Pipe Corrosion: What Is It and What To Do About It
Humans have struggled against the effects of entropy since the dawn of time. Unfortunately, the answer has yet to be found. No matter what humans make, it will eventually fall apart. While there is no way to stop the world's descent into chaos, people have found ways to mitigate this degradation. Pipes in a home are no different than anything else. They, too, are prone to wear and tear, and it can cause major issues if not handled correctly.
Cause and Effect: The Whys and Hows of Pipe Corrosion
Corrosion simply means a wearing away of materials, usually due to chemical interaction and breakdown. Rust is the prime example of corrosion; water and oxygen combine to eat at the iron metal and break it down. This is what happens in pipes: oxidation. Copper pipes, which are cost-effective and much less corrosive than some other metals (like lead), are still susceptible to breakdown. The main reasons for pipe corrosion are chemical reactions due to contact.
Types of Contact that Cause Corrosion:
- Metal to metal
- Metal to water
- Metal to oxygen
- Metal to bacteria
Once the corrosion has started, there is no way to reverse it, and the movement and jostling of pipes can increase the speed of the process.
Pipe Maintenance and Prevention
Despite the lack of solutions for entropy in general, one can do several types of preventative maintenance.
- Secure Pipes: Because movement can be a catalyst for corrosion, making sure that pipes are stable is a simple and important step toward keeping the pipes fully functional.
- Insulate pipes: This will minimize the metal-to-metal contact that can instigate the chemical reactions that weaken the pipe metal.
- Lower Water Temps: Higher temps can cause more corrosion.
- Check Water pH: Keeping the water pH between 6.5 and 8.5 is best for pipe strength (and is good for humans, too).
- Keep Pipes Clean: Because of MIC or microbiologically induced corrosion, pipes may need to be cleaned with some sort of microbial inhibitor.
Replacing Damaged Pipes
When pipes are damaged or leaking, there is a point when professionals need to be called in. If rusty water is coming out of the faucet or there seems to be a sudden drop in water pressure, new pipes are likely needed. While repiping a whole home can be a long process, this may not be necessary. There are many different types of pipes these days, and there will be something to fit within any homeowner's budget.
- Metal Pipes(copper, galvanized steel): durable and able to handle high temperatures, but will eventually exhibit the corrosion discussed above.
- PVC: These are inexpensive, lightweight, and have been used for years in home plumbing applications
- PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) pipes are flexible, inexpensive, and good for cold and hot water lines.
There are many other options. The plumbing professionals can help decide what is best for each individual's needs.
About Capital Plumbing Contractors
Working quickly and thoroughly to get the job done right, Capital Plumbing Contractors provide cost-effective solutions to their customers' most pressing plumbing problems. They have been around since 1986 and provide 24-hour emergency plumbing service.