Learning About Lead

Lead in Your Home's Plumbing System?

Is There Lead in Your Home's Plumbing System?

  • Lead is a very malleable metal - it bends, twists and turns without breaking, which made it a very flexible product to use for plumbing - that is, before its toxic effects became fully known and understood.
  • Some houses may have lead service lines (with a few exceptions, most were installed in homes built before 1930) and/or lead plumbing lines, and up until 1986, lead solder (it’s silver or grey) was used to join home plumbing lines.
  • Home-testing kits can be purchased at hardware and home supply stores and used to check for lead on the surface of soldered joints.
  • A small lead content also was used in brass fittings and in water faucets installed before 2014.
  • Lead can leach into drinking water through corrosion - the dissolving or wearing away of metal caused by a chemical reaction between water and plumbing that contains lead.
  • This could be the plumbing lines and fixtures in your home - its pipes, solder, fixtures, faucets (brass) and fittings. 
  • If any lead is leaching into your water, the amount will depend on the types and amounts of minerals in the water, the length of time the water stays in the pipes, how corrosive the water is, and its temperature.

Mini-Flush Leaching Lead

  • The chance of lead leaching into your water is greater when the water has been standing in your home's pipes for several hours.
  • If your home has lead service or plumbing lines, brass fittings, lead solder or older faucets, be on the safe side and run the water for 30 seconds to two (2) minutes first thing in the morning and again after school / work.
  • This will flush standing water from your plumbing system, and bring in new, cool water from our water main.
  • This is especially important if you've been away from home for several days or weeks.
  • To conserve water, you can capture and use the flushing water for laundry and cleaning, watering your plants and lawn, and washing your car - just don't drink it or use it for cooking.