We hope you’re ready to take a dive into some science! As your local plumbing experts, our main goal with this blog is to better inform homeowners throughout our area on the intricacies of their plumbing system. We believe it might be a good idea to start this process from the beginning.
Pipe leaks, tree root infiltration… So many problems that occur in our plumbing in Champaign, IL can begin with corrosion. After all, corrosion is a natural process, which means you’re going to struggle with it no matter what you do. All you can do as a homeowner is know what to expect, participate in some best practices, and know exactly when to call for help.
Let’s pull out some high school chemistry lessons and get into the reasons why your pipes might start corroding, and what to expect as they do!
How Corrosion Works
Corrosion is something that doesn’t just happen in our plumbing systems, but also occurs any time that metal reacts with oxygen in the air. The metal will go through the process of “oxidization” and it will corrode. While many homeowners associate oxygen with being in the atmosphere, the truth is that there’s oxygen in the water as well! (Remember, water is H2O!)
Depending on the acidity of your water, the electrical conductivity, and the mineral composition, your pipes will corrode at a different rate than other home plumbing systems. That’s why we can never give homeowners an exact date of how long their pipes will last, since it differs from home to home.
The goal of the corrosion process—from a natural standpoint—is to completely dissolve your pipes into the water system. Yikes!
Detection Corrosion in Your Pipes
There are a few common ways to detect if your pipes are corroding. For starters, if you notice a decrease in water pressure or constant leaks within your plumbing system, then corrosion could be the cause. However, here are just a few more ways that corrosion shows itself.
- Blue-green stains. As you might already know, corroding metal turns a blue-green color which can stain nearby fixtures. Check your sinks, showers, tubs, and other appliances for these stains that signal a corrosion problem.
- Bitter taste. When copper pipes corrode, they can lead to water tasting bitter or medicinal. Your water shouldn’t taste like this normally!
- Problems with your soil and lawn. Corroded metals can be very bad for plants, both house plants and outdoor plants. If you’re noticing struggling plants, it could be from plumbing corrosion.
Health Problems Associated With Corrosion
This is going to depend on the type of materials used in your plumbing. For instance, the EPA has allowed a maximum of 1.3 milligrams per liter of corroded copper before you can potentially start encountering health problems. For lead, it’s much more serious, with a maximum of 0.015 milligrams per liter.
Also, if you’re finding yourself repulsed by your tap water and you’re unhappy with the quality of water coming from your shower and faucets, then corrosion could be the culprit.
Repairs and Repiping Can Help
Don’t believe that a home naturally has to go through this. There are solutions out there, like pipe repairs and repiping services, that are designed to completely halt the corrosion process and give your home a solid decade of great water usage.