Do I need to replace my lead pipes?
Older homes in the Toronto area may still have lead pipes. If your home was built before 1970, there is a good chance it had lead pipes installed. They may still be there unless they were recently replaced. Drinking water from lead pipes is considered dangerous, especially to children and mothers of unborn babies. Therefore, it is recommended that you replace any and all lead pipes in your home.
How can I tell if my pipes are lead?
It is possible that the pipes inside your home are not lead, but the supply pump, which brings water to your house form the main water line, is lead. The best way to know is to call a plumber, who can check your pipes for you. To check them yourself, however, you need to know what you’re looking for. Underneath any paint, lead pipes are grey, and are relatively soft. If you were to scratch the pipe with another object, a mark will easily appear on the pipe. It is important to check the pipes inside your home as well as the supply pipe if you think there’s a chance that any of the pipes are lead. They will all have an affect on your drinking water.
How do I replace the pipes?
Replacing pipes can be a big job, and is best left to professionals. Whether all of the pipes in your home are lead, or just the supply pipe from the main water line is, replacing them yourself will be very difficult. Calling a plumber from Waterman Inc. will ensure that the job is done safely and correctly, with minimal disruption to the rest of your home.
What can I do in the mean time?
While waiting for your pipes to be replaced, there are things you can do to minimize the effects of drinking your tap water. If you haven’t run the water in a few hours, be sure to flush your pipes before using the tap water. You can do this by running the water for a solid minute. Installing a filter on your tap will also reduce the amount of lead that comes through. There are filters on the market that advertise lead reduction or removal. Similarly, you can boil your water. If you have a baby, use boiled, bottled, or filtered water in formula.
Will the City replace my pipes for me?
In Toronto, you are responsible for the portion of your pipes that is on your property, which means that you will have to replace any lead pipes that are on your own land. If you find that your supply pipe, coming from the main city waterline, is lead, you will have to replace the privately-owned portion yourself, but you should also notify the City that the pipe is lead, and request that they replace the publicly-owned portion. This may take up to a few months for them to do, so you will want to use water filters and other means to reduce the amount of lead you consume from the lead pipes in your water supply in the mean time.
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