Plugged pipes in the plumbing system are a surprisingly common occurrence and one that might lead to concern. Over time, deposits from the water restrict the flow similar to cholesterol building in your veins.
Just as built up cholesterol is not healthy for us personally, clogged pipes can lead to plumbing problems for your house. Leaky pipes can cause expensive water damage that may not be discovered until it’s too late and you trip over some rotten floor boards.

These tell-tale signs indicate the plumbing needs attention:

Joints sometimes create condensation when there’s a temperature differential between the water inside and air temperature/humidity outside. At times, that can get a bit mucky due to spores in the atmosphere but that sort of accumulation will usually just wipe off and is typically harmless – though condensation is best avoided through various forms of lagging etc.;
Some old joints were soldered using materials, including lead, that have now long been superseded by better and higher-tech modern products. The older products may degrade over time and that’s what might be causing the problem. It’s best not ignored but instead checked out and dealt with, if necessary, by a qualified plumber;
At times, inside the pipe you can get a chemical reaction between the water, the metal and some of the chemical components used in soldering. That can sometimes become visible externally but equally it can break off and start to circulate internally in your heating systems. That might cause inefficiencies in radiators (it often builds up at the bottom) or with pumps etc. Get the system flushed regularly and use inhibitors;
Gunk on heating pipes can also arise due to corrosion of the metal itself – particularly if you have a very old iron pipe system. This is not usually considered to be an encouraging sign and should be looked at quickly by someone who knows what they’re doing. Replacement might be advisable;
Be particularly quick to get a professional check when any substances appear to be accumulating on gas or fuel pipes feeding a heating system boiler or around any flues and ventilation. It shouldn’t be there and this is not an area you’ll want to take chances with as it can lead to dangerous situations.


No simple article of this nature can diagnose why you have accumulations of gunk on your pipes. It is probably harmless but it might not be so. Don’t gamble when in doubt in these matters, but instead call a plumber. We like to recommend these Vancouver plumbing contractors who have an untarnished reputation. You can confirm that by looking at all the customer reviews they have on their website and different places around the web.

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