If you bought an old house that has copper pipes, chances are most of the pipes will be corroded. And it would be best if you fixed them as soon as possible.
Corroded pipes can cause a variety of problems, including low water pressure, leaks and bursts. But with the proper tools and a bit of know-how, it’s a job you can do yourself. This read will tell you how to replace the copper pipe and repair them without any fuss.
What Causes Pipes To Corrode Over Time?
One of the leading plumbing problems is the presence of moisture. When water flows through metal pipes, it causes a chemical reaction that slowly eats away at the pipe. This reaction is accelerated by specific factors, such as the presence of oxygen or acidic water.
Corrosion can also be caused by physical wear and tear in pipes that are constantly vibrating or rubbing against other surfaces.
Another usual issue that leads to corroding pipes is a change in the pH range. The pH scale varies from 0 to 14, with 7 being the neutral mark.
A low pH will lead to the copper pipes corroding slowly, while a pH of 8 or more can lead to a thin coating of copper oxide forming inside the pipe. Even a slight change in pH can result in huge changes to the acidity level. But no matter what the cause of the abnormal pH is, it’s important to take action to protect your pipes.
Over time, the corrosion will weaken the pipe and cause holes or cracks. If left unchecked, a corroded pipe can eventually burst, leading to severe flooding and damage to your home.
How To Detect Corroded Pipes?
One way to tell if your pipes are corroded is by looking at the water pressure. If you have poor water pressure, there’s a good chance that corrosion is to blame.
However, you may also search for physical signs of pipe corrosion, such as flaking or discolouration on the outside of the pipes. If you think that you may have severely corroded pipes, it’s important to get them replaced to prevent any significant damage to the house or the entire plumbing system.
How To Deal With Corroded Pipes?
There are a few different ways to corroded pipe replacement. One option is to spot and repair the leaks using gear clamps or other temporary devices. Another option is redesigning your hot water recirculation system to ensure the water velocity remains under 122 centimetres per second.
And if the hot water temperature is above 60 degrees Celsius, you should not go above 92 centimetres per second. You can also remove sudden changes in piping direction in your home plumbing systems, deburr every tube end before joining and ensure that all soldering joints are installed properly.
Finally, you may need to use a treatment system for the water to keep its quality and pH levels in check. This is very important if your area has hard water.
In the next section, we will discuss how to replace a corroded pipe.
Step 1: Turning Off The Water
To begin with, shut off the main water valve, which is typically located in the basement or crawl space.
Step 2: Draining
Remove the remaining water from all the pipes by opening every home faucet and flushing all the toilets. There should not be any water left in the system.
Step 3: Cutting Out The Corroded Section Of The Pipe
Remove the corroded portion using a hacksaw or other sharp cutting tool to have a clean cut and install the new pipe. You can use PVC or copper piping, depending on your preference. Be sure to use pipes that are the same diameter as the ones you’re replacing.
You can now turn on the water and check for other leaks in the piping system.
Replacing Copper Pipes With PEX
Replacing your corroded copper pipes with PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) is a great way to prevent further leaks, and it’s a relatively easy process that most homeowners can do themselves.
To replace the copper pipe with PEX, begin by shutting off the main water valve. This will ensure that there is no water flowing through the pipes while you’re working with them.
Then you can use a pipe cutter or a hacksaw to cut the copper pipes to the point where they need to be replaced by PEX. Make sure you wear safety goggles while working on this, as flying bits of copper can be dangerous.
Once the pipes are cut, use a wire brush to remove any remaining corrosion from the inside of the pipes. This will help ensure that the PEX pipes fit snugly in place.
Slip the PEX pipe onto each cut copper pipe, and use a clamp to secure it. Turn on the tap, and check for leakage at the connection points. If there is any serious leak, tighten the clamps until they stop. That’s all there is to it.
How To Repair Galvanic Corrosion?
So how do you replace galvanised pipes in your home if they become corroded?
Galvanic corrosion is caused when two different metals come in contact with each other, causing the less noble metal to deteriorate. It is often seen when galvanised pipes are connected to copper pipes. The steel in the galvanised pipes slowly dissolves over time.
The effects of galvanic corrosion are limited to the contact area only, so if you have a small section of corroded pipe, you can replace it. However, if the corrosion is widespread, you may need to replace the entire pipe.
Another thing to note is the oxygen content, which is one of the most corrosive elements in water pipes. As the water temperature increases and pressure changes, the amount of dissolved oxygen in water decreases. This causes metal to convert to an oxide, also known as rust.
As the pipes rust, it deposits inside, causing restricted water flow, burst pipes, foul odour, red-tinted water, encrustation and mineral buildups.
Get Your Corroded Pipes Replaced!
If you’re not comfortable replacing corroded pipes, you can always hire a professional plumber to do the job. In most cases, they’ll be able to do it in a few hours and will also be able to offer advice on the best type of piping to use in your home.
Moreover, you can ask the plumber about effective ways of handling corroded pipes to limit the damage caused by them in future cases.
And if you’re getting the pipes replaced, don’t forget to ask him about the lifespan of the new ones. This will give you an idea of when to replace them before the pipes cause any trouble.
Another thing to remember is to gather the right tools, like pliers, washers, cutters, etc., before starting the job. This way, you can get right down to fixing or replacing the pipe without running around for them.