of the plumbing fixtures or solder may contain lead. A recent report by American Public Media shows that levels of lead in household tap water may be significantly higher than average.

Water Discoloration

If your water appears discolored or rusty, it could be a sign that your pipes are corroded and leaching lead. However, water discoloration can also be caused by other factors such as sediment buildup or a problem with the municipal water supply.

Taste or Smell

If your water has a metallic taste or smell, it could be a sign of lead contamination. However, lead in water does not typically have a distinct taste or odor, so this sign may not always be present.

Health Effects

Lead exposure can have serious health effects, especially in children and pregnant women. If you or a family member have experienced symptoms such as abdominal pain, headaches, or fatigue, it is important to see a doctor and consider having your water tested for lead.

The best way to determine if your plumbing pipes contain lead is to have your water tested by a certified laboratory. You can contact your local health department or a private laboratory to request a water test.

Reducing Potential Exposure

If you suspect that your plumbing pipes may contain lead, there are several steps you can take to reduce your exposure. First, run your water for at least 30 seconds before using it for drinking or cooking. This can help flush out any lead that may have accumulated in the pipes. Additionally, consider installing a water filtration system that is certified to remove lead. Finally, if your plumbing pipes do contain lead, it is recommended that you have them replaced by a licensed plumber.

Contact a lead testing service near you to learn more.