Lead Pipe Replacement
Lead pipe work has been used in plumbing since roman times. Indeed the word Plumbing has it’s origins in the Latin word "Plumbum" meaning lead, or more accurately "soft metals".
In the UK lead pipe work was phased out from 1960 and became illegal for new installations  in 1969. Lead soldering was outlawed in 1987, though there is evidence that it is still being used by unscrupulous plumbers.

Historically lead was quite common in the environment due to it being used in paint, petrol and plumbing. As better understanding of the risks to human health of lead was gained so European wide legislation to remove lead from use came into place.

Lead does not occur naturally in Edinburgh mains water and should only really reach maximum acceptable levels (10 milligrams per litre) if it has been in prolonged contact with lead service pipes (i.e. the pipes supplying water to your property), lead lined tanks or lead soldered joints. If you suspect there may be lead in the pipe work of your property it is advisable to run water for a couple for minutes if it has been standing for a period of a few hours or more. 

As well as the health hazards of lead pipe work in your house there is also an increased risk of leaking or bursting pipes due to relatively higher pressures for modern plumbing compared to when lead pipe work was permissible.

What to do if you suspect there may be lead pipe work in your home.

It is worth doing a visual inspection first. If you find something you suspect is lead but are not sure, scratch it with a finger nail or gently with a sharp object. It will be soft and reveal a shiny silver colour if it is lead.

Scottish Water will test for lead levels, however they will only replace lead pipe work up to the boundary of your property. Anything within the property is the owner’s responsibility. Even if internal plumbing has been replaced it is worth checking that underground pipes are not lead.

How much will it cost to replace lead pipe work in my home?

This is really an impossible question to answer. It will depend on the how much pipe work is to be replaced, where the new pipe work is to run and how accessible these areas are. So probably, more than £500 but less than £5000 for an Edinburgh tenement.

Grants are available in some instances.

If you would like to receive an estimate from an experienced and reliable HomeForce plumber to replace lead pipe work in your property you can contact HomeForce on 0131 315 0000.

Additional Sources Of Information