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A copper mystery

DanHolohan
DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,374
A very large problem on Long Island:

https://heatinghelp.com/blog/a-copper-mystery/
Retired and loving it.

Comments

  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,245
    Hello, I'm sure it's not cheap, but perhaps this: https://www.cnn.com/2014/04/24/tech/innovation/machine-makes-drinking-water-from-air/index.html is part of the solution. I hope TLM is doing wonderfully now!

    Yours, Larry
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,374
    I'm even wondering about the air. ;-)

    TLM is getting great reports. Thanks, my friend.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Sal Santamaura
    Sal Santamaura Member Posts: 345
    Dan, we 'discussed' the copper problem in another thread several years ago when I had to have my entire southern California house re-piped in PEX-A after copper pinholes here resulted from a change in municipal water disinfection method. I established at the time that your water supplier hadn't made a similar change, so wasn't able to provide any clues as to the Bethpage problem's cause.

    Unfortunately, I've nothing further to suggest on the matter today, but am posting to offer a correction and comment against your article. First the correction. Neither you nor TLM are "old." Ninety five is old. Late sixties isn't. It's a time of great joy and, for many, great vitality.

    Second, I don't recall you previously mentioning that TLM fought breast cancer last year. Please extend my best wishes to her for a full recovery and many decades of remission to come.

    Thanks for all you do, and be well.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,374
    Thanks, Sal.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 6,786
    Here is the write up.
    It looks like the erosion starts with the cysts that form on the inside.
    I believe @Mark Eatherton mentioned a compound used in water treatment that can cause these kinds of issues.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,837
    Zman said:

    Here is the write up.
    It looks like the erosion starts with the cysts that form on the inside.
    I believe @Mark Eatherton mentioned a compound used in water treatment that can cause these kinds of issues.

    Alum, a derivative of aluminum is used as a coagulant in water treatment. Wherever it touches the copper, it starts an electrolytic cell (tubercle) and eventually eats completely through the pipe. Having a system with the Langlier Index (induced hardness) well maintained will circumvent this condition, and as was proven in Michigan, stopping the Langlier treatment will cause a loss of the protective patina laid down inside the pipes, causing major problems.

    But it (copper tubing failure) can come in MANY forms.

    ME

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
    Zman
  • Leonard
    Leonard Member Posts: 903
    edited April 2018
    I'm wondering if local pipe suppliers only carried cheap thin walled copper pipe. Copper pipe comes in 3 thicknesses. K, L, and M

    Also ridgid copper pipe likely has been cold worked which should increases it's corrosion susceptibility some amount compared to annealed copper. Underground service line is usually annealed copper ( coiled) and ours is very thick walled.

    https://sizes.com/materials/pipeCopper.htm

    I guess some "benign" water filtration chemicals like alum might have an effect on corrsion. But I doubt general chemical contamination of water table would have much effect on internal corrosion. Too much water diluting it, I suspect you would be dead before it was strong enough to have a significant effect of corrosion rate.
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,011
    any opinion if this is a possible solution to copper pipe issues?copperknight.com/
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • unclejohn
    unclejohn Member Posts: 1,736
    I cut out a section of pipe that had pin holes and sent it to the manufacturer. Expecting nothing I got a several pounds of paper back that in a nut shell said to much flux.
    mattmia2
  • Leonard
    Leonard Member Posts: 903
    Guessing it's applying a voltage to the water to try to suppress current in the "wrong direction" that galvantically eats the pipe.

    Can do this either thru magnezium type rod or thru DC power supply. But either way wouldn't expect it's protection to extend too many pipe diameters downstream. Guessing 10-20 at best .
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 1,680
    Leonard said:

    I'm wondering if local pipe suppliers only carried cheap thin walled copper pipe. Copper pipe comes in 3 thicknesses. K, L, and M

    Also ridgid copper pipe likely has been cold worked which should increases it's corrosion susceptibility some amount compared to annealed copper. Underground service line is usually annealed copper ( coiled) and ours is very thick walled.

    https://sizes.com/materials/pipeCopper.htm

    I guess some "benign" water filtration chemicals like alum might have an effect on corrsion. But I doubt general chemical contamination of water table would have much effect on internal corrosion. Too much water diluting it, I suspect you would be dead before it was strong enough to have a significant effect of corrosion rate.

    There was a theory that a boatload of copper pipes from somewhere sometime in the fifties cost Toronto building owners twenty years later.

    There's also prejudice in many places against soft copper. I agree with Leonard that it's superior,especially when you run individual lines to each fixture.
  • Condoman
    Condoman Member Posts: 76
    This is interesting in that I am in a new to me 1959 home in north east CT with well water. About a month ago I had a leak in the cold water line that put a coating of water on the basement floor. When we bought this ranch in 2011 all lines had been replaced with PEX about two years prior, don't know why but, I suspect leaking.

    My leak was in a short, 4 inch piece of horizontal copper where the PEX converted to copper to rise vertical to the bathroom sink cold water. I believe this is original 1959 plumbing.

    A few weeks later, now on alert, I found a 90° elbow at the top exit of the DHW indirect with a drop of water on it. I cleaned it and saw the drop begin to build again. This was installed by me in 2012. The indirect of course has no power and the hot side would mean that any flux issue should have been washed away long ago.

    I keep both of these pieces on my desk to remind me to check often for little surprises.

    As part of my awareness, yesterday I installed a water meter on the incoming line with a Wi-Fi camera pointed at it to look at water usage from anywhere.
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,331
    My brother in-law was diagnosed with throat cancer about three years ago. Seems he has beat it. They suspect something to do with the water supply.
    A good friend, diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, about 2 years ago. Her numbers are down substantially.
    I remember in my younger days these types of results were not typical. Feels good to hear the good results.
    But what are the causes?
    I hope that TLM is doing well.
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,331
    @DanHolohan ? Your renovation back in 1991. Is that the renovation that a neighbor came by and said that it looked like "Frank Bunks, or Bucks Monkey Farm"? I think I read that story in PM magazine back then. Just puts a smile on my face .
    Excellent writing style.
    Erin Holohan Haskell
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,374
    Different one, but thanks!
    Retired and loving it.
  • Leonard
    Leonard Member Posts: 903
    edited January 2019
    Maybe 5 years ago I cleaned calcium deposits out of my furnace's tankless coil with muratic acid ( 35% HCL) and replace some old valves. HomeDepot valves now have corrosion "freckles" on them... think it's cheap China brass.
  • nibs
    nibs Member Posts: 462
    Perhaps some enterprising genius could come up with a black box that would supply a micro voltage to keep galvanic action in check. combined with an anode it should be solve
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,374
    Story update: We solved it with a total PEX retrofit.
    Retired and loving it.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,656
    This wasn't a good bedtime story. Congratulations on your retirement Dan.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,374
    Thanks!
    Retired and loving it.