Replacing lead pipe

You’ve most likely heard a lot about lead in water, and you’re probably wondering how you can tell if you have a problem. If your home was built after 1970 or has had all of its pipework replaced, then chances are, you won’t have lead pipework.
This is because, since the 1970s, lead in water pipes has been prohibited. Lead pipes are gradually being replaced in areas where they’re most familiar.
You may, however, be concerned about lead levels if you own an older property. Some towns or utilities only replace a portion of the lead pipe from the water central to the curb in front of your home – or they may leave the lead-containing connectors in place.
This begs the question – should lead pipes be replaced? If so, why? Read on to learn more about the health consequences of lead exposure, and how to reduce lead in drinking water.

Health Consequences Of Lead Exposure

Lead can be hazardous to your health – and can be especially hazardous to children. It has the potential to harm the brain and kidneys, as well as to interfere with the production of red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout the body. 
Lead causes behavioural and physical effects in children at lower exposure levels than adults, which is why infants, foetuses, and young children are especially vulnerable to lead. Lead poisoning can cause seizures, comas, and even death. 
The vast majority of children and adults that have been exposed to lead show no symptoms. Contact your healthcare provider if you believe you or your child has been exposed to lead in water. A blood lead test is the most accurate way to determine whether you or your child has been exposed to lead.

How To Check If You Use Lead Pipes

1.      Examine the pipe running towards your property by opening the flap of your outside stop valve.

2.     Examine the colour: Lead pipes that have not been painted are a dull grey.

3.     Examine the joints: Where two pipes meet, lead joints are rounded and swollen.

4.     Gently scratch the pipe: Scratches on lead pipes reveal a gleaming silver metal.

5.     Does a magnet adhere? If that’s the case, it’s made of steel.

6.     With a metal object, tap the lead pipe: Lead pipes produce a dull thud rather than the clear ringing of copper or iron pipes.

Even if you don’t have lead inside your home, there’s a chance you have a lead service line buried between your house and the water main.

There is always the likelihood that it was only replaced inside the house, so it is essential to check with the water utility or building permits for your house. 

The most dependable method of identifying buried service line material is to dig up the pipe material and work with your water system to verify the pipe material safely.

Common Ways To Reduce Lead In Drinking Water

One common way to reduce lead in drinking water is running your water. The time it takes to run the water depends on whether your home has a lead service line and how long it is.

Flush the pipe before drinking by running the water, taking a shower, doing laundry, or doing a load of dishes. 

Another method is to use cold water. This means drinking, cooking, and making baby formula should all be done with cold water. 

Keep in mind that boiling water does not remove lead from water. If you use a filter, ensure that’s certified to remove lead. Read instructions to learn how to install and use your cartridge correctly and when to replace it. 

Replacement Scheme

The health risks of having lead in your water make it necessary to replace lead pipes in your home. If you have a shared supply pipe, you and your neighbours can agree to replace the entire supply pipe together. 
Suppose your neighbours refuse to contribute to replacing the shared supply pipe. In that case, you can install a new single supply pipe from your property to where the old lead supply connects to the communication pipe. If you do this, you will be responsible for removing your old branch pipe. 
This will prevent a “dead leg” where stagnant water can collect and be drawn into neighbouring supplies. This procedure may require you to cross your neighbour’s property, in which case you must obtain their permission before proceeding. 

If you have any further queries about lead pipes, read our guide on whether lead pipes rust.

New water supply pipe using Moling in Streatham London!

Our team replaced an old lead water supply pipe to our customers property using Moling, this meant unlike traditional methods of trenching our team was able to dig three pits and use the moling machine between them. This cuts out the mess, reduces the instillation time and overall costs. The team completed a run of 15 metres from the external stop valve to a new internal stop valve in the kitchen, in under 4 hours! Our customer now has better water flow and pressure and cleaner drinking water

Gas and electric

Customer contacted our team regarding installing a new gas and electrical supply to the pool house in their garden, they currently had an old oil-fired boiler with an oil storage tank and wanted to upgrade the boiler to a new gas fired one. At the same time upgrading the current electrical supply to a larger armoured cable with a higher power rating. Overall it was a run of forty meters through a beautiful garden with slabbed paths throughout that they didn’t want taken up, our team managed to get both the new gas supply pipe and armoured cabled installed in a day without the need for an unsightly trench through the garden. Well done team!

Replacing water pipe under driveway!

Customer called looking to upgrade their water supply pipe because they had just installed a new pressurized hot water cylinder and it wasn’t achieving high enough water flow to work properly. Their plumber had recommended replacing the incoming water supply as this was a small 15mm copper pipe from the road and as they didn’t want to dig up the driveway had said moling was the probably the best option, our team attended, dug two hole one at the road where the external stop valve was and another in the garage where the cold supply already was. They then moled between these two holes and pulled through the new supply pipe, made the connections either end and installed a new internal stop valve, backfilled both holes and relayed the concrete floor in the garage and re tarmacked the driveway. The new plumbing system now works a treat!

Gas supply

Customer called with a request for us to install a new gas supply from the gas meter on the external wall, around the outside of the property along the alleyway to the garage where they were intending to install a new boiler and pressurized hot water cylinder. Their plumber had recommended us after using us before for the install of a new water supply pipe to increase the flow to a new boiler they had installed. The homeowner wanted the supply installed underground rather than a copper pipe running along the outside of the house. Our engineers only needed three pits for the moling minimizing the disturbance and cost compared to traditional trenching methods, in all the whole job took two hours.

Fibre optic cable

A customer contacted us about installing a fibre optic cable for the internet to their home office in their back garden, the home office had been put in around six months previously and although electricity, water and drainage had been put in at the time of building, they hadn’t considered installing a cable for the internet at the time. In total it was a run of around 25 meters from the rear of the property where the cable had already been run, to the back of the garden where the home office now sat, in all our team only needed three pit to enable them to mole this distance, one at either end and another in the middle of the lawn halfway between the house and the office. Once moled a duct was installed to protect the cable and the cable pulled through the duct and left coiled by the office for connection by their engineer. The guys then filled in the holes and relayed the turf, problem solved!

Fibre optic under drive

Our team were contacted and asked to install a duct for fibre broadband to our customers property, the customer had contacted their supplier about poor internet speed, and it was agreed that a new cable from the road to the house was required. Their internet provider had agreed to install the cable for free but wanted to install the cable in a green duct which they intended running across the drive along the edge of the boundary wall. Our team attended and installed a duct underground using our trenchless technology (moling) with only the need of two small hole made in the flower bed either side of the driveway. The duct was left terminating above ground at each end ready for the new cable to be installed!

Fibre cable and electric cable

One of our Building contractors who contact us on a regular basis for moling, got in touch regarding installing a new power supply and fibre optic cable to a garden room that they were building for one of their clients. They needed it to be moled from the front of the property along a side passageway, then a further forty meters to the rear of the garden to terminate out of the ground, in readiness for the new garden room. Our team installed two ducts in the ground then pulled both the new electricity cable and the fibre optic cable though the duct where their electrician made the final connections. The team backfilled the holes made for moling and then reinstated the block driveway at the front of the property to as good as new!

Cable and water pipe to Garden office

Like a lot of people during lockdown our customer had decided to build a new home office in their garden, they contacted us regarding installing a new water pipe and electric cable to the end to their garden where they intended installing the garden office. In total it was a run of around 30 meters from the side of the house along the edge of their beautifully manicured garden (which obviously they didn’t want all dug up) to where they intended the office to be. Our team arrived planned the best route to minimize the disruption, in all only needing to dig four holes a meter long and half a meter wide, they then moled twice between these holes once for the new water supply pipe and once for the new cable. Once installed they backfilled all the holes and relayed the turf making it look like it had never been disturbed.

Cable Moling

Here at External Moling Services Ltd we offer a cable and duct laying service using our high-tech moling systems in London, Essex, Surrey, Sussex, Kent and the surrounding areas.

Our Moling services are an ideal solution for all underground utilities not just water, if like many you have recently had a home garden office erected and would like electricity or water installed our moling technology is the perfect solution, far less intrusive than trenches run across your garden. impact moling is the perfect solution for providing power supplies to garden offices, sheds, out houses, etc. this is the least invasive way to lay piping, as we only need to dig small entry pit and exit pits and, in most cases, only need a pit every 10 meters.

For more information or to get a free quote contact our team.

0800 612 9605

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Replace Your Water Supply Pipe