If the water coming from your plumbing is discolored, call a plumber to help you figure out why. Discoloration could be a sign of pipe corrosion. If the corrosion is bad enough, your water may not be safe to drink. There could be too much copper, iron, lead, or other substances in the water. Here's when to suspect your plumbing might be corroded and what a plumber can do about the problem.
Corroded Pipes May Leak
When pipes get corroded, they can develop holes or cracks and leak. This can be a serious problem when the pipe is under a slab or buried underground. You may not know the pipe is leaking until you get a high water bill or notice water damage in your home.
Corroded pipes can also be shed in your water. You might notice little flecks of rust that settle to the bottom of your glass. Your water could look a little cloudy or be brown, reddish, or even blue depending on what metals or minerals it picks up.
You might also suspect problems with your pipes if your plumbing is several decades old. If you're not sure how old the pipes are or what the pipes are made from, call a plumber to check your pipes and let you know. Metal pipes wear out over the years, so if your pipes are old, they may be corroded and on the brink of failure.
Different Things Cause Pipe Corrosion
Pipes corrode at different rates depending on what they're exposed to. If you have acidic water or water that's high in minerals, your plumbing may corrode faster. Your plumber can do a water test that shows how hard your water is, how many dissolved solids it has, and the level of the pH. A test can also be done to determine lead levels if it's found your home has lead pipes.
The Solution May Be Repiping
Since corrosion can cause your pipes to leak, the best solution may be to have your home repiped. This entails putting in all-new water pipes. The plumber can use flexible pipes so they're easy to thread through walls. Flexible pipes are less disruptive to install, but you can opt for copper or other metal if you prefer.
If the problem is not widespread, the plumber might repair a leaky area and let you know that repiping could be in your future. If the pipes are still sturdy, and the corrosion was caught early, the plumber might descale the pipes to get rid of the built-up corrosion.
The plumber keeps in mind the risks of future leaking and the risks of drinking water with too much copper or lead when deciding what approach to take with plumbing repairs. In the case of lead pipes, your plumber may recommend replacing them right away.