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 it’s appropriate. Corrosion chews into the metal of pipes and eats it away. The metal weakens to the point where leaks begin, breaks occur, and eventually, the pipes fail completely. Corrosion in freshwater pipes can also lead to toxins entering the water.
Advances in piping materials have made corrosion less of a problem than it once was, but it is still a major issue you might have to deal with in your home’s plumbing in Sun City, AZ at some point. If you live in a house with old plumbing pipes (earlier than 1970), the chance of corrosion is even higher.
The Ways Corrosion Starts in Pipes
There are different types of corrosion and many different ways they can start. We’ll look over the more common types and how they can begin in your plumbing.
Oxygen Meets Metal
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.
Water pH Levels
Low levels of pH in water entering a home from the municipal system can cause copper pipes to corrode by harming the protective barrier inside the pipes.
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.
Corrosion tends to be worse when the water is hotter.
Fixing Corroded Plumbing
You probably won’t see corroding pipes in your house because they’re 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’ve got leaks—from any source. The plumbers will find the corroded piping and have the pipes replaced.
Preventing Corroded Pipes
There are two important steps you can take for prevention of pipe corrosion, depending on the trouble you’re dealing with.
- Water Treatment Systems: When you have excess chemicals or low pH levels in your water, you can protect your plumbing (as well as your family’s health) with the installation of a whole-house water treatment system.
- Repiping: We recommend older homes have either partial or whole-house repiping to remove the corrosion-prone older pipes with copper and plastic.
You can rely on our expert plumbers for the assistance and advice for how best to fix corroded pipes and keep corrosion away.
Call us for emergency service when you have big plumbing troubles. The Trusted Plumber can handle your repair needs.