Corrosion of Copper Pipe
HOW TO AVOID CORROSION IN COPPER PIPE
One of the most significant milestones in our lives is when we are finally able to purchase a property! It’s something most people dream of and work diligently towards achieving. It takes hard work and effort to achieve this so naturally, you want to make sure you do everything in your power to take care of it. If your property has copper piping and you’re using borehole or well-point water then it’s imperative to ensure that you avoid corrosion in your copper pipe. This is due to the cost of plumbing repairs, expenses that can arise from repairing water-damaged materials, and even mold issues. It’s simply not something that can or should be ignored!
Copper has typically been a favored choice for piping water to numerous households. The reason for this is obvious when you consider the fact that it has strong corrosion resistance and can last for many years. It seems to be an easy, clear-cut choice, doesn’t it?
While copper piping is generally a safe choice when it comes to council water it’s another story entirely when it comes to water sourced from well-points and boreholes. Corrosion of copper piping is typically associated with water that is used from a borehole or well-point.
“Research into the mechanism of pitting corrosion has been undertaken by the copper industry in many countries of the world. Pitting occurs typically in cold, aerated, hard, organically pure waters from deep wells or boreholes and not in surface waters as generally used”.
When you decide to drill a well-point or borehole and use that water inside your home by means of copper piping you need to test it first and treat it if necessary to ensure you don’t end up with copper corrosion issues.
Let’s take a closer look now at what copper pipe corrosion is.
WHAT IS COPPER PIPE CORROSION?
According to Wikipedia, corrosion is defined as “the gradual destruction of materials (usually a metal) by chemical and/or electrochemical reaction with their environment”. As a result, when copper pipes are used to convey water, they can become susceptible to erosion. While copper is corrosion resistant it is not corrosion-proof. What this means is that when it is exposed to specific chemicals found in water, in particular, those found in borehole or well point water, then corrosion can occur over time.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MAIN CAUSES OF COPPER PIPE CORROSION?
pH levels of the water
High levels of dissolved oxygen
High levels of salts dissolved in the water
High velocity of the water
Let’s take a closer look now at each of these causes:
1. PH LEVELS OF THE WATER
To understand this let’s first look at what pH actually means. pH is a way to measure the electrically charged particles in a substance. It shows whether the water is acidic, neutral, or alkaline based on a reading from a pH scale that ranges from 0 – 14. A reading between 0 – 6 indicates that it’s acidic with the most acidic substances showing a pH of 0. A reading between 8 – 14 indicates alkalinity. A pH reading of 7 indicates pure water because 7 is neutral. It’s neither acidic nor alkaline.
In light of this, we can see that a high acidic pH level in the water will increase corrosion by providing hydrogen ions to the corrosion process.
As a result, it’s important to note that water with a pH between 7.0 and 8.2 is usually not corrosive. By contrast, water that shows a pH of 6.5 and below will be corrosive.
2. HIGH LEVELS OF DISSOLVED OXYGEN
Dissolved oxygen is the amount of oxygen found in water. Numerous metals are coated with a protective hydrogen film but this can be destroyed by dissolved oxygen. As a result, oxygen comes into contact with the copper and oxides it which causes the pipes to rust.
3. HIGH LEVELS OF SALTS DISSOLVED IN THE WATER
When it comes to corrosion from high levels of salt, copper is the metal that is most susceptible to it. High salt levels in the water contribute to corrosion because it’s an electrolyte. As a result, it conducts ions which accelerates the rusting process.
4. HIGH VELOCITY OF THE WATER
This can cause corrosion as the abrasive particles in the water scour against and erode the protective film which is usually found on the inside surface of the pipes. This can lead to pinholes forming in the pipes and ultimately to corrosion.
WHAT TYPE OF CORROSION CAN OCCUR?
The main type of erosion that occurs in copper pipes is pitting corrosion. Here’s how it works. When the copper pipe comes into contact with chemicals like chloride, hypochlorite, or bromide ions that are found in the water it causes a reaction on the copper. It starts as little patches that have the appearance of a greenish spot. These weaken the copper over time which causes pinhole leaks. These can be difficult to locate and can lead to much damage and water wastage.
Now that we understand copper pipe corrosion and have looked at what causes it, let’s explore the various options available to you to deal with it.
Causes of Copper Pipe Corrosion
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