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The Case Against Galvanized Piping in Domestic Water Systems

Galvanized steel pipe is protected by a layer deposited by hard water, but may suffer corrosion in soft water. Presented are case studies of corrosion in galvanized water piping in a stadium, hotel, and county government building. Details of corrosion mechanism and mitigation strategies are also discussed.

Product Number: 51317--9398-SG
ISBN: 9398 2017 CP
Author: Catherine Noble
Publication Date: 2017
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Galvanized steel pipe is a very common material used in domestic water systems primarily for larger pipe diameters (3-inch diameter and above) due to the expense of copper pipe. While galvanized pipe is allowed in most building codes it has corrosion issues when used for hot softened water service. The low mineral content in soft water is desirable for drinking water and reducing scale build-up but detrimental to corrosion resistance. When the minerals are left in the water they react with the galvanized layer to form a protective oxide on the internal pipe surface. Without that protective layer the pipes are significantly more susceptible to corrosion. Presented in this paper are case studies of corrosion issues in galvanized water piping one in a stadium and one in a hotel. Details of the corrosion mechanism and mitigation strategies are also discussed.

Key words: galvanized pipe, domestic water system, soft water, corrosion

Galvanized steel pipe is a very common material used in domestic water systems primarily for larger pipe diameters (3-inch diameter and above) due to the expense of copper pipe. While galvanized pipe is allowed in most building codes it has corrosion issues when used for hot softened water service. The low mineral content in soft water is desirable for drinking water and reducing scale build-up but detrimental to corrosion resistance. When the minerals are left in the water they react with the galvanized layer to form a protective oxide on the internal pipe surface. Without that protective layer the pipes are significantly more susceptible to corrosion. Presented in this paper are case studies of corrosion issues in galvanized water piping one in a stadium and one in a hotel. Details of the corrosion mechanism and mitigation strategies are also discussed.

Key words: galvanized pipe, domestic water system, soft water, corrosion

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