Water Problems and Solutions: Metal Pipes Corrode

When buying a home, or remodeling one that you have lived in for many years, you may find that some pipes that have corroded due to water problems. Water pipes can degrade after many years of use due to several reasons. When there are water problems that are caused by corrosion of the water pipes, you can try a few solutions before deciding to completely  overhaul the system. 

Water Problem Symptoms

In a home that has metal, or copper, piping throughout, certain telltale signs will tell you if the pipes are corroding. The first and most significant is water leaks. Pipes with cracks, pinholes, or ones that have rusted through will leak and cause damage in the surrounding area. If you have mold growth, or a musty smell in an area, chances are that a pipe is leaking. Another symptom of water corrosion is a lot of flakes and dirt in the water itself. 

Causes of Pipe Corrosion

There are plenty of reasons why the pipes in a home may be corroded. Most of them have to do with water problems that you may have within the system. Some of these problems may be caused by simply being very old.

  • High Acidic Content - Water that has a lot of acidity will be labeled as "aggressive" in that it will eat away at flux, and the inside portions of the pipe. Check the water to make sure that the pH level does not go below a 7.
  • Idle Pipes - If you have copper pipes, corrosion could be caused by the pipes being idle for a long time. This is common in homes that have been empty for a long time before they are sold. The flux used to connect the pipes will begin to react with the copper. Once water is turned on, the process is sped up and the pipes leak.
  • Outside Influence - Another symptom is caused by the freezing and thawing of pipes. As the water pressure inside freezes, it will expand the pipes to the point where they crack. One the water is thawed out they begin to leak through the cracks.

Water Problem Solutions

To keep your water pipes free of corrosion, cracks, and leaks it is important to stay vigilant with the care of your pipes. Being proactive in stopping water pipe problems before they occur will save you a lot of money in the long run.

  • Water Softener - Many people have a water softener installed to keep the pH level, the calcium, and other chemicals at a low level so there is not any buildup within the pipes.
  • Flush Pipes - Another way is to use some chemicals in the main water supply pipe to flush out the build up that is already there. 
  • Keep Water Flowing - If you own a property where you do not use the water very much, you should let some water flow once in a while to keep them from rusting.
  • Protect Water Pipes - The constant sweating, freezing, and thawing of pipes will lead to rusting and cracks. Keep them protected from the environment and weather with insulation or heat tape.