Galvanized steel pipes are a type of plumbing pipe that was once commonly used for plumbing purposes. If you’re curious about galvanized steel pipes and want to learn more about it, this blog post is for you. In this post, we will discuss what galvanized steel pipes are, the different types of galvanizing processes, their applications, and the risks of using galvanized steel pipes. So if you’re interested in learning about this topic, keep reading!
What are galvanized steel pipes?
Galvanized steel pipes, also known as black steel pipes, are metal tubes that consist of carbon and iron. Other elements like silicon and manganese can be included in the ingredients depending on the purpose and desired performance (and price) of the finished product.
Zinc is commonly used to galvanize or coat these metal tubes. The galvanizing process of steel pipes involves immersing the metal tubes into a bath containing molten zinc at 450 degrees Fahrenheit. After several minutes, the hot-dip galvanizing process is complete and the end product is referred to as an EN (Euro Norm) or ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) standard depending on where it is made.
Types of galvanizing processes for plumbing pipes
There are many different types of galvanizing processes depending on the desired results or performance of the finished product. The most popular methods include hot-dip galvanizing, electroplating, mechanical plating, and plastic coating.
Hot-dip galvanizing is currently considered to be one of the best ways to galvanize steel pipes due to its durability and corrosion resistance. The method involves immersing the metal into a bath of molten zinc in 450 degrees Fahrenheit. This process is completed when the steel tube (or EN (Euro Norm) or ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials)) standard material is coated with approximately 30 to 40 microns of pure zinc.
Electroplating is another popular way to galvanize steel tubes due to its high-quality finish and relatively cheap cost compared to other methods such as hot-dip galvanization. Electroplating uses electrical currents in order to deposit a thin layer of chromium, nickel or zinc on top of an already existing metal surface.
Mechanical plating, also called mechanical polishing, is a low-cost alternative that involves adding a thin layer of zinc using an abrasive blasting (shot peening) method. This type of galvanizing process is not as popular due to its lower quality finish and tendency to flake or peel off.
Plastic coating is the least-used method for galvanizing steel tubes since it has limited functionality and poor corrosion resistance.
Applications for galvanized steel pipes
After being galvanized, these metal tubes can be used for several different purposes such as: water pipes, gas pipes, chemical piping, sanitary piping, HVAC tubing, and industrial tubing. They are commonly used in building construction and the development of water systems since they’re extremely durable and last longer than other types of piping such as PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or copper piping.
A common application of galvanized steel pipes is for water and gas systems in building constructions. Since they’re corrosion-resistant, steel pipes are ideal for plumbing and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) applications where durability is a must. They also make great chemical piping since they can withstand high levels of corrosions and rust better than other types of piping.
Benefits of using galvanized steel pipes
There are many benefits to using galvanized steel pipes such as outstanding corrosion resistance, low cost compared to other materials such as PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or copper, high durability and strength, and efficient thermal transmission properties. Since they’re not susceptible to corrosion or rusting, these metal tubes can be used in both indoor and outdoor applications. They are also lightweight, easy to install, flexible enough to easily go around corners but strong enough to resist blows during earthquakes or extreme weather conditions.
Drawbacks of using galvanized steel pipes
Although galvanized steel pipes are generally long-lasting and perfect for many different applications, there are some drawbacks to using this type of piping. Due to the pure zinc coating, hot-dip galvanized steel tubes can develop small pinholes or dents over time due to corrosion (in the case of water systems) or heavy blow (in the case of gas systems). While these small dents or holes may not be a big issue with water and gas piping systems, they can create problems such as leaking if used in plumbing applications.
Some people also complain about the metallic taste of the hot-dip galvanized steel pipes which typically results from chemicals or heavy metals released due to corrosion. This might not be a big issue since the steel tubes are often used for gas piping systems, but it’s important to note that metal taste is still considered harmful especially for cooking purposes.
Hot-dip galvanized steel pipes have also been known to release heavy metals into the air or water, although this typically occurs when exposed to large amounts of heat or if they are already corroded. This can be a serious issue for people living in close proximity to these metal tubes, especially when it comes to hot-dip galvanized steel water lines.
Can galvanized steel pipe be used for water?
Yes, galvanized steel pipe can also be used in water supply systems although they are mainly used for cold supply. Like other metal pipes, hot-dip galvanized steel water lines may release some chemicals or heavy metals into the air or water due to corrosion. While this doesn’t pose a big issue when it comes to cooking purposes, it still poses a risk.
Is galvanized steel pipe safe for drinking water?
This is a complicated question that depends on the type of galvanized steel pipes used, how they’re installed, and how long you’ve had these metal tubes. Since all types of hot-dip galvanized steel piping contain zinc (which can leach into water), it’s likely for these metal lines to release some chemicals or heavy metals into the water. While it’s generally safe to consume water from galvanized steel pipes, these tubes may pose a risk for people with prolonged exposure such as those living in close proximity or for families that use hot-dip galvanized steel water lines for extended periods of time (more than 2 years).
Can galvanized steel pipe be used for natural gas?
Yes. Hot-dip galvanized steel piping is the preferred choice for natural gas systems because it cannot corrode, rust, or expand in temperature which can lead to wasted energy. It’s also easy to install and lightweight enough to bend around corners without splitting or deforming (although this seems like an impossible task).