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I recently had an interesting conversation with a client that had contacted a local plumbing outfit to fix a broken tub faucet. After looking in the crawl space he made it clear that the copper plumbing pipes need to be replaced because he saw evidence of corrosion at the joints. The home was 40 years old and there were no leaks, the client is into his preventative maintenance without a doubt.
My first thought was to tell him to get a second opinion. Typically copper lasts 70-80 years or more and the green patina at the joints is called verdigris. It is seen when the flux acid was not wiped off after soldering. The look can cause a false concern that things are falling apart but they are not necessarily.
Verdigris anywhere else on a copper pipe (Away from a joint) is concerning and needs further investigation. In rare cases copper water lines can age prematurely, here are a few examples:
- High turbulence.
- Iron deposits.
- Acidic water chemistry (Typically not related to municipal water supply)
- Lack of movement.
The bottom line is that copper water pipes are great and rarely cause problems. PEX has benefits that make it better than copper IMHO. Removing perfectly good copper pipes because you see verdigris at the joints is silly and wasteful.
Polybutylene pipe replacement, on the other hand, is justified because it can fail at any moment for seemingly no reason.
Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about fixing stuff, click here to email me directly, or call 208-639-1808
I do these things during non-Levco time to be sure it doesn’t interfere with the Remodeling business. Repairing things and understanding homes is just another passion of mine.
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