It isn’t always obvious when your plumbing begins to deteriorate. The changes often happen gradually; sometimes, they only notice when it’s too late.
When undetected, corroded plumbing can lead to severe problems like burst pipes. But with the ability to detect the signs of corrosion early on, you’ll be able to prevent them from causing further harm.
Listed below are six distinct signs you should keep an eye out for when suspecting corrosion. It can be as simple as a change of taste in the water as you brush your teeth or something more serious.
Understanding Corrosion: What Causes Your Pipes to Deteriorate?
Corrosion is a natural process that occurs when metal pipes are exposed to various elements, leading to the gradual degradation of the material. When your pipes are corroded, this typically means that the metal is reacting with its environment, often through moisture exposure and changing its chemical composition. The process is accelerated in certain conditions, particularly where there’s a high presence of moisture, oxygen, and other corrosive agents.
The problem is especially prevalent in water pipes, where the constant flow of water can introduce too many minerals, contributing to the corrosion process. Over time, these corroding pipes may start to deteriorate, causing a range of issues from reduced water flow to potential pipe failure. The interaction between the metal pipes and the water flowing through them, especially if the water has a high mineral content, can weaken the pipes' structural integrity.
In essence, corrosion is critical in pipe maintenance and failure prevention. Being aware of the signs of corroded pipes can help you take early action and prevent more serious damage to your water flow system, ensuring the longevity and efficiency of your plumbing infrastructure.
6 Signs Of Pipe Corrosion
Leakage is one of the telltale signs of a fault with your plumbing. If your pipe is clogged or corroded, it may not be able to hold water as effectively, resulting in leakages. If the corroded pipe is exposed, you can spot the spills relatively easily. However, leaks become more difficult to catch if your pipe is in a wall.
2. Water Discolouration
One of the most noticeable side-effects of rusted pipes is discoloured water. A distinct odour and taste come with it; while it isn’t harmful to use, it’s a good practice to refrain from consuming it.
However, discoloured water might also point to causes other than rusted pipes. Sediments or water table shifts can cause rusty brown water. So, there’s no reason to be alarmed when it happens, but it’s good to check your piping system.
While clogged pipes aren’t necessarily an obvious sign of corrosion, frequent clogs are. Debris builds up in your pipes as it erodes and eventually creates a block. Ultimately, it may lead to cracks in the pipe or cause them to burst, causing a problem that is difficult to contain.
If you find yourself clearing your pipes out frequently, it may be time to have a professional check your plumbing system. After all, a problem prevented is money saved!
4. Low Water Pressure
Corroded copper pipes can’t hold water effectively, leading to leaks or clogs. But they may also lead to another issue: reduced water pressure. The older your plumbing system, the worse the problem with poor water pressure becomes.
It’s a good idea to replace your pipes when you encounter this issue. After all, rusted pipes may not stay intact for long, and if they are not fixed, you could end up with burst pipes.
5. Foul Taste
While tap water might not turn brown or give off an unpleasant odour, increasing minerals will undoubtedly give it a metallic taste. It could be an issue with the water supply or a sign of deteriorating plumbing.
You should stop consuming tap water if it has an unpleasant metallic taste and have it inspected to determine if it’s fit for consumption.
6. Visible Signs Of Corrosion
Outer oxidation is one of the easiest ways to determine if your plumbing is corroded. Note that this can only be observed on exposed pipes.
If your pipes are coated in an unusually coloured powdery substance, it may be a sign of corrosion. For instance, copper pipes turn a bluish-green upon oxidising.
Reasons For Pipe Corrosion
From age to water quality, there are several reasons your plumbing might rust.
1. Water Temperature
Metals oxidise quickly in the presence of moisture and heat, resulting in a coat of rust on the pipe’s surface. Rust builds up inside your pipes, causing them to weaken and clog.
If left unattended, the metal of your pipes will grow steadily thin and may develop cracks, leading to more severe problems.
2. Low Water pH
A lower pH value means the water has an acidic quality. The more acidic your water, the more reactive it is with the metal of your pipes. Copper pipes are especially susceptible to rusting because of this.
3. High Water Velocity
High water velocity can lead to corrosion over time, especially if the water is warm. This is especially true with irregularities in your pipes, which are more likely to erode when water passes over them rapidly.
The excess chemicals in your water could erode your pipes quickly. Drain cleaners are a common cause due to their chemical framework, which reacts to the metal in your pipes and corrodes them over time.
Are Your Pipes Corroding?
With this guide, you can identify pipe corrosions before they cause further harm. Remember to avoid using chemical drain cleaners to clean your plumbing systems, and keep an eye out for warning signs such as discoloured water. A strange taste and even hard water build-up.
Unnecessary disturbances may lead to more extensive damage and worsen the problem. So, it’s best to leave it to the professionals when dealing with corroded pipes.
Spotting these signs early is crucial to the longevity of your plumbing system. This will also help you prevent any monetary damages before they even happen. Our professional plumbers in Perth at Woolf Plumbing & Gas are here to help if you are experiencing problems with corroded pipes before they cause further damage. Contact us today for fast and effective pipe repairs and replacements.