In times past, lead was one of the most common metals used with different types of plumbing. While other materials are now more popular for certain applications, lead can still be used for certain purposes. Here are three examples that explain why some plumbers continue to buy lead ingots and keep them on hand for quick melting.
Sealing the seams between two sections of cast iron pipe used to be managed by melting lead and applying it to the outside of the seams. This approach was used in both residential and commercial settings. In some cases, it’s still used to seal seams for pipes that protect electrical wiring. The seal is sturdy and holds up well over the years.
The same general idea applies to joining vents. It’s possible to buy lead ingots in blocks of 25 pounds and break them into smaller sections. That makes it easy to melt as many sections as necessary to create a tight seal between the vents. When done properly, the seal will last for quite a few years.
While less common today, it’s possible to buy lead ingots, melt the lead, and then use it to seal minor breaks in a section of lead pipe. Just as the lead can be used to create tight seals at joints, the material effectively plugs tiny holes along the body of the pipe. Like the other applications, it’s important to allow the lead to set before allowing water, waste, or other materials to flow through the pipeline.
Remember that the use of lead in plumbing is not the only application for the ingots. They can also be helpful with a number or roofing repairs and installations. Talk with an expert to learn more about how to put those ingots to good use. There will be several applications that surprise you.