Copper Plumbing Rust, On New Pipes, HOW TO CLEAN IT ?

We hired a plumber to pipe the entire house with new copper pipes a couple of months back. In the last weekend, I found that there are quite large areas of green rusts around the copper fitting/connector sections. The floors and walls are still open, so we can still access all pipes.
I did not observe the installation so do not know exactly how they did it. I'd like to avoid repiping the entire house, and want to see if there is a way to clean up the rust and apply proper sealant to those areas. My hope is that this clean up will let the pipe last as long as those laid properly.
Would appreciate suggestions on ways to do this.
An expensive lesson learned, never hire a plumber ONLY based on price!
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Unless there is an actual leak, there really isn't any problem. If there is a seep, simply cleaning the joints won't solve the problem, you'll need to get him back to make the necessary repair (which is essentially trivial).
It does indicate he didn't clean up the joints as well as he could have, but there is no reason to think these joints will fail early. If you want them bright, use some plumbers tape (strips of emery cloth) and shine 'em up...they'll just tarnish again, anyway.
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Duane Bozarth wrote:

That is good to hear. I didn't see any seeping water, but will take a closer look when I have a chance.
I like things to be done properly and also look good. So will wipe them off definitely. Thanks.
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On 2 Nov 2005 09:07:20 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

What you are probably seeing results from the plumber not thoughly removing the remnants of the flux used when soldering copper pipes. Some of the more aggressive fluxes will cause the pipe to show that green corrosion. If those sections of pipe feel a little slimy or greasy, than that is almost certainly what has happened. When soldering the joints, the flux liquifies and flows a ways out on the pipe.
It's mostly an appearance issue and doesn't mean the joints will leak right away or even ever. But if it bothers you, you can remove the flux with hot water and a good grease cutting detergent. Then buff the corrosion away with plumbers cloth (emery cloth) or a scotch-brite pad.
Yes, a really careful plumber will take the time to wipe the excess flux off the joints after soldering. But as we all know...high priced doesn't necessarily mean good (although the other way 'round is a safer bet!)
HTH,
Paul
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Are there any sealant that can be applied to the area of cleaned copper ? I must confess that I have absolutely no clue about plumbing.. Just want the pipes to stop turning green again in a couple of months. The thought of having to open the floor and walls to repipe in 5 years is pretty scary. Hopefully after the cleaning the pipes will not turn green for much longer.
Thanks for the assuring explanations.
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On 2 Nov 2005 11:47:30 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Did you miss a poster's point that they will tarnish again after you clean them? Once you do clean them and you are happy - spray them with a can of kilz primer if it bothers you. Flux can be burnt as I understand it which leads to the corrosions. Attention to details..from the plumber reduces that ugly corrosion.
It's scary that you might consider opening the floors and walls to clean the pipes off "in a couple of months" /\\0-0/\\
Oren
"My doctor says I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fiber, and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes."
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You worry too much. The patina or tarnish is strictly cosmetic and once the walls are closed, you will never see it so why preserve the outside of the pipes. Overcleaning especially with abrasives will eventually thin the walls causing problems. Best to leave it alone.
If you really must obsess over having shiny pipes, you can use plain old fashioned Shellac as it is used to seal all sorts of metal surfaces from corrosion
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A good Quality Plumber always wipes his joints. Oh well get a brass brush and clean them
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On Wed, 02 Nov 2005 18:40:34 GMT, "Sacramento Dave"

But don't forget, he was hired solely on the basis of price. And time is money.
To the OP. Look at all the metal sculptures in front of all the city halls and libraries, They're copper or bronze and they all have a "patina", often a green one.. That doesn't mean they're wearing out. Check out the Statue of Liberty.

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When copper corrodes normally, it forms a green "skin" that protects it from further corrosion. The others are correct that you can just clean off the excess flux and polish the copper with some emery cloth. It's not really necessary, and shouldn't affect the life of the joint so you can put away the worries of repiping the entire house in 5 years (of course, if the plumber was sloppy enough to not wipe down his joints afterward, what else has he missed?).
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Generally speaking, if you leave the flux on, it'll corrode the copper for a short while until the active ingredient in the flux is "used up".
It'll usually be "used up" _long_ before it actually presents a leakage risk. The only result being a slightly unsightly joint.
It's essentially a purely cosmetic issue.
If it bothers the OP and the flux is still relatively fresh, hot water and some sort of degreaser (even liquid dishwashing soap) will remove the remnants of the flux, any remaining signs of corrosion (discoloured bits) are not a problem.
If the flux remnants don't come off, it's "used up" (dried out), and is no longer a problem and corrosion has already stopped.
The only time where you'd do anythimg more is if the copper is a visual component of the interior decoration. Ie: exposed copper in upscale bathrooms. Then you worry about polishing and shellac/varnish to prevent oxidization (if you want it to stay bright).
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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