Are your corroded plumbing pipes ticking time bombs? All metal plumbing pipes corrode over time, and the older they are, the more corroded they become. This means that if your plumbing pipes are twenty years old or older, they could be hiding corrosion, pinhole leaks, and badly worn joints that could fail at any moment. The good news is that you can take control now to avoid a possible pipe catastrophe.

Understanding the 5 Common Causes of Plumbing Corrosion

Plumbing pipes are susceptible to corrosion from sediment, calcium, oxidation, dissimilar metals within the system, and improperly performed repairs.

1. The Water That Flows Through Your Plumbing Pipes

Have you heard of acidic water? If you have, it is probably in the context of acid rain, which is rain that contains components, like sulfuric or nitric acid, that can cause damage to building facades and vehicle paint. While your water isn’t going to have sulfuric or nitric acid in it, it can still be corrosive.

Corrosive water is any water that has a pH of 8 or lower. To give you an idea of the acidity of items, let’s take a look at the pH scale and common items that are associated with each number. It’s important to note that 7 is considered neutral. Anything lower than 7 is increasingly acidic, and anything higher than 7 is increasingly base.

  • 14 – Liquid drain cleaner
  • 13 – Bleach
  • 12 – Soapy water
  • 11 – Ammonia
  • 10 – Milk of Magnesia
  • 9 – Baking soda
  • 8 – Seawater
  • 7 – Pure water
  • 6 – Healthy lake water and milk
  • 5 – Bananas and clean rain
  • 4 – Acidic rain and lakes
  • 3 – Orange juice
  • 2 –Lemon juice
  • 1 – Sulfuric acid
  • 0 – Battery acid

If you look at the scale, you’ll notice seawater has a pH level of 8, and if you know anything about seawater and ships, you know that the saltwater has to be continuously cleaned from the ship, or it will slowly wear away at the pipes, surfaces and even the paint on the hull. Water flowing through your pipes with a pH level of 8 or lower will slowly eat away at the inside walls of your pipes, leading to pinhole leaks and eventual failure.

2. Calcium and Sediment

Calcium and dissolved sediments are also a problem for plumbing pipes. As water with the dissolved particles flows through your pipes, some of those particles are deposited on the interior walls. This can result in a reduction in the interior diameter of your plumbing pipes. If it becomes severe enough, it can completely restrict the flow of water through the pipe.

3. Oxidation

Most of us understand the chemical composition of water as H2O. The “O” of course is oxygen and that oxygen contributes to the production of oxide or rust. This interior rust thins the walls of pipes over time and that can potentially contribute to failure. Signs of rust in your pipes include having brown or reddish-colored water and/or stains around sink drains and faucets.

4. Different Plumbing Pipe Metals

Many older building plumbing systems involve a variety of pipe materials, generally due to repairs that may have been completed through the years. Perhaps galvanized and copper pipes have been connected together or copper pipes have been secured with steel hangers. This can result in electrolysis or galvanic corrosion that can weaken your pipes and cause them to fail.

5. Improper Maintenance and Repair

Always hire a licensed plumber in Chicago to perform all your plumbing repairs. Improper repairs using substandard parts can lead to a plumbing pipe failure. Additionally, you want to make sure that every component in your plumbing system is sized correctly. Oversized circulation pumps can put increased pressure on your pipes, leading to a pipe blowout.

Prevent Pipe Blowouts With Proactive and Preventative Maintenance

If you’re worried about factors that can contribute to pipe failures, flooding, and water damage in your building, you can take steps to be proactive when it comes to finding and solving small plumbing problems before they become a ticking time bomb down to its last seconds.

1. Know the age of your plumbing pipes: most pipes are designed to last between 20 and 50 years

2. Know what materials are used for the pipes in your plumbing system

3. Get regular camera inspections that can tell you how much life is left in your plumbing pipes

4. Don’t defer plumbing maintenance and repairs. Handle problems in a timely manner

5. Consider epoxy pipe lining to extend the useful life of your plumbing pipes

The NuFlow Solution for Aging and Corroded Plumbing Pipes in Chicago

Nuflow Midwest offers an innovative solution to the aging plumbing systems in the Chicago area. It is a process that can extend the life of your building’s pipes for decades, and the pipe lining process is safe, cost-effective when compared to traditional pipe replacement, and much less invasive, time-consuming and disruptive.

NuFlow’s process scrubs, rinses and dries the interior surfaces of your pipes to ensure that all sediment and buildup are removed. This maximizes the internal diameter of your plumbing pipes. Once the pipes are clean and dry, an epoxy-resin-based liner is blown through your potable water pipes. As the coating moves through the pipe, it covers the entire interior surface, sealing pinhole leaks and preventing water from coming into contact with the metal of the host pipe, which prevents further pipe deterioration.

If you are a Chicago property manager, it may be time to defuse the ticking time bomb that are the plumbing pipes inside your walls. To learn more about how epoxy pipe lining can renew, restore, and extend life to your current plumbing system, contact us today at 815-790-9000.