Re: Leaking Copper Plumbing
Posted by Bud...Suncoast Plumbing on October 23, 19100 at 08:38:35:
In response to Re: Leaking Copper Plumbing
Robert: Pin hole leaks in copper piping is not a new phenomenon even though you may not of heard or experienced it before.
I have been a Plumbing Contractor for almost 50 years, and have spent considerable time (28years) trying to cut through the fiction and fact that is generally associated with the reasoning for this type of costly and annoying pipe failure.
Below are some excerpts of articles that I have printed on the is not a solicitation for you to purchase a product that we manufacture to control this corrosion process.
It is an attempt to explain in laymans' terms the dynamics that are involved in the process that causes the pipe to fail.
The copper industry has lost a great deal of market share of piping through no fault of their own. The cause of pin hole leaks is not the result of an inferior quality copper pipe. The cause of the failure due to pin hole leaks is not the result of attack by municipal water supplies that conform to the "Federal Clean Water Act" mandates.
The problem lies with electrical potential differences within the piping system. These differences are so small that they require the use of a milivolt meter to detect. A milivolt is 1/1000th of a volt.
The water that is supplied to your home is more than likely good wholesome water. It has been treated by the water department to remove unwanted
things and chlorine to keep it safe from contamination en route to your home.
The water, because of desolved minerals and gasses has the ability to conduct an eletrical charge. This ability to conduct electrically makes the water an "Electrolyte". An electrolyte is simply a term used to describe a condition whereby a liquid has electrical current carrying capacity.
The engine that drives the corrosion process (Electrolysis") is this miniscule amount of electrical energy mentioned earlier. If this unwanted voltage could be isolated or cancelled out, there would be no corrosion...and therefore no pin hole leak failures.
That is more easily said than done however.
The corrosion process that causes the pin hole leak is taking place inside the piping..24 hours a day year in and year out until it finally eats a hole through the pipe wall and starts to leak.

The process that is responsible for the pin hole phenomenon has a rather
pretentious name: "Electrochemical Decomposition". It is also referred to as "Electrolysis". Without using elaborate technical terms, I will try to explain very briefly what happens inside your piping it happens...and why it happens. I will also provide you with some answers on what can be done to deal with the results of electrolysis.
There are three things needed to create a pin hole in a pipe...........
1.) A metallic pipe (Copper) with a liquid (Water) flowing through it.

2.) An "Electrolyte", in this case the water is the electrolyte. An electrolyte is simply a liquid that has the ability to conduct an electrical charge.

3.) And a very very small amount of DC electrical voltage. The electrical energy
needed to fuel this pipe destroying process is so small that a very sensitive
meter is required to detect its' presence. This voltage is typically rated in "Milivolts" or thousandeths of one volt.

Where ever there is a disparity in electrical potential within your piping system,
Mother Nature will set about the business of trying bring things into perfect balance and harmony. To accomplish this task, copper electrons are stripped from the copper atoms that make up the walls of the pipe. These ions (positively charged copper partcles) start toward the electrically deficient section of piping in an attempt at bringing electrical equalibrium within the piping system. Unfortunately this plan does not succeed, and the copper that has been leached from the walls of the pipe
form copper compounds with other minerals found in the water. These new copper
compounds generally produce blue/green stains.
When enough ions are removed, a pin hole will appear.

Our "Copper Knight" line of corrosion protection devices utilizes the sacrificial anode
concept to achieve the desired result of controlling the destructive corrosion process.
Every water heater produced in this country has an anode installed inside the tank by the manufacturer to protect the tank from failure due to pin hole leaks during its' warranty period. This anode also has some side benefit to the hot water piping in the homes water piping system, and this explains why most pin hole leaks occur in the cold water lines.
Each "Copper Knight" has a replaceable specially alloyed Magnesium anode 2" in diameter and 12" long. The electrical forces that fuel the corrosion process find it much easier to destroy the Magnesium anode than the copper pipe.
This arrangement is somewhat annalogous to plate glass insurance or paying off the bad guys in a protection racket. As long as there is an active Magnesium anode in the "Copper Knight " housing the copper will be spared at the expense of the replaceable Magnesium anode.
Until someone smarter than yours truly can develop a practical and effective means of eliminating the electrical fuel that drives the corrosion process, the "Copper Knight" will remain the only alternative to pin hole leaks and the leaching of copper and heavy metals into the potable water supply.

Bud Hardman LMP COPPERKNIGHT.COM protection
Suncoast Plumbing Inc.
State Certfied Plumbing Contractors.
Florida Certificate CFC 037167

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