residential home was commonly made of lead, a soft metal that can affect health and has the
most impact on the fetus and children under six years old. Lead was also used to solder
pipes together before 1990, and can be found in leaded-brass fixtures, such as faucets and
valves. While passing through these pipes and fixtures, lead can be added to drinking water.
In 2011, Toronto City Council approved the Lead in Drinking Water Mitigation Strategy, a
multi-pronged approach aimed at minimizing the occurrence of lead in tap water.
Components of this strategy with links to learn more can be found below.
Toronto Public Health strongly encourages residents in older homes with lead pipes to
replace their pipes as the best way to reduce their exposure to lead in drinking water and to
protect their family's health.
Toronto has a lead pipe replacement program!! Remember lead piping was used up to
mid-1950's so you might want to check the age of your home to see if it even had lead piping
For more information about lead pipes and drinking water and the replacement program click
the following links:
Galvanized Pipes were used in Toronto up to the late 1950's. They were long lasting and
relatively inexpensive. Galvanized pipes are steel pipes which have a zinc coating. As time
passed this zinc coating would slowly erode exposing the steel which eventually leads to
rusting of the pipe.
The typical lifespan of the galvanized pipe is approximately 50 years. The majority of the
piping in Toronto is already at or past the typical life expectancy. Galvanized piping has a
tendency to rust from the inside out. Which can also cause weak structural properties
causing leaks and collapses. These pipes can also become clogged with calcium deposits
which results in low water pressure and rusty water.
Insurance may be an issue! Especially with the distribution side of the plumbing system such
is to scratch the pipe using a coin or key and you will be able to see the colour of the pipe
which is silver or grey.
Check with your insurance company as to their policy on galvanized piping.
The Ontario College of Trades has a public registry for plumbers as well as 22 other trades.
You might be able to find a registered plumber on the site.
Ontario College of Trades: Click here for the Registry
Tankless water heaters also called Instantaneous or Demand Water Heaters, provide hot water
only as it is needed. Traditional storage water heaters produce standby energy losses that cost
you money. We do not leave our homes heated while vacationing. We only heat our homes
when there is a demand for heat. In the same way, a Tankless Water Heater is used only when
there is a demand for hot water.
As an inspector I do come across tankless water heaters and I don't have a stand for or against
them. I can tell you that some people have complained to me about the lack of hot water in large
homes with several washrooms, especially when multiple sinks or showers were being used at
the same time. I recommend that you have your home and specific needs properly sized to
determine the appropriate unit or units.
Here is a site which has some good information. The information should only be used as a
guide. I recommend to consult with a local tankless water heater specialist who is appropriately
licensed and make sure you ask about warranty and maintenance.
About Your House - Plumbing