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How to Test for Lead

Determining if Your Water Pipes are Made from Lead

Leadpipescratch
Items needed:

Flathead screwdriver
Magnet

First, locate the water service line coming into the building. You will typically find it located in the basement and a water meter is installed on the pipe after the point of entry.

Identify a test area on the pipe between the point where it comes into your home and water meter. If the pipe is covered or wrapped, expose a small area of metal.

Use the flat edge of a screwdriver or other similar tool to scratch through any corrosion that may have built up on the outside of the pipe.

  • If the scraped area is shiny and silver, your service line is lead. A magnet will not stick to a lead pipe.
  • If the scraped area is copper in color, like a penny, your service line is copper. A magnet will not stick to a copper pipe.
  • If the scraped area remains a dull gray, and a magnet sticks to the surface, your service line is galvanized steel.

If you’re uncertain, you can always have a trusted plumber to do an inspection. You can also have your water professionally test for lead contamination.

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