Corrosion is a natural process. It happens when a refined metal gradually breaks down from environmental influences, such as chemical and/or electrochemical reactions. It can affect metal piping materials in residential and commercial plumbing systems. Even copper pipes, which are designed to last 50 or more years, may eventually corrode.
Pipe corrosion can affect the quality of your water and endanger your entire plumbing system. As experienced Durham plumbers, we at JD Service Now want to offer you some helpful information and tips related to pipe corrosion, what causes it, how to prevent it, and what to do if you notice any damage. This can help you avoid serious plumbing problems in the future!
What Causes Pipe Corrosion?
Corrosion is caused by an electrochemical reaction between metal and another substance. When this happens, the metal in a pipe actually loses electrons. They are transferred from the metal to the other substance. As corrosion continues, the metal breaks down further and this causes rust, leaks, and clogs.
Pipe corrosion may be caused by:
- Acidic Water. Water with a low PH (of less than seven) can dissolve pipes from the inside out. This is one of the common causes of copper pipe corrosion.
- Oxygenated Water. Water with a higher level of oxygen can speed up oxidation and cause metal pipes to rust. Over time, this can lead to corrosion and clogs.
- Hard Water. Water with a high mineral content can cause calcification, which can lead to mineral buildups and corrosion.
- Metals in Water. Water with certain metals in it can essentially steal electrons from metal piping, causing corrosion.
- Electricity. An ungrounded electrical current can travel down a copper wire and cause corrosion.
- High Velocity. When water travels at high speeds through pipes, especially hot water, this can cause premature corrosion.
In addition to causing leaks and clogs, pipe corrosion can affect the quality of your water. It can cause discoloration, cloudiness, a bitter taste, and a foul odor. Depending on the type of metal your pipes are made of, you may face health risks if pipe corrosion continues. High levels of copper can eventually lead to liver or kidney damage, but corroded copper pipes will cause your water to turn blue or stain, which is typically noticeable far before health problems occur. Lead pipes can cause serious health problems, especially in children. If you have lead piping anywhere in your home, you should have it replaced immediately.
Signs of Pipe Corrosion
The good news is that pipe corrosion causes signs that are hard to miss. The bad news is that it can also cause annoying and expensive plumbing issues. Fortunately, catching corrosion early on can help prevent these.
The following are potential signs of pipe corrosion:
- Lower water pressure
- Higher water bills
- Cloudy or discolored water
- Water that tastes or smells odd
If you notice these signs, it’s a good idea to have a Durham plumber come out to investigate. You may be experiencing the early stages of pipe corrosion, and catching it now can prevent costly leaks and water damage.
Preventing Pipe Corrosion
There are a few steps you can take to prevent pipe corrosion. An inspection by a licensed plumber can reveal how your pipes are doing and whether they are at risk of corrosion. If your water is the issue, a standard water test can measure PH, conductivity, alkalinity, hardness, and mineral content in your water. A water softener or water filter can treat water before it travels through your pipes, where it can cause corrosion.
When to Call a Durham Plumber
We recommend calling in a professional if you’re experiencing any problems with how your water tastes, smells, or looks. The same applies if you are having trouble with low water pressure, and it is certainly an emergency if you have an active leak or have noticed water damage. A skilled plumber can identify the issue and tell you what needs to be done to fix it.
At JD Service Now, we’re proud to help customers across Chapel Hill, Apex, Cary, Durham, and the surrounding communities, handling all of their plumbing, heating, sewer, and air conditioning needs with the highest quality customer service and workmanship. For help with pipe corrosion or any plumbing matter, give us a call at (919) 626-3626 today!