Copper pipes have been used in the plumbing of homes for some time now and there are important reasons why. Copper is highly resistant to rusting and, under ideal conditions, can last many decades. However, copper can still break down over the course of time and under certain conditions can even be affected by corrosion. By catching problems with corrosion in your copper pipes early, you can avoid more significant (and costly) problems later on.
The first type of corrosion to keep an eye on is formicary corrosion. This is caused by the formaldehyde particles present in the air and soil. The formaldehyde eats away tiny, microscopic holes through the copper pipes in a pattern that resembles an anthill when observed under a microscope – this is where the term “formicary” comes from.
Though the holes are so tiny you wouldn’t be able to see them with just the naked eye, they can add up to cause serious damage to your plumbing. Leaks occur more frequently as the corrosion advances and the lifespan of any pipes affected will be shortened. And because this kind of corrosion is caused by particles in your home, there’s not much you can do to stop it. The best thing to do is have a professional plumber perform an annual inspection on your copper pipes to be sure the corrosion is caught early.
Chlorine particles close to copper pipes will cause pitted corrosion, which is a different problem altogether. While formicary corrosion tends to affect a wide area of piping slowly, pitted corrosion causes quick degradation of the copper, focused on one small area and causing a pinhole leak. While pinhole leaks are only small enough to leak a few drops at a time, over a long period they can rot out an entire area and cause significant water damage. Protect your copper pipes from pitted corrosion by having your plumbing inspected at least once a year.
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Alpha Plumbing is a full-service plumbing and contracting company serving the Baltimore and Annapolis metro area with expertise in all aspects of plumbing. We’re family-owned and operated since 1991 from our office in Pasadena. We offer quality plumbing services at reasonable rates in a timely fashion. Our trucks are equipped with GPS systems to ensure we’re prompt and on time. No job is too large or too small! We maintain a fleet of well-stocked trucks and also own and operate our own backhoes for jobs requiring excavation.