Copper pipes are one of the most common types of plumbing. They are a great choice because they can withstand higher pressures and temperatures than other metal pipes, like steel or cast-iron.
However, many people report that their copper pipes keep leaking. This article will explore why this may be happening and offer some tips to help you prevent leaks in your home's copper piping systems.
What Causes Copper Pipes To Corrode?
As copper pipes age, it begins to show signs of corrosion from physical and chemical reactions with water. Although the process may be slow at first, over time these reactions will continue until eventually an entire system has been consumed by rust or other common pollutants that could cause blockages in pipes.
So, the most common causes of corrosion in copper pipes are...
- Age of pipes
- Bacteria and other contaminants
- pH higher than 8.5 or lower than 7.0
- High water pressure which leads to high velocity of water
- Poorly installed plumbing system
Your plumber can work with you to assess these situations in your home to make sure that your copper pipes last as long as they possibly can.
Do Green Copper Pipes Need To Be Replaced?
There are all sorts of things that can cause your copper pipes to leak, but one thing you should be aware is this green patina.
Over time, your copper pipes may turn green. This is because of the interaction between your plumbing system and oxygen in the air. The term for this discoloration on your metal piping is called "Patina".
If your copper pipes have this greenish patina color, they are showing signs that there is something wrong.
This may not seem like much at first glance, but it's actually an indication there could be some sort of leakage in the pipe. As this green film builds up it creates more leaks and sometimes larger ones which will cost money on plumbing repairs for years to come!
Plus, using water with this tint has been shown to have health effects such as rashes or skin conditions and hair damage.
If you notice this happening in any spots on your pipe system, it's best to contact an experienced professional plumber as soon as possible for assessment and repair work.
Fixing The Patina Problem
Follow these steps to fix the patina issue.
- Get the pinhole leaks repaired by a professional plumber.
- Paint over the patina with paint that is suited for copper pipes.
- Try to clean the patina off with a commercial patina cleaner or using natural products like lemons and vinegar.
Cleaning Patina With Lemons
Soak the pipe in 50% water and 50% lemon juice for about an hour and then give it a good scrub with a brush.
Cleaning Patina With Vinegar
Spray vinegar on the pipe and scrub it with a brush. Do not dilute the vinegar. And you can use almost any type of vinegar but distilled vinegar is the most commonly used.
Copper Pipe Life Expectancy
The average lifespan of copper pipes range from 20 years to 50 years.
For homeowners with copper pipes that are 20 years old or more - the decision as to whether or not to repair or replace will be different depending on how many pinhole leaks are present, the condition of your water and environment and other factors.
If those pipes are just going to keep breaking down and getting worse and worse over time because you have environmental factors that you can't control that are corroding the pipes - well - it may not be worth the cost to repair them.
You and your plumber will have to make the determination if it's worth the cost to repair or replace pipes that are 20 years old or older.
Defective Copper Pipes Class Action Suit
If you are having problems with your copper pipes within the last 15 years, we recommend that you contact an attorney to find out if there are any active or ongoing state specific lawsuits in your area.
If you have any questions about copper pipes or are having some problems with it, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-505-8570. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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