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Possible Leaks for Each Pipe Material

Published on January 3, 2019

Plastic, copper, cast iron, and galvanized steel, these are the most common materials that household pipes are made of, and you might recognize at least one material that is found in your pipes. One material, however, isn’t considered to be better than others, and each of them are known for experiencing leaks; sooner, if not later.

It is important to realize, however, that different materials will react differently to different situations and circumstances. Whether you think you might have a leak, or have concerns about your pipes, allow us to show you possible leaks for each material of pipe found in the home.

Plastic

Plastic pipes often need primer and rubber cement in order to be joined with one another. The most common of leaks in plastic pipes occur from problems with joints and sealants involving two or more pieces.

Plastic pipes, such as PVC and ABS can also get weaker after prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Any plastic pipe used outdoors should be coated with latex paint to best shield the pipe’s outer layer.

Copper

One common type of leak that is mostly associated with copper is the pinhole leak. Pinhole leaks are small leaks that cause corrosion in the pipe, causing a small area of the pipe to turn green and deteriorate. According to plumbing leak repair specialists, the cause of this leak can either come from water that is acidic, too hard, too soft, or there is an addition of chemicals in the water. Simply put, copper isn’t generally used to changes in the water chemistry.

Debris is also not great to experience with a copper pipe. Examples of debris include iron deposits from a rusty water heater and sediment from the water heater’s tank. These kinds of debris can also make the copper weaker thus heightening the risk of a leak.

Cast Iron

Rust is a common concern for cast iron pipe owners. While it is true that rust can at times temporarily seal up a leak, you should contact plumbing leak repair should you find any rust outside the pipe. Hydrogen sulfide can turn into sulfuric acid when certain bacteria mix with chemicals for a prolonged period of time.

Chemical drain cleaners are products that you should never buy and use to clean drains, but the material that suffers the most from them is cast iron. The sulfuric acid that they come with will easily digest cast iron like fire to paper.

Galvanized Steel

Galvanized steel, while still used in some homes, are only found today in older homes, and are very rarely made for new pipes. They were made with a lining of zinc inside, but that layer over time is known to deteriorate. Interior corrosion is the common concern for galvanized steel pipes, with brown water and low water pressure being two telltale signs for homeowners.

The joining of dissimilar metals along with water can lead to what is known as galvanized corrosion. The result is that the metal will deteriorate at a faster rate than usual. In plumbing, galvanized steel and galvanized copper can be subject to corrosion, with steel normally being the material that takes the brunt of this phenomenon.

All pipes can also experience similar problems, especially in the winter. For instance, a pipe can burst when water inside it expands. Water expands when frozen, and frozen water can cause pressure that is too much for pipes that are set up along and inside walls. If you live in a home that experiences cold weather in the winter, see that your pipes are well insulated.

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