Most water problems are the result of corrosion and erosion within the pipe. These chemical reactions, which are a result of water coming into contact with metal, can wear away and weaken pipe walls. Failing pipe systems can result in a number of water problems that can range from annoying to costly to dangerous:
Friction alone is one of the major contributors to pipe failure. In situations where water is flowing more frequently or more rapidly - such as in a recirculation line - pipe walls will erode and need repair more quickly.
Since water reacts with metal, deterioration of some sort is inevitable. The chemistry of water flowing through pipes will have a direct impact on the speed and extent of pipe deterioration. The major factors that affect pipes and plumbing systems are:
- Oxygen suspended in water reacts with metals, which is the leading cause of pipe corrosion.
- Low pH, or soft water, is acidic and can rapidly dissolve pipe walls, thinning the metal and eroding copper into the drinking water system.
- High pH, or hard water, is often full of dissolved minerals that can cause your pipes to become encrusted and plugged. In copper pipes, this can also contribute to pitting and pinhole leaks.
- Chlorine may contribute to pitting and associated pinhole leaks, and can dramatically increase the lead leaching from pipes and fittings.
- Temperature: the higher the temperature, the faster the rate of corrosion.