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Lead Pipe Replacement

In many parts of the UK, pre-1970 properties make up the majority of the housing stock, and are a popular buy for those looking for slightly larger rooms, and bigger gardens. While the extra space may be a bonus, as time has gone on, certain building materials have been discontinued in later properties, for a variety of health and safety reasons.

A little lead pipe history

For many years stretching back pre-war, lead piping was used in almost every property to carry water from the street mains, through to the cold water taps. However, the dangers of using lead piping to carry water were discovered way back in the early 1900s, but its use continued in the UK and Europe right up to the late 1960s.

With increasing evidence regarding the damage that could be done by ingesting lead, across the UK and European continent lead piping has been banned in new builds since 1970, due to the health risk of lead building up in the human body, with young children and infants being most at risk. The use of lead has also been prohibited in a variety of products, including paints and petrol.

Is lead pipework dangerous?

If you mean are you likely to drop to the floor in convulsions after your next glass of water, then no. However, medical science has proven that over time, the level of lead in the body can rise to unsafe levels if continuously drinking water supplied through lead pipes, with the greatest threat being to younger family members.

Luckily, in most areas of the UK we have hard water, water which is high in minerals and calcium. It is this calcium which builds up in washing machines, dishwashers and kettle elements. It also forms in lead pipes, building a barrier between the water and lead piping, and helping reduce the amount of lead that can leach into your drinking water. Nonetheless, for a long term solution and peace of mind, having lead pipes replaced with plastic should be on the to-do list.

Checking your home for lead pipework

Depending on the age of your home, lead water pipes are likely to run from your water company’s main stop cock (just outside your property’s boundary), to the stop cock inside your house. This can usually be found under the kitchen sink, or in a downstairs toilet. In older properties, the lead pipework may even stretch to your downstairs kitchen cold water tap.

The areas to check for lead pipework are under the kitchen sink, before it disappears underground. Or outside, where the pipe to your home branches from the water company’s main pipe. If lead, the pipe will be soft, and a dull grey colour. Using a coin or kitchen knife, scrape the pipe, if the underlying colour is shiny silver, the pipe is lead. Access can sometimes prove difficult, especially accessing the water company’s inspection pit. For all lead pipe replacement, call the experts, contact a professional plumbing company, call No1PHD! We are specialists in lead pipe replacement, replacing it with the latest plastic or PVC pipework.


Replacing the old lead pipework in your home

If you’ve recently moved into your home, and have only just realised your water mains feed pipework is lead, don’t panic. Try to remember to run the cold tap for a few seconds before filling the kettle or taking a glass of water. You might also consider contacting a specialist plumbing and pipe replacement business such as No1PHD.

Located in most areas of the UK, No1PHD has years of experience in all areas of the plumbing, heating and drainage industry, and are happy to arrange a visit to survey your home’s pipework to determine how much is lead, what needs replacing, and the condition of the remaining pipework. Because the pipework runs underground from the mains to your house, the job will require some trench work, and No1PHD will arrange with you the best time to undertake the work with minimum disruption to your daily routine. Call now on 08006906777 or email us at, for instant reply.

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After noticing that the house was unusually cold, we found that the heating wasn’t coming on and that our hot water had also failed. We called the team at No 1 PHD who dispatched an engineer to investigate. After discovering that the culprit was a faulty boiler part, they ordered in a new part and got it fitted as quickly as possible. The guys were great, and we couldn’t be happier.

Mr Lincoln

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For days, we’ve noticed a foul smell coming from outside and a gurgling sound coming from one of the drains. Whenever it would rain, the area around it would flood slightly and take ages to drain. We tried buying drain unblockers, but none seemed effective. Eventually, we turned to No 1 PHD and were left wondering why we didn’t do this sooner.

Mrs Griffin

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