Reasons for Corrosion
A home inspector will usually notice corroded joints and pipes in older homes. When he or she uses the term ‘moderate’ on the home inspection report, he or she means that the pipes or joints should be checked periodically – not that they are safe from further corrosion or leaking as they are NOT. If you want a more concise opinion about the state of the pipes then it is suggested that you hire a professional plumbing contractor. The reason is that when the home inspection is being done the inspector is unable to use any other method of determining the actual state of the pipes other than his or her eyes. Rest assured if pipes have visible corrosion on the exterior the interior is likely to have more damage. Pipe removal and replacement should be contemplated in the near future in order to avoid leakage and damages.
If there are leaks in the joints and the pipes of a home then they should be fixed immediately. Leaky pipes can cause severe damage. If it is left to leak for even a few hours, it creates moisture in the area where it is located and can invite mold, mildew and wood-boring insects into the home. In other words, it can weaken the structure of the home and can cost a lot more than just hiring a plumbing contractor fix the leak. If you are somewhat of a repair person, some leaky pipes and joints can be temporarily repaired by using a pipe clamp. Although pipe clamps are not permanent, they can still last for up to a few weeks, months or even years. In any case replace the affected area of the pipe or the entire joint as the case may be in order to avoid further damages and problems.
In some cases the application of the flux, or chemical cleaning agent, applied after soldering the pipes is the main cause of corrosion on the pipes. If you ever notice a plumbing contractor really cleans off all the flux when the solder is still hot. Home owners and amateurs are afraid of loosing the joint and for that reason do not clean off the flux. If flux is not cleaned off leakage will occur one day. This is due to the high amount of acidity found in flux.
Well water in our area many times has low Ph levels. It is recommended that you have someone check your water well first before changing the pipes right away. Make sure that you check your water well’s Ph levels regularly. Home inspections are non-invasive and the inspector will not do it for you. Low ph (below 7.0) means your metal pipes are being dissolved and that immediate corrective actions are necessary in order to avoid further damages to the pipes.
Contrary to popular belief if you mix two different metals together, such as copper pipes and lead joints, it will not cause corrosion (it causes an electrical interaction between the pipes that produces a different but similar type damage).
Corrosion just at the pipe joints usually is an indication the pipes have been improperly soldered, it is an indication that the job was done by someone who had little experience in plumbing. If the pipes do look like they need replacement in certain areas as according to the home inspection report then make sure that you hire an experienced plumber to do the job for you. This way you will be guaranteed that the job will be done right.
Another thing that a professional plumber can do for you, which a home inspector cannot, is study the state of the pipes between the walls or in within the floors. Chances are that there is more corrosion than what meets the eye.infiltration.