galvanized water pipes, warning signs?

My wife and I are considering buying a 30 year old home in Houston, TX and just finished the structure inspection. The inspector pointed out that the house has galvanized water pipes and that in the attic there is one patch and one medium sized rust spot visible.
One friend, home repair guy, is of the opinion this is a deal breaker and he wouldn't buy a home with galvanized pipe without a major concession from the seller due to the possibility of leakage. Another friend, an architect and former house inspector, doesn't feel this is a big deal.
Not knowing much about plumbing, I did a bit of reading and from what I gather eventually these pipes will have to be replaced buy it probably isn't an urgent issue since there are no current problems and the house is in otherwise great shape.
Does anyone else have any strong opinions on this?
thanks, Eddie
--
Eddie McCreary Outside of a dog, a book is a man\'s best
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@heorot.org friend. Inside of a dog, it\'s too dark
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Galvanized water pipes in a 30 year old house? Are you sure?
friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
they will be a problem sooner or later subject to their age and your local water properties. for a perfect answer hire a plumber to replace the main shutoff in the basement and have a look at the pipes. the accumulation is most significant at elbows and reducer fittings and shutoffs. in buffalo ny we have nice lake erie drinking water and no softener required, no odd minerals or smells in the water. our 1910 rental property double house that was purchased in 1974 had all galvanized pipes that had the problem of significantly reduced waterflow with a couple of minor drips around the basement. back then many had to be replaced as they become completely blocked. a few are still in use. they fill up the interior pipe diameter to smaller than a pencil diameter. also: if copper is connected directly the galvanic action begins and corrosion begins at the connection where a dielectric coupling should have been used. a 1955 house in south buffalo we bought has copper plumbing from when it was built. let us know how the gallons per minute vary between the basement washtub hot and cold and the bathtub upstairs hot and cold. take a water pressure meter along. check with the neighbors and the city about water pipes and construction dates.
more reading of messages about galvanized water pipes at: http://groups.google.com/group/alt.home.repair/search?group=alt.home.repair&q=galvanized+water+pipes&qt_g=1&searchnow=Search+this+group
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You came to the correct conclusion. They will probably have to be replaced eventually. The cost of replacement depends on how many are accessible. Before you sign anything, hire a LOCAL plumber. Pay him for his advice and ask for an estimate. He also may know of some stupid local plumbing code that requires galvanized.
friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Eddie McCreary wrote:

I agree with Bob in that you should have a local plumber take a look and give you some information. I would want the whole lot replaced. It appears the pipes have reached the end of their useful life (based on the water conditions in your area) so repairs are just going to be followed by more repairs.
Now you need to decide about the house. Add in the cost of refitting and add to the value of the house the security of new plumbing and ask yourself if the price (including the replacement work) sounds like a good deal for that house with nice new plumbing. If not, make a offer adjusted for what you do believe it is worth.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Get some plumber quotes for replacing all the galvanized with PEX, its pretty easy to run and is durable.
now deduct that cost from your home price, since it will be necessary sooner or later.
I hope your getting a complete home inspection! You can beat the seller up on price, and anything found on your inspection HAS to be disclosed to every shopper if you dont buy.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks for the followups...
This house doesn't have a basement, the water table is too high here in Houston, very, very few homes have them.
The inspector says that the pipes are galvanized and I know of several other houses in the general area that had galvanized pipes, so I have no reason to think they're made of anything else.
I am considering getting a plumber to give a repiping estimate as a barganing tool.
thanks, Eddie
--
Eddie McCreary Outside of a dog, a book is a man\'s best
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@heorot.org friend. Inside of a dog, it\'s too dark
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I've had trouble getting homeowner's insurance because of old galvanized piping (San Francisco Bay Area). I had to replace it to get coverage (at attractive premiums). Perhaps I could have eventually found a company to cover the galvanized but all in all it seemed preferable to replace the pipes (which I think, but don't know, were original to the 1925 house.)
Eddie McCreary wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Eddie McCreary wrote:

I have galvanised pipe in my house which is about 35 years old and it still looks to be in good condition. The pipe won't rust through in the life of the house. Only problem you might get is sometimes the joints which are teflon tape or similar can deteriorate and drip.
If you can't find any drips, I wouldn't be concerned about it.
They will probably last another 20 years without any problems.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.