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Any plumber in Helotes, TX will tell you that pipes don’t last forever. Even copper pipes which are traditionally considered the strongest type of pipes will eventually corrode. It may take them 50 years to do so, but they will start to show signs of corrosion, and even more so if certain conditions are present within your home. This can lead to problems within your home and a compromised water supply. This is why many homeowners often ask plumbers how they can prevent corrosion and how they can detect if their plumbing system is starting to corrode.
That is a very large question and one that is best answered by taking a look at the causes of corrosion as well as the common signs of corrosion. While you may not think that this will affect you as a homeowner if you live in the same home for a few decades even a fairly new home can start to show signs of corrosion in the water lines. This is because there may be factors contributing to corrosion that you are overlooking and not considering. A plumbing company will tell you that any home can be susceptible to corrosion, which is why it is useful to learn more about the subject.
Of course, a Helotes, TX home that is over 50 years old is at the highest risk because unless it has been replaced the plumbing lines are likely very old. When a lot of people hear that it takes 50 years for their plumbing system to show signs of decay they automatically think they are good to go. However, if you purchased a home that was built in the 1970s then that time has already come. At this point, you may just be biding your time until you need to deal with corrosion.
There are a lot of older homes spread throughout Helotes, TX, so there are a lot of homeowners who may be dealing with aging pipes. Every homeowner will have a different experience with corrosion however because corrosion affects different pipes in many different ways. For example, cast iron corrosion is a very different animal than galvanized pipe corrosion and both have different causes that need to be properly identified and treated by a professional in order to make sure that you stop it in its tracks.
With that in mind, the following article will take a look at what causes corrosion, how to spot signs of it on your home plumbing system, and when to call a plumber to come out to your home to take a look. Your goal is not only to spot it on a timely basis but to get someone out to your home who can help reverse or replace your plumbing system before the corrosion gets too bad. After all, the water that you drink, cook and wash with all passes through your home plumbing system, so this is not something that you want to ignore for the safety of your family.
Common Causes of Corrosion
While most people just think of corrosion as signs of rust on their pipes, at its most simple corrosion is a chemical interaction that happens against the metal that leads to rust, leaks, and clogs. It is actually caused by an electrochemical electron exchange, which is a fancy way to say a chemical reaction that occurs when certain elements come into contact with each other. The more the metal in your piping system loses electrons, the weaker it will become until it eventually corrodes through. There are several different things that cause corrosion to appear on your pipes.
The first is low pH, which basically means acidic water. If the pH of your home water is below 7 then it is considered highly acidic and water with a high acidity level will gradually dissolve pipes from the inside out. This can be tricky to deal with given that you can’t always change the pH level of the water that comes into your home, especially if you have city water. Therefore, you need to be aware of the pH level of your water so that you can correctly counteract signs as quickly as possible. If you have any reason to be concerned about the presence of corrosion you need to call a plumber right away.
The pH level of your Helotes, TX home water is not the only thing that you should be worried about. If there is a high amount of oxygen in your water it can lead to rust and oxidation. Rust that is not properly dealt with by a plumber will start to corrode your pipes and can even lead to clogs down the line that may require help from an emergency plumber.
The chemical balance is not the only concern with water, because hard water might be high in minerals which can lead to mineral buildup and calcification inside of your lines. Not only is this a risk to your indoor plumbing, but can also lead to a large problem with your water heater. If you frequently have water heater issues that require the aid of a plumber, there is a good chance that the same mineral deposits are building up inside of your pipes. Some metals, in particular, can lead to galvanic corrosion which is when the electrons from the metals in the water transfer to the metals inside of your pipelines. As you might guess, this is another situation that ends with a plumber.
Finally, believe it or not, you may have an electrical current passing through your plumbing system which can lead to corrosive reactions within the water and the metal. If there are ungrounded electrical currents that are running near your plumbing there is a good chance that the ungrounded electrical current is using your copper pipe as a route down outside of your home. The end result is corrosion and eventually pipe decay. In addition, while most people love high water pressure, if water is traveling too quickly then it can exert large amounts of pressure on the sides of your pipes leading to premature aging.
How Can Corrosion After the Quality of Water in My Helotes, TX Home?
The effects of corrosion on your home will change based on the type of pipes you have. Copper pipes for instance corrode much differently than galvanized pipes. In general, though, there are a few signs that your plumber will look for when analyzing your home plumbing system. Some of these common symptoms include bitter taste, discoloration, cloudy water, health problems, and foul odors. In general, the presence of any of these issues with your water indicates that you need to call a plumber right away.
Remember, all of these are not only bothersome but may also affect the quality of the water in your home. Therefore, they are not things that you want to mess around with. Proper detection and treatment within your home is the best way to ensure that your water is safe to drink and cook with. In particular, when potential health symptoms are involved you do not want to delay calling a plumber to come out to your home to take a look.
As mentioned, certain types of plumbing will show their own signs. Here are a few things to look out for:
PVC Pipes: Since PVC is a type of plastic it will resist corrosion for a while, but keep in mind that the connectors and joints are frequently crafted out of metal or rubber parts. Therefore, while the plumbing pipes may seem resistant to corrosion, there are still areas that are weaker and potentially susceptible to corrosion the same as any metal piping system.
Copper Pipes: Copper pipes usually start to cause water stains and/or color your water blue when they start to decay. If you see the blue color you need to call a plumber right away because a buildup of copper in your water can lead to kidney or liver damage. The good news is that the color is a sign that is usually detectable long before a health risk actually arises so you can call a plumber and get it taken care of without worrying about your health.
Iron Pipes: Iron may seem like a hardy metal, but eventually it will rust which will create a reddish-brown discoloration in your water. The health risks are much lower than copper pipes, but the water will taste gross and should be a clear indication that you need to call a plumber to come out to your home to address the problem. The other issue outside of rust is the propensity to clog. Clogs are also horrible situations to deal with that can lead to sewage backup and water damage, so you don’t want to delay dealing with rust in your iron pipes.
Lead Pipes: Out of all of the piping types, lead pipes are the most dangerous when it comes to corrosion. Lead in water is known to be a significant health risk and one that is higher in some communities compared to others. If you are concerned that your lead pipes may be decaying, you need to immediately have them replaced and stop drinking any water from your home faucets until a plumber has told you that it is now safe to do so.
How Will Corrosion Affect My Home Plumbing?
There are a variety of issues associated with corrosion in your home plumbing outside of the general health risks which make it important that you always consult with a plumber if you suspect that your plumbing system is starting to decay. Some of these also double as symptoms of corrosion, so if you notice any of these in your home make sure to consult with a professional plumbing company.
The most obvious effects of corrosion on home plumbing include but are not limited to leaks, breaks, low water pressure, damaged appliances, rust stains, and pinholes. Keep in mind that what starts as a pinpoint hole will continue to grow if left unaddressed and can lead to large floods and/or breaks. Slow corrosion over time in the interior of your home will reduce the water pressure in your home and eventually can cause clogs in your faucet. It will also negatively impact your water heater and might lead to your water heater corroding before reaching its expected lifespan.
You also may notice cloudy or discolored water or simply see your water bills rising without any change in your average water usage. A rising water bill usually points to a leak somewhere that you may or may not be able to see. This issue alone is a good reason to call a plumber and have them take a thorough look at your plumbing system.
How Can I Help Prevent Corrosion in My Home?
While corrosion is an eventuality in every home, you can help slow its growth and prevent it from affecting your health by making sure you hire a certified plumber to perform an inspection of your home plumbing system at least once a year. The plumber can also check the quality of water in your home to determine if a water softener or water filter could help to treat chemical imbalances in your water to help make your water taste better and preserve the health of your pipes. A water softener can help to remove minerals from hard water while a water filter can take out bacteria and chemicals that contribute to corrosion within your home plumbing.
If you have any concerns about the corrosion in your home plumbing system, call bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of San Antonio serving Helotes, TX today. We would be happy to schedule an inspection to get to the bottom of your water situation.