Americans and Canadians usually take excellent water and sewer service for granted even though the bills for water tend to keep climbing. From cooking in the kitchen, doing laundry, or brushing our teeth, the functions of the plumbing system almost go unnoticed...until something goes wrong. Most plumbing systems are connected to public water supply and sewer systems but older homes and country properties may be serviced by private systems. Private systems are almost always going to be more problematic and hence expensive to operate and maintain than public systems.
Private systems usually have a limited life expectancy and when/if they need to be replaced, a new well can cost $10,000.00 or more, while a high-tech septic system usually starts at $15,000.00 and up. These replacements rarely present themselves as options and are frequently major budget busters.
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This is what the inside of a galvanized steel supply pipe looks like. This pipe has been cut through to display the build-up of corrosion within the pipe itself. It is this corrosion which tends to clog the pipe closed over time.
Galvanized steel supply pipes like this are commonly found in houses built before 1950. The supply of water through the piping gradually lessens as the corrosion builds up. Another common problem tends to happen with old galvanized steel supply piping is called "pin hole" leakage - water squirting through a small hole in the sidewall of the piping. This type of leakage is relatively unpredictable and is why some insurance companies will not insure houses which have old galvanized steel supply piping.
While galvanized piping was largely supplanted by copper tubing in the 1950s, it has been used in various areas well into the 1980s. It's threaded on the ends and assembled into systems via threaded fittings. It tends to be a dull gray in color and will usually show a more silver color when scratched. Magnet stick to galvanized steel piping.