In the 1960’s, most of the plumbing pipes in new homes switched from iron to copper. This was done for a number of reasons, foremost among them that copper is more resistant to rust. Copper doesn’t degrade nearly as quickly as iron, and can last up to a century under the right circumstances. As strong as copper pipes are, though, they aren’t invincible. Let’s take a look at some of the corrosion types that can affect your copper pipes, and what to do about them.
Formicary corrosion is caused by formaldehyde particles in the air or soil interacting with the copper in the pipes. Formaldehyde degrades copper, eating microscopic holes in it. Under a microscope, these holes look like an ant’s nest, which is why it’s called “formicary” corrosion. While formicary corrosion doesn’t open up leaks on its own, it does weaken sections of the pipe. This makes it much more likely for leaks to form in the future. There isn’t really a way to protect against formicary corrosion, but annual pipe inspections can make sure that any leaks caused as a result are found quickly.
Pitted corrosion is caused by chlorine exposure, and like formicary corrosion it quickly degrades the copper in the pipes. Unlike formicary corrosion, however, pitted corrosion is much more focused. A pipe afflicted with pitted corrosion will quickly develop small leaks, called “pinhole leaks.” While the leaks may be small, they can do an incredible amount of water damage before being noticed. Again, the best way to defend against this type of corrosion is to have your pipes inspected at least once a year.
If you need to have your pipes inspected, call The Trusted Plumber. We provide comprehensive pipe inspection services throughout Goodyear, AZ.