The first fully integrated plumbing systems in an urban environment were developed by the Romans in around 52 A.D. The system consisted of a series of aqueducts, public bathing facilities and bronze, as well as lead piping which both supplied fresh water - and transported sewage from homes.
Of course, times have changed - but even today we see innovation - and the evolution of how plumbing systems are constructed - including the materials that are used in piping. However, there is still an argument over which type of material is best suited for piping. This argument is around the suitability of galvanized steel vs iron piping.
There are several advantages to using galvanized steel - which is steel coated with zinc. The zinc coating protects the steel from the effects of corrosion. It can also be referred to as galvanized iron pipe.
There are several advantages to using this type of piping therefore it local 24 Hr. emergency plumbers favorite choose. Firstly, it may be employed for a variety of uses. These can include outdoor installations such as handrails or decorative (or simply functional) fencing - or for use to transport water or effluent in indoor plumbing systems.
The advantages of the zinc coating are primarily to prevent the buildup of rust. The zinc layer provides extra added protection to iron - which is normally highly reactive in the presence of oxygen and water.
There is another advantage to the use of galvanized steel - that is cost. It is much cheaper to produce than other types of piping. The reason this is that is it far less labor intensive to produce. It is also incredibly tough - this type of piping has been known to last up to half a century when used for rural installation. Even in urban areas where use is much more intensive, it can last more than two decades. It is also remarkably easy to inspect - a visual inspection of galvanized steel is easily accomplished- ever by the layperson.
However, as with most products constructed from iron and steel, there are downsides to its use. No matter how careful the construction or the tolerances that are used to ensure the quality of the manufacture it is inevitable that this type of piping will degrade over time. The zinc coating that is used will still allow for corrosion over time. This usually occurs from the interior of the pipe - eventually leading to the failure of the installation. Once the degradation of that layer begins there is also a danger of metal contamination to drinking water. The minerals produced as the piping begins to corrode also tend to build up on the interior of the pipe. This can eventually lead to a complete blockage of the piping - and water flow that is not optimal.
However - regular inspection - and the low cost of this type of piping makes it one of the most cost-effective of piping systems - both above and below ground.