Re: Copper Corrosion
Posted by Gary Slusser on January 31, 2003 at 12:36:53:
In response to Re: Copper Corrosion
: We are currently in about a one year old home. We are on well water that has been tested multiple times resulting in a ph range from 6.9 to 7.2 (with the exception of a water salesperson who said it was 6.5). We have been testing our water for high copper after noticing blue green stains on our shower tile about 2 months following our move in (my wifes highlights in her hair also turned a tint of green). Our testing resulted in values between 1100 ug/l to 2600 ug/l (epa levels are 1100 ug/l).

: We have a water softner that was installed about a month before we noticed the problem, but when we bypassed the softner for a few weeks and tested the water, we got the worst readings (2600 to 2800 ug/l). So, it appears the softener is helping, however, having it installed so early may be keeping the pipes from developing a protective coating. We have had a plumber check all the connections, and also an electrican check all potential bonding issues with no avail.

: I just installed 2 polyphosphate cartridges (opaque cartridge that slowly disolves) in parallel after the water softner. I also sodered a 17 lb magnesium anode sacrafice bag to the copper pipe at the entrance of the copper pipe to the house where it transitions from PVC to the sweep. If these don't work, I was thinking of putting an acid neutralizer on the system. If that doesn't work????Whole house reverse osmosis????

: Short of paying a consultant $3,000.00 to maybe find the problem, I was wondering if you think i'm headed in the right direction. This has been an extremely frusterating experience (espically since my wife was pregnant just after we moved in). She had copper tests done on her and my little girl and they were OK.

I think you were headed in the right direction when you spoke to the water treatment guy. We specialize in matters such as this. Since the water treatment guy you haven't been going in the right direction and very probably are making things worse. And you've fallen victim to how many salespersons and still have to solve the problem!! And you have less money now. As an example of wrong directions, a softener removes magnesium from water, it's part of water hardness along with calcium. Also, softened or naturally soft (low pH) water removes any hard water scale build up inside copper tubing. Plus, water hardness scale build up is very iffy at best.

There are a number of things in water that can cause copper corrosion and an acid neutralizer solves many of them. It may not be the total solution, but nothing else is either. As an example, they don't do anything to improve the building's electrical ground, or prevent dissimilar metals connections or erosion corrosion etc.. Some of the things an AN filter counteracts are low pH - acidic water, DO and CO2 content.

Labs make mistakes and the time from sample collection to testing can and does change the test results. Aeration changes (increases) the pH of water. It also adds DO to the water! Moderately high iron in the sample also causes a false pH reading if you don't use a buffer. Strange the labs didn't tell you these things huh. And as we see, you either have a fluctuating pH or the labs can't duplicate, or get the same result in a number of tests. By the way, CO2 and carbonic acid produces falsely high pH readings and eats copper tubing.

Other possible causes of your high copper levels is soldering flux left in fittings and the tubing and various non-harmful bacteria. In my opinion this isn't a DIY'er type problem and you need a water treatment dealer to solve the problem.

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