Rust is that four-letter word that normally ends up spelling disaster for householders – when it comes to water or gas pipes rusting.
Rusting downpipes, gutters and steel roofing are obvious, but not so the pipes that supply water and gas for your home.
While galvanised iron water pipes are largely redundant in the building industry they still exist in many household plumbing systems.
Most householders don’t understand how rust affects metal piping. As galvanised pipes age they start rusting internally, eventually clogging.
Householders get plenty of warning of rusted mains pipes as they produce discoloured water with a metallic taste. This is not harmful but an indication that piping will need to be replaced sooner rather than later.
The situation is quite different with gas piping. Seldom are there any warning signs. Gas can start leaking through tiny pinholes long before the corrosion is spotted.
Contact a Sharpe Group specialist, who can perform quick and simple tests to determine if a gas pipe is leaking.
In the meantime you can do a simple surface scratch test to determine if you have galvanised pipes. Scratching will reveal a silver or grey colour on galvanised, while copper pipes will shine with a reddish-brown hue.
Still feeling a bit complacent about the dangers?
In 2010 a gas pipeline explosion in a San Francisco suburb resulted in a 300m high wall of fire and a shockwave the equivalent of a small earthquake.
Residents, emergency crews and the news media initially thought a jet airplane had crashed.