Bill R: Copper can and should last
a lifetime. And with just a little help will deliver its’ full potential for a lifetime of trouble free service.
Pin hole leaks are the result of internal corrosion called Electrolysis or Electro Chemical decomposition. Below is some information you may find interesting on this subject.
The process that is responsible for the pin hole phenomenon has a rather
pretentious name: “Electrochemical Decomposition”. It is also referred to as “Electrolysis”. Without using elaborate technical terms, I will try to explain very briefly what happens inside your piping system…how it happens…and why it happens. I will also provide you with some answers on what can be done to deal with the results of electrolysis.
There are three things needed to create a pin hole in a pipe………..
1.) A metallic pipe (Copper) with a liquid (Water) flowing through it.
2.) An “Electrolyte”, in this case the water is the electrolyte. An electrolyte is simply a liquid that has the ability to conduct an electrical charge.
3.) And a very very small amount of DC electrical voltage. The electrical energy
needed to fuel this pipe destroying process is so small that a very sensitive
meter is required to detect its’ presence. This voltage is typically rated in “Milivolts” or thousandeths of one volt.
Where ever there is a disparity in electrical potential within your piping system,
Mother Nature will set about the business of trying bring things into perfect balance and harmony. To accomplish this task, copper electrons are stripped from the copper atoms that make up the walls of the pipe. These ions (positively charged copper partcles) start toward the electrically deficient section of piping in an attempt at bringing electrical equalibrium within the piping system. Unfortunately this plan does not succeed, and the copper that has been leached from the walls of the pipe
form copper compounds with other minerals found in the water. These new copper
compounds generally produce blue/green stains.
When enough ions are removed, a pin hole will appear.
Our “Copper Knight” line of corrosion protection devices utilizes the sacrificial anode
concept to achieve the desired result of controlling the destructive corrosion process.
Every water heater produced in this country has an anode installed inside the tank by the manufacturer to protect the tank from failure due to pin hole leaks during its’ warranty period. This anode also has some side benefit to the hot water piping in the homes water piping system, and this explains why most pin hole leaks occur in the cold water lines.
Each “Copper Knight” has a replaceable specially alloyed Magnesium anode 2″ in diameter and 12″ long. The electrical forces that fuel the corrosion process find it much easier to destroy the Magnesium anode than the copper pipe.
This arrangement is somewhat annalogous to plate glass insurance or paying off the bad guys in a protection racket. As long as there is an active Magnesium anode in the “Copper Knight ” housing the copper will be spared at the expense of the replaceable Magnesium anode.
Until someone smarter than yours truly can develop a practical and effective means of eliminating the electrical fuel that drives the corrosion process, the “Copper Knight” will remain the only alternative to pin hole leaks and the leaching of copper and heavy metals into the potable water supply.