Chicago Attempts to Fix its Lead Problem

lead pipes

Chicago is one of the last cities to stop using lead in the service lines. It was so widely used that it wasn't until 1986 when congress officially banned the practice that Chicago stopped using it. Now over 400,000 homes in Chicago are using lead service lines, that's 4x more than Detroit. They anticipate replacing 2,400 homes per year for 45 million per year.

Today the Chicago Tribune featured the plans and objectives of the city. You can read it here.

Is there a safe lead limit?
The EPA measures what limits of contaminants are consumable without adverse health reactions. These health goals are based on possible health risks and adequate margins of safety. In the case of lead, the EPA has ruled that zero is the maximum contaminant level for drinking water because lead is toxic and accumulates in the body over time.

Adverse Health Effects of Lead

In Children
Even low levels of lead in the blood of children can result in:
Behavior and learning problems
Lower IQ and hyperactivity
Slowed growth
Hearing problems
In rare cases, the ingestion of lead can cause seizures, coma, and even death.

In Pregnant Women
Reduced growth of the fetus
Premature birth
Find out more about lead's effects on pregnancy:
Effects of Workplace Hazards on Female Reproductive Health (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
Lead can also be transmitted through breast milk. Read more on lead exposure in pregnancy and lactating women (PDF) (302 pp, 4.3 MB, About PDF)

In Adults
Lead is also harmful to adults. Adults exposed to lead can suffer from:
Cardiovascular effects increased blood pressure and incidence of hypertension.
Decreased kidney function.
Reproductive problems (in both men and women).

If you have an old lead service line (from the street to your home) and you want it replaced, give Green Tech Plumbing a call. We've been serving the Northwestern Suburbs for more than a decade. We can help you change out that water service line from Lead to Copper, type K, which meets or exceeds building codes in all fifty states.

New Home Plumbing Inspections

Should You Get New Home Plumbing Inspection?

Yes, you definitely should.

Purchasing a new home is a major financial decision that can be great for you and your family. But, a house plagued with plumbing problems can quickly turn from a dream into a nightmare. An in-depth plumbing inspection from Green Tech Plumbing gives you peace of mind and confidence in your purchase. Informed buyers can get better deals by negotiating costly repairs before the closing. A professional plumbing inspection will help give you the knowledge needed to make an informed purchase. This blog article will cover our process in addition to providing a few tips you can use to protect yourself during the purchase.

1.) Camera The Sewer

Sending a camera down into the storm/sewer system doesn't have a downside. If the sewer system is clear you can rest easy. If the plumber discovers a major problem it's better to know now, before you make a purchase. For more information on sending a camera into the sewer, check out the sewer inspection page.


2.) Check Out The Water Heater

Visually inspect the water heater for leaks, rust, and discoloration. Brown rust-colored stains on and around the water heater are signs of corrosion. Turn on the fixtures and check the water temperatures ranges. No hot water is an obvious sign but so is scalding water. If you can't get the temperature to warm, you might have a gas control valve problem or even a thermostat issue. 


We would also recommend checking on the age and warranty of your water heater. The manufacturer's label should provide all the information but if not just grab the serial number. 


How to Read the Serial Number 

Every manufacturer has it's own serial number format, check the name brand of the water heater to get started. Next, use the information below to decipher the age of the unit. 


Rheem and Ruud


MM = Month of manufacture

YY = Year of manufacture

Example: 1209D1234 = December 2009



American and AO Smith




YY = Year of manufacture

WW = Week of manufacture


Example: 16051234567 = 2016, 5th week (early February)






M = Month of manufacture

A = January | B = February | C = March | D = April | E = May | F = June | G = July | H = August | J = September | K = October | L = November | M = December


YY = Year of manufacture


Example: 4D051234567 = April 2005



Bradford White

Bradford White’s serial numbers are a little less straightforward. The year of manufacture is noted by the first letter of the serial number, and the month is the second letter.



Y = Year of manufacture

A = 1984 or 2004 | B = 1985 or 2005 | C = 1986 or 2006 | D = 1987 or 2007 | E = 1988 or 2008 | F = 1989 or 2009 | G = 1990 or 2010 | H = 1991 or 2011 | J = 1992 or 2012 | K = 1993 or 2013 | L = 1994 or 2014 | M = 1995 or 2015 | N = 1996 or 2016 | P = 1997 or 2017 | S = 1998 or 2018 | T = 1999 or 2019 | W = 2000 | X = 2001 | Y = 2002 | Z = 2003


Note: Bradford White water heaters manufactured 20 years apart will have the same letter designation


M = Month of manufacture

A = January | B = February | C = March | D = April | E = May | F = June | G = July | H = August | J = September | K = October | L = November | M = December

Example: KH6511396 = August 2013



Is your water heater’s brand not listed above?

If your water heater’s brand isn’t listed, check NACHI’s or The Water Heater Hub’s serial decoder to learn more.


3.) Water Pressure is Important

Turn on all or most of the fixtures in the house and flush the toilets. Most home inspectors should / will do this but just in case they don't, you can do it easily. The water should flow freely and drains and toilets should dissipate the water quickly without build-up. Next, check the landscaping for soft waterlogged areas, this could indicate a problem with the sewer under it. 


4.) Hold the Lead Please

Lead is hazardous to your health, especially the elderly, pregnant women, and children. Construction companies have been using lead for water mains since the 1920s up until 1986 when it was ultimately banned. The pipes are dark and can be identified at the water main or just under your kitchen sink. 


Recently the city of Chicago started installing new water mains and it caused a noticeable problem. Residents were experiencing extremely high levels of lead in their water system because the new water mains "stirred up" built-up lead in the pipes. For more information check out this web page. 


5.) Smoke the Sewer

Smoking the sewer is an easy and effective way to check for any air leaks in your plumbing. These leaks are how sewer gas makes its way into your home. Running a smoker through the sewer will help the plumber pinpoint any possible leaks. It's an inexpensive way to make sure your family isn't inhaling obnoxious sewer gas. 

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1017 Graceland Ave
Des Plaines IL, 60016

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