Alban Home Inspection Service

 All About Lead Pipes

Lead pipe is softer than galvanized pipe. It produces a duller sound and, when scratched, reveals a silver-gray color. Because it is so soft, lead pipe is not threaded together. Instead, the piping has wiped lead joints. These appear to be a spherical bulge within the pipe.
Lead pipe was used as the supply line from the water main to the house up
until the mid 1950s (and is still in use, in some houses). Many old lead pipes are connected to a steel pipe or galvanized nipple which is in contact with the soil. Unfortunately, this piping is subject to exterior corrosion and interior rusting. Once a leak occurs, this section of pipe will have to be replaced. The condition of a supply pipe is difficult to ascertain, since it is not easily viewed by an inspector. 
In earlier years, lead was used as a component in solder for copper pipes, but this solder has
been banned since the 1980s. Today, most solder is lead-free or 95/5 (tin-to-lead ratio). Solder containing lead is not as risky as lead piping itself. With age, a build-up of such things as oxides or minerals in the pipe’s surface reduces the risk of contamination. 
There are various ways a homeowner can minimize the amount of lead contamination
coming through his pipes. First, he should run water three to five minutes before drinking. He should never use hot water for drinking or cooking, as hot water leaches lead from the pipe or solder. He should also have the water analyzed for lead content.



Roof Replacement

One of the most predominant features of a house is its roof, so potential buyers are sure to have it inspected before signing that purchase agreement. A wise homeowner will replace a worn or shoddy roof before putting the home on the market to assure his dwelling’s marketability. There is no "set age" at which a roof should be replaced. However, there are several clues that indicate a roof has passed its prime in terms of serviceability. One obvious clue is leaking. If a roof has numerous leaks, water damage is quick to follow. As soon as the leaks start dripping, a smart homeowner will have his roof replaced. The condition of the shingles is another indication of the condition of the roof. If there are numerous shingles missing, or if those in place are loose, broken or curled, a new roof may be in order. Likewise, if the mineral surface of asphalt shingles has worn through to the backing, it may be time to call the roofer. Even when the aging isn’t so obvious, homeowners should routinely check the health of asphalt shingles. A simple method of doing this is to bend a corner or one or two shingles on the sunniest side of the house. If the roofing material does not flex, and it crumbles or breaks, the roof needs to be replaced. Of course, the structure of the dwelling precludes the necessity of a quick replacement. If the home has a steep roof, the worn roofing will last longer than similar roofing on a shallow-sloped roof. Of course, when the home is on the market, it will be an easier sell if the roof is in its best condition — or replaced.




Note: This newsletter is for informational purposes only. When getting involved with a project, please work within your ability. If you need help with a contractor or with any other home-related issue, please contact Alban Home Inspection Service with any questions. Thank You.

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