Galvanized Pipes

In older buildings with galvanized pipes, boards should set aside reserves for replacing the galvanized lines with copper. Boards cannot ignore the fact that properties built with galvanized pipes are nearly always subject to leaks and internal corrosion and sediment buildup leading to declining water pressure and flow problems. If boards decide to replace some lines with copper and not the others, mixing copper with galvanized pipes usually leads to galvanic corrosion between the dissimilar metals which speeds the deterioration of the pipes. As a result, partial replacement of galvanized lines is not a good and permanent solution to the problem.

Insurance carriers generally will not pay for damage from water leaks if it determines that the damage was due to the board's failure to replace failing lines. Insurance will normally pay for sudden unexpected losses but not losses where the board knew about the problem and took no action to correct it. Other carriers will pay for the damage but by the third of fourth leak, will cancel the policy. Once canceled, the premiums for new insurance will be significantly higher sometimes by a factor of 3 or 4.

Boards should set aside funds in reserves for the complete replacen1ent of galvanized steel water lines with copper pipes. Otherwise, the association will face potential litigation and large special assessments when the leaks start to accelerate in future years.

Pacific-Coast Property Services