How Corrosion Can Occur in Your Pipes
Wondering if your home is suffering from early pipe corrosion? This can be a serious concern, leading to the need for a whole-house repiping. Corrosion is one of the worst enemies a home’s plumbing system can face. The word corrosion comes from the Latin word “to chew,” and the name is fitting. Corrosion chews into the metal of pipes and eats it away.
While older plumbing systems are usually more at risk than newer systems for obvious reasons, even new pipes can show signs of corrosion as soon as two years after installation if the right conditions exist. You may find several of the factors that exacerbate corrosion to be surprising.
Why Pipe Corrosion Happens
When your pipes succumb to erosion, it can turn into a costly issue. Not only can it be expensive, but it can also cause health problems when consumed; this is because toxic metals like lead and copper can leach into the water supply.
There are a few different reasons pipe corrosion happens:
When most people think of corrosion, they think of rust. This occurs when water and metal meet in the presence of oxygen. This kind of corrosion is most hazardous for old steel and iron pipes. Copper pipes are resistant to this type of corrosion, which is why they’ve become the standard for modern plumbing systems.
When the metal pipe begins to corrode, several problems will manifest:
The rust will create an uneven surface that attracts impurities in the water and result in extensive build-up and debris in your water
The pipe will begin to thin from the wear and tear, making it more likely to experience problems
Tiny pinhole cracks begin to form, resulting in water loss, accelerated corrosion, and even more vulnerability to breakages
Ph measures water acidity, ranging from zero (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline). A pH of 7 represents the neutral pH. In theory, water should be at the neutral point, which is 7. However, if your water is slightly more acidic, it can cause problems for even notoriously sturdy copper pipes. Over time, the acidity will dissolve the copper oxide barrier and leave the remaining pipes vulnerable to pinhole leaks and further corrosion.
Water Velocity is Too High
If you have a “closed loop” piping system, erosion corrosion can happen due to flow obstacles like excess solder if joints were not soldered properly.
Chemical Drain Cleaners
Caustic drain cleaners can damage pipes and cause pipe corrosion if used improperly or if the chemical fails to destroy the clog. If you plan to use drain cleaner on your plumbing pipes, make sure to read the directions and warnings completely before opening the container. If you do not understand the directions, do not use the cleaner and call a professional plumber to clear the clog.
If the drain cleaner fails to clear the clog, it will sit in your plumbing pipes and continue to work where it sits. Since the drain is not clear, you will not be able to flush the cleaner into the main sewer system. This means you will have a caustic chemical in your drain lines until the line is cleared.
Chemicals in the Water
Unfortunately, poor water quality can mean high levels of chemicals in the water that cause corrosion. One of the most insidious types of corrosion caused by chemicals is formicary corrosion, which can affect copper. Formicary corrosion creates small gray patches on the metal that weaken until pinhole leaks start.
Are My Pipes Corroded?
There are several signs to look out for that may indicate problems in your pipeline, including:
Discolored water, usually reddish-brown
Low water pressure
Unexplained increases in water bills
Signs of leaks around the property
Fixing Corroded Plumbing
You probably will not see corroding pipes in your house because they are hidden behind walls and down in the slabs. You will see the effects of leaks, however, such as water spots on walls, higher water usage on your bills, the sound of running water in odd places, and the water heater coming on more often than it should. Always call a professional plumber to do leak detection when you suspect you have leaks—from any source. The plumbers will find the corroded piping and have the pipes replaced.
Tips to Prevent Water Corrosion
If you are wondering how to prevent corrosion in pipelines, then continue reading the piece. Let’s take a look at some sure shot ways of preventing water corrosion in plumbing pipes.
Pre-Installation Cleaning of Pipes
Want to increase the life of the plumbing system? One of the most effective ways of preventing water corrosion is to do some pre-installation pipework cleaning. To increase the life of the plumbing system, clean the pipe and remove all debris. Add a cleaning solution to thoroughly cleanse the water system in your house. You should then flush the water out of the system a couple of times until you see clean and clear water coming out.
Maintain Water’s pH Level
It is important to maintain the pH level of water, which means the water should neither be acidic nor alkaline. It should be at a balanced level of pH level 7. If the water is above the pH level 7, the water will be alkaline and if it is below the pH level 7, the water will be acidic. Rain that falls on ground is usually acidic in nature as it picks up carbon dioxide when falling which becomes carbonic acid.
Add Chlorine to Water
The right amount of chlorine in water can stop water corrosion in pipes. The presence of chlorine acts as a disinfectant and can kill bacteria and germs. This is an effective way of keeping water safe for drinking and it also helps kill germs that cause water corrosion.
Phosphates act as a corrosion inhibitor. It prevents leaching of metals from copper and lead pipes. When an inorganic phosphate inhibitor is added to the water supply, they create an insoluble protective layer on the inside of the plumbing pipes. Phosphates in a water supply is minimal. You should ask a professional before adding phosphate to your water supply.
Keep Water Pipes Clean
If you feel your water tastes bitter in the morning but tastes fine after a while, it means there is some sort of contamination in water due to pipe corrosion. When pipes come in contact with sulfides, they create corrosion. It is important to keep your pipes clean by doing some chemical treatment to the water. You can use chlorine tablets for this purpose.
Know When to Give Best Plumbing a Call
If you discover you have corrosion inside your pipes, you will want to speak with us about repiping and targeted repair options, including trenchless repairs, partial repiping and whole house repiping. We understand that you want to protect your investment without breaking the bank, and we’ll discuss all possible options, including preventative measures you can take to minimize future damage.
If you need help with any other plumbing issue, call Best Plumbing Services at 951-788-1321 for professional drain cleaning methods. Located in Riverside, California we are family owned and operated with over 10 years of experience. We take pride in our service and expect each job to be completed as if it were our own home or business. Our Licensed Plumbers and Technicians will be professional, clean and polite.