Question for everyone.
I've read on various posts in this group opposing views that say both
that "copper pipe will not corrode" and "copper pipe can corrode
quickly". Some say it will last 50-100 years others say 40 is a
limit. Can anyone provide a definitive answer?
While remodeling our bathroom one of the copper drain pipes in the
floor sprung a leak. And not a small leak; it's probably as big
around as a nickel and the copper is clearly flaking off. The
location is in a horizontal run just past a 90 degree bend from a
vertical run (an L shape). It doesn't *look* like damage caused from
the work, but if it is not and it is corrosion, I'm obviously
concerned about all the other copper sewage lines in my house (built
in 1963). And possibly even the supply lines as well.
Any advice? Anything I could do to determine why the pipe corroded
and subsequently failed as it did?
It is true; 40 years is about the limit
for copper used in drainage applications.
I suspect that sections most affected are
those in contact with soapy water waste.
Local water quality may also have a lot to do
with corrosion rate.
If you have significant corrosion in one place,
look for it everywhere.
There is no reason that the supply piping will
be similarly affected; it may go another 100 years.
Anything resting against or otherwise touching that pipe, externally?
Such as other dissimilar metal; maybe a ferrous metal strap possibly
rusted away or an other metal staple or nail, which might have caused
BTW understanding that you are talking about copper waste pipe
Nothing at the location of the failure. Since the pipe was in the
floor, it wasn't likely to have been hit by a nail/staple anytime
since the home was built. And yes, all the waste pipe in this house
is copper with the exception of many of the p-traps which are PVC.
Am now a bit concerned about the rest of the hidden copper waste
pipe. The plumber said nothing else that he could see appeared to
have any signs of weakness. I do know the previous owners tended to
be Draino happy. Could these type of de-clogging liquids sitting in
the drain cause the pipe to corrode? If so, for future reference what
types of things should we avoid putting down the drain?
Thanks for all the help.
Beats me. There could be many reasons. Maybe settling of the slabs over time
stresses the pipes mechanically. Maybe the system water is corrosive. Could be
all kinds of things.
But it isn't "acid in the concrete".
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
On Dec 11, 6:56 pm, email@example.com (Doug Miller) wrote:
By saying that it's complete nonsense are you saying that copper
buried in concrete doesn't present problems? If so, I can give you
the physical addresses of about 15,000 nearby Levitt homes that were
built in the 40's and 50's that would contradict that premise.
The concrete is alkaline, but the problem is more complicated than
simple chemistry. Whether it's from galvanic reaction, faulty
installation during construction or shifting/cracking slabs is open to
debate. In any event, the copper fails. Ufer grounds - bare copper
ground wires - are buried in concrete without problems that I'm aware
of, but copper plumbing is another story.
I think there may be way too many variables for even an educated
homeowner to know why a given copper drain line failed. Maybe it was
a problem with the alloy. Maybe there something in the water. Maybe
someone poured something down the drain they shouldn't have., etc.
For what it's worth, I have 50 year old copper drain pipes that don't
show the least sign of problems.
Local conditions do make a difference. Copper will "corrode" that is
what makes that green color on exposed copper. That green stuff is much
harder and resistant than the copper.
The definitive answer depends on the water in your area, what you add to
the water before it goes in the drain and the quality of the pipe and
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.