Common Issues With Copper Plumbing Pipes

image of copper pipes depicting copper plumbing pipe corrosion

Copper plumbing is more common than you think. It provides several advantages, such as durability, flexibility, and bacteria and ultraviolet resistance. It is also safer in case of natural disasters. However, some problems may crop up and will need to be repaired right away. Plumbing problems only tend to worsen if not handled immediately. Therefore, homeowners should always call a qualified plumber as soon as they notice any plumbing issue, especially copper pipe problems.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about copper plumbing and the common issues associated with it.

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Two Things To Consider With Copper Piping

Copper piping was introduced in 1927 but only gained popularity during the 1950s. When the construction industry moved to use copper pipes in homes, many thought they would last for 25 years. However, they failed to factor in the water quantity and the copper pipes’ quality.

For the most part, copper plumbing has acceptable quality. However, many homes built from 2004 onwards used piping from China, which was mostly defective. As a result, many homes had plumbing failures only two years after the pipes were installed. The importation rate of these pipes has decreased, but they are still available on the market. Therefore, it is prudent that builders and new homeowners be careful when purchasing plumbing pipes.

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Several Causes Of Copper Corrosion

Here are some of the reasons your copper pipes may corrode:

  • Water with less than 7.0 pH can corrode copper.
  • Alkaline water with a pH greater than 8.5 can create corrosion in copper.
  • The corrosion process speeds up when dissolved oxygen is at high levels. It can also cause mildly aggressive water to turn corrosive.
  • Bacteria, such as iron bacteria and sulfate, are some of the common corrosion-causing bacteria. Sulfate-reducing bacteria generate hydrogen sulfate gas. Aside from emitting a rotten egg smell, it can also cause severe corrosion issues.
  • High water velocity, in relation to the piping size, can result in hydraulic wear on the copper piping. This can sometimes be found in circulating hot water systems utilizing pumps.
  • Water containing sediment, sand, or other grit can cause the pipe to have hydraulic wear.
  • Severe corrosion can also be due to improper copper piping installation. The ends of the pipes may not have been properly de-burred or reamed. It can also be that excessive acid flux was used when soldering the pipes.

Pitting Copper Pipe Corrosion

image of copper pipe pinhole leak

The most common problem that homeowners have with copper piping is pitting corrosion. It is a tiny leak that is caused by a localized corrosive action. Coppers are relatively corrosion-resistant but can still corrode when the right conditions are met. Copper is metal, so it corrodes when contact with other substances causes it to oxidize. Corrosion in copper pipes typically goes undetected until small leaks form and cause drywall damage and mold buildup, among others.

Copper has less give than other materials like plastic since it is a metal. Therefore, copper plumbing can freeze and burst when exposed to extreme temperatures. Piping that is exposed to low temperatures means the water inside may freeze and expand, and the pipes can burst. This is an emergency plumbing repair, and it needs to be resolved by a qualified professional immediately.
Most kinds of metal piping will inevitably scale as time passes. This includes pipes made of copper. The material accumulation in the pipe slowly decreases its diameter, clogging it. As water cannot flow properly, the plumbing system’s efficiency decreases, and this causes corrosion. Therefore, the problem should be promptly handled before it escalates further.


Signs Of Copper Piping Problems

If you think your copper pipes are experiencing a problem, here are several telltale symptoms that indicate you have a copper piping plumbing problem:

  • Sudden loss of water pressure. If you suddenly have low water pressure, you may have a leak caused by copper piping corrosion.
  • Soggy carpets or ceiling stains. These issues are another sign of a leak likely due to a corroded copper pipe. Turn off the water if possible and contact a plumber to check the situation.
  • Teal stains. Iron becomes rusty when it oxidizes, and copper turns a bluish-green color. Teal stains on your bathtub and shower may not be mold but corrosion. This can also be seen on exposed pipes.
  • Discolored water. A common sign of copper piping corrosion is discolored water from your faucet. It is commonly seen in the “first draw of the day” as this water has sat in your pipes the whole night.
  • Metallic taste. A metallic taste results from corroded copper pipes. It also causes the first-draw water to become bitter, which will go away as the day passes.
  • Frequent clogs. There could be corrosion if you notice that your pipes clog easily. Mineral deposits and oxidation can accumulate in the pipes, causing them to become narrow.

These signs do not automatically point to your copper pipes failing as other problems may cause them. Call an experienced and professional plumber to help determine if failing copper piping is the cause of these issues.

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Plumbing Pipes

Most homeowners who have their copper piping systems installed underground have an “out of sight, out of mind” thinking about it. This expectation is supported by the excellent corrosion resistance and durability of copper piping. However, many plumbing installers conduct pipe installations without completely understanding the dangers of their actions. Knowing where to install the plumbing pipes is crucial to prevent costly repairs and re-piping.



When you live in the Lehigh Valley, Robinson Plumbing can help you. If you think you have a copper piping problem, our trained and expert plumbers can assess the situation and provide the best possible solutions, whether it’s copper pipe replacement or offering copper piping alternatives. Call us today so we can come to your home or business and inspect the issue.

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Call Robinson Plumbing For Superior Plumbing Services

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Contact Robinson Plumbing, one of the most trusted plumbing companies in the Lehigh Valley, for reliable plumbing services. We offer various plumbing services ranging from drain clogs, water heater replacements, toilet repairs, water leaks, and more. We always give a wide range of solutions when possible for any plumbing repairs. This allows you to choose the best options for your home and budget.

Find yourself dealing with an unexpected plumbing problem in the middle of the night? No worries! You can count on the expert plumbers at Robinson Plumbing to take care of you. We offer reliable 24-hour emergency plumbing services. You can count on us to get the job done quickly and correctly and, best of all, at an affordable price.

We proudly offer the most affordable and best plumbing services in the Lehigh Valley area. Our plumbers all have the proper licenses and expertise to ensure your satisfaction. All of our work comes with a guarantee. Contact Robinson Plumbing today and schedule your free estimate.

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