Nine causes of copper pipe corrosion

Copper is less likely to corrode than steel or iron. However, it can happen in certain conditions, affecting the taste of your drinking water and causing leaks in your pipework which are frustrating and costly. In this article, we discuss eight common causes of copper pipe corrosion.

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1. Incorrect pH level.

Water pH should be between 6.5 and 9.0. When it goes outside of these parameters, it can degrade the quality of the copper pipe.

2. Dissolved oxygen levels are too high.

When water temperatures drop, oxygen levels increase, and this can cause chemical reactions within the copper pipe that accelerate its rate of corrosion.

3. High levels of dissolved salts.

Salts cause water to become conductive, increasing the production of corrosion.

5. Corrosion-causing bacteria in the pipework.

Sulfate and iron bacteria create hydrogen sulphide gas which can cause significant corrosion issues.

6. Electrochemical causes.

When electrical appliances are not correctly grounded or are subject to lightning strikes, copper pipes can react with the water within and become corroded.

7. High velocity of water.

Where the amount of water circulating within a system exceeds the intended levels, this can cause hydraulic wear on the pipework and its copper pipe connectors which can lead to corrosion and leaks. Pipe specialists such as Watkins and Powis will ensure that you select the appropriate size pipework for your system to avoid this issue from occurring.

8. Grit in the pipework.

When sand, sediment and grit get into the water supply, they can rub against the pipework and wear it more quickly.

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9. Incorrect pipe installation.

When a plumbing engineer fails to deburr or ream the pipe ends or uses too much acid flux when soldering the pipes, it will not last as long as it should as it will corrode more quickly than ordinarily expected.

If your drinking water has developed a strange taste or you have an unexplained water leak, contact your local plumbing engineer today to check whether your copper piping has corroded and needs to be repaired or replaced.

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