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Pipe Corrosion Causes You Should Know

Pipe corrosion is a usual situation in your plumbing system at home. Pipes corrode and get damaged in varying ways. Although it seems normal, corrosion is a reaction to an issue your pipes are exposed to. Controlling pipe corrosion as best you can is important because it reduces its negative effects. 

If your pipes are old and beginning to rust, you run the risk of introducing harmful toxins into your household’s water supply. On top of that, homes that are more than 25 years old are susceptible to corrosion and should be monitored for warning signs. Inspect exposed pipes for stains, discoloration, dimpling, and flaking. If you notice any unusual conditions, contact a plumbing professional. It will also be the best time for you to replace them.

An expert can assess your situation and determine the best plan of action for your home. In some cases, pipe replacement, the use of a water softener, or a reverse-osmosis unit may be needed to prevent or control corrosion.

It is important that you understand the factors to pipe corrosion even if you get help from a professional. This will avoid similar problems from happening in the future. Repair jobs are constantly and you would not want more bills piled up for you. 

Here are some causes of pipe corrosion to take note of:

Water pH Levels

Ph measures water acidity, ranging from zero (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline). A pH of 7 represents the neutral pH. As a rule of thumb, a pH level below 8 is not ideal. The barrier within your copper pipes can dissolve, leaving your pipes exposed. This can lead to corrosion and, eventually, leaks.

Corrosion from pH levels also differs from materials. Copper pipes are more prone to corrosion issues. If you have copper pipes, you need to be concerned about the pH of your water. If your pH is 8 or higher (meaning more alkaline and not acidic), a film of copper oxide will form on the inside of your pipes, slowing or minimizing corrosion. 

Oxygen in Water

Dissolved air in water consists of about 30% oxygen and the rest is mostly nitrogen, which is non-corrosive. Oxygen affects metals through an electro-chemical process called oxidation. This leads to metal materials being converted to oxide. 

Oxidation of metal produces rust which makes it become thinner and weaker. As your pipe corrodes the impurities are deposited in the water lines. This means that it can also affect the quality of water to use.

Chemical Buildup

Minerals in your water can contribute to the development of corrosion. For example, calcium and sodium can both contribute to an increase in the buildup. Dissolved minerals in water can bring corrosive effects to your pipes. A moderate to a high level of calcium would help form a protective coating on the pipe which could slow down the corrosive effects. However, high levels of calcium may cause calcium build-up in the pipe.

The issue of chemical build-up does not only affect your pipe. The chemical reaction that will happen when different chemicals come in contact will also affect your water. If you are drinking or cooking using tap water, it is important to get your water filtered.

Water Pressure and Velocity

When a pipe is under constant high pressure, it can cause deterioration, especially along weld seams and joints. Over time, the increased pressure causes the pipe to form cracks or loosen at seams and joints, leading to leaks. To avoid this problem, you can regulate and control your heater or faucet use.

High-velocity water in your pipes can cause turbulence. Turbulence within your pipes can also be caused by sharp turns, elbows, and obstacles. All this commotion will lead to pipe corrosion down the road.

Environment Factors

Of all the forms of corrosion caused to piping systems, weathering damage due to rain, snow, atmospheric conditions, or cooling tower overspray is the easiest to prevent. The piping is exposed and accessible, with corrosion activity always visually obvious.

Most weathering damage requires decades to produce a failure and is simply due to a lack of maintenance. Smaller diameter piping is always most vulnerable due to its inherently lesser wall thickness. So, make sure that you do not forget to clean even the exterior of pipes to prevent build-up from environmental particles.

Key Takeaway

Some of the biggest and most frustrating plumbing issues you have at home are caused by pipe corrosion. Pipe corrosion is commonly a sign of poor maintenance or factors that are out of normal. When you see your pipes rusting and corroding, do not look at it as something usual. Look at it as an issue with a more serious issue to address.

From the pH level of your water to environmental factors, a lot of things contribute to a damaged pipe. If you learn and understand these things, you will learn how to avoid them. At the end of the day, the state of your pipes affects the state of the water. Water is essential in your daily life so protecting is a smart way to protect yourself.

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