corrosion of copper pipes

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    • #273284

      HELP… Have been springing pin hole leaks the past months what can I do? I read about a way to beat this very unpleasent problem by simply installing a device in the incoming water line.My ouestion to you is what is this device? and were do I instale it on my main water line?

    • #287274

      The following are two views of magnetic water conditioning you decide which is fact and which is fiction. David F. Walling

      Magnetic Water Treatment Attracts Gullible

      By Richard C. Stump II

      We live in an age of great scientific advances. Things considered to be impossible 100 years ago are as commonplace as a blade of grass. Medical advances make possible the treatment and detection of disease which would once have caused death, but with all the changes that have taken place in the world, there is one thing that is still the same: we still have those individuals who would take advantage of people’s lack of knowledge and gullibility for their own gain. We see this is drug trafficking, theft, and even in some businesses.

      One hundred years ago, patent medicine men roamed the countryside selling all kinds of concoctions that were supposed to cure nearly any ailment. The claims made were fantastic and the sales pitch excellent; so, naturally, people bought the concoctions. The medicine man was careful to tell people that the effect was not immediate so as not to arouse suspicion while he was still in town.

      The interesting thing was many people actually felt better after they took the medicine, some even claimed it cured their diseases. This kind of medicine today is known as a placebo. Many doubted the effectiveness but bought it anyway because they thought it might work, and besides it was so much cheaper than going to the doctor. Only the patent medicine man knew it was a fake. Government agencies put the patent medicine men out of business, but the tendency for people to pull the same kind of dishonest scheme is still there. So we find those same kind of individuals searching for some kind of product that they can sell at extreme profit to that gullible section of the population that still exists.

      What they need is something slightly mysterious, yet readily available. What comes to mind immediately is magnets and magnetism. Couple this with a pseudo-scientific explanation that sounds plausible and convincing. Then mass produce the product for $2 and sell it for $200. It is a known statistical fact that only 40 percent of the people who are sold a defective or non-functioning product will ever complain and far fewer would ever demand a refund. So with a profit margin of thousands of percent, you can still be way ahead of the game. An even more clever maneuver is to make it your policy that the product cannot be returned for a refund until after you use it for 90 days. The patent medicine man used that technique in order to get out of town. Ninety days is just long enough to forget that someone ripped you off for $200.

      If simple magnets have such amazing ability so as to soften and neutralize water and super charge fuel in an engine, why not take it a step further? Why not magnetic belts that reduce the size of the fat molecules around your waistline for those of us who need to trim a few pounds? Or magnetic shirts that unclog the arteries which surround the heart? Why wouldn’t it remove calcium and cholesterol deposits from our bodies (70 percent water), if it removes them from our plumbing in our homes? Perhaps we should come up with magnetic headbands that supercharge our brains and increase our IQ; or perhaps magnetic eyeglasses that let you see around corners. I learned a long time ago, “If it sounds too good to be true, it is.”

      We all look for bargains but as the old saying goes, “There are no free rides or lunches.” Magnetic water treatment isn’t new. It dates back to the ‘50s, shortly after real water conditioners were invented. Purdue University studies have shown them to be totally ineffective in chemically changing the water or reducing scale. Tests on water going in and coming out have shown them totally ineffective. The only good thing they do is to get people to think about the quality of water in their homes.

      If magnetic water treatment is so great, why did the Superior Court of Arizona issue a restraining order banning the sale of magnetic water softeners in 1978? Why did the Division of Consumer Protection of South Dakota send out a news release urging residents not to purchase the prevailing magnetic water softeners at the time? Why did the Minnesota Better Business News, April 19, 1979, alert consumers to “beware of questionable claims for magnetic water treatment devices”? Why did Purdue University state that none of the magnetic water treatment devices tested shows a beneficial change in the water? Finally, why is it that continued laboratory tests of such devices show them to be ineffective?

      Perhaps the best motto would be, “Let the buyer beware when buying bargain priced parachutes or water conditioners.”

      “I am not sure who wrote this article but it was sent to me by e mail. It contains some interesting content concerning the effects of magnetic water conditioning.” David F. Walling

      Magnetic Scam?

      Water’s capacity to entrap substances results in its high mineral content. One of the most common is calcium carbonate, a substance that forms mountain ranges, such as the Austrian Alps. Most water supplied by water districts in (North America) contains a good amount of calcium content. This is important for proper taste and a healthy mineral balance.”
      However, calcium is a problem in industry. It creates deposits of scale, like the accumulated scale in your kitchen kettle. Calcium is also a health problem when unassimilated calcium is deposited in human joints. Water softeners work as ion exchangers replacing calcium carbonate with sodium, which is okay for industry but it’s not recommended for human consumption!

      Magnetizing Water

      The effects of magnetic fields on running water have been observed for years. Patents on treating water with magnets appeared as early as the 1950s. It was discovered that less scale deposit was produced after long use. The effects were described as making the water appear to “behave” as if the mineral content was lowered. This technology was used mainly in countries which had very little chemical industry, like Russia, China, Poland and Bulgaria, who all reported successful use of magnets in treating water for irrigation, industry and home use. They cited improvements in taste and faster drying time – but no one knew why!

      Magnetic water treatment developed more slowly in the West. To Western minds measuring the magnetic effect of flowing water was somewhat suspect (Kronenberg said, “People in the West insist on understanding what they say or do!”). Also chemicals were in general use in North America and the chemical industry did its best to discourage the use of magnets-for obvious reasons!

      Even to Westerners, however, the genuine and practical effects of magnetic water treatment after prolonged use were undeniable. And Kronenberg states there is no mystique in how magnets treat water problems.The positive effects have been confirmed through systematic research. When treatment devices with permanent magnets were developed they were immediately successful! The formation of scale on new pipes was totally eliminated and the removal of scale deposits in old water pipes was soon evident.

      It was while he was at California State Polytechnic that Kronenberg contributed to the pioneering work in agriculture that re-used re-energized irrigation water with magnetic treatment. He says magnets actually change the nucleus of water.

      And that is the source of its seemingly magical properties. A diet of magnetized water makes cows give more milk, chickens grow fatter and lay more eggs. And cantaloupes and other crops grow larger and have better yields with less fertilizer.

      Professor Israel Lin of the Israel Institute of Technology decided to use magnetic treatment on saline and brackish water, using an instrument costing less than $5000 (US). The unexpected effects were revealed during tests at Kibbutz Gvat. The 85 cows that drank magnetically treated water for three years produced a litter more milk a day, had fewer milkless days and conceived more easily, due to increased health and vitality. (Better than bovine growth hormone!)

      The calves not only weighed more than calves in the control group, they were leaner!

      Magnetic water had a similar effect on all farm animals at Kibbutz Gvat. Geese grew bigger, sheep produced more meat, milk and wool, chickens and turkeys laid more eggs and were prolific for a longer period. More dramatically, the mortality rate was reduced with less feed. Lin said the change of the water’s properties is the key.

      “The magnetized water increases the solubility of minerals and therefore improves the transfer of nutrients to all parts of the body. making the organism work more efficiently”

      The Nucleus of Water

      ‘The shortage of nucleation centers in water is known to result from the capability of the water molecules to cluster around cach foreign particle,” Kronenberg explained. This renders it unavailable as a nucleation center. The forces of the magnetic fields on those water molecule clusters is very weak, however. The clusters vibrate in a number of ways. When they pass a number of magnetic poles at a certain velocity the periodic changes of the magnetic fields may coincide with one of the internal vibration frequencies of the water clusters. Resonance may occur and result in cracking open such a cluster.

      “The formerly entrapped particle is set free and the nearby mineral molecules rush from all sides to their nucleation center where they form circular platelets do not have to be crystallized on a container wall. In turn, the number of hard crystals is reduced accordingly. The percentage reduction is the magnetic treatment’s effectiveness racing.”

      The Memory of Water

      Many success reports specify that magnetized water maintains its property of scale deposit prevention up to two days. Kronenberg says some critics make this fact look absurd by calling it “water’s ability to remember its magnetizing experience.”

      “We do know,” he states,”that the treated water retains its special scale-reducing properties while the calcium carbonate is present in the solid, inactive form of the micro crystals. We have examined these crystals under massive magnification in various waters and different treatments. We can recognize in the 400-time magnification the clear prototype of the disc-shaped crystallization nuclei.” He says that following magnetic treatment of water with a bad smell the odor was removed because “the dissolved sulfite minerals were changed into solid masses.”

      Water Is Life

      Johann Grander says that because of electrical disturbances. satellites and especially through high water pressure, water loses its life force. And sick water negatively affects the health of people, animals and plants. On the other hand, water that has been revitalized through. magnetic treatment is restored to its natural energy.

      Crops grow faster and stronger; flowers and plants are healthier and more resistant to disease; lakes, rivers and streams are helped back to health; and livestock and pets are more vigorous.

      Magnetic treatment for purifying and rejuvenating water is new in North America. Kronenberg says it’s important that the public learns and understands the physical structure of water and the fundamental problems that presently exist-but don’t show up in a chemical water test. The benefits of restoring the vital energy of water has economic, personal and environmental benefits.

      Unfortunately, government bureaucrats are so far behind what is really required to revitalize and purify our water that they refuse to recognize that chlorination is a poison, not a purifying agent. And magnetism is not magic. It’s jut slightly foreign to North American experience-but it’s not going to make big profit for mega chemical companies!

      “In my 15 years of water treatment experience I have come to the conclusion the magnets do offer some type of effect on water. I have spoken to multitudes of people who have used these products and most do respond that there is some type of an effect with the use of these magnetic devices. I personally believe that the effects that these dissimilar magnets have are only temporary and would only benefit water that stays in motion. Once the water becomes stationary it begins to behave like water with calcium carbonate in it again” David F. Walling

    • #287275

      and so the answer to my question about my copper pipes spriging pin holes is what??????

    • #287276

      Put one unit on the incoming pipe to your house. Put one unit on the outlet side of your hot water heater. They clamp around the pipe follow the instructions that come with the units. They won’t stop your problem of pin holes. You will probably need to re-pipe your home I would call a licensed plumber to check your home. The reason I posted this information is because these magnetic devices are very controversial.

    • #287277

      High water velocity may be caused by an
      undersized piping system or excessive pressure. . The
      real solution is to lower the water velocity. The relationship is as
      follows: Reduce pipe size, increase velocity; increase pipe size, reduce
      velocity. Recommended velocity for hot water in a copper tube system is 4 –
      5 feet per second (fps). If systems are designed to respect these velocities
      the return lines will last as long as the rest of the system. The practice
      of reducing tube diameter for the return line run is counter-productive and
      is the main cause of high velocity in these systems. Since there is no
      sizing guide in the Model Codes for return lines, there is little guidance
      for the plumber on how to size this portion of the system. In the course of
      installing or replacing circulating lines, some contractors have been
      increasing the size of the return loop piping to 1″ or at least the same
      diameter as the hot water supply out of the water heater.

      Numerous, abrupt changes in direction in the piping system. Where
      structural conditions cause numerous directional changes, long radius (1.5
      Diameter) fittings should be used to minimize the interruption of laminar
      flow. .

      In other words you need either a pressure reducing valve OR increase the diameter of the piping. You should also have the water tested for PH content

      Another factor affecting copper tubing is if the instlaller didnt ream the tubing ends prior to soldering this would turbulent flow and erosion as lack of reaming the tube ends. Burrs left on the ID of the tube can
      cause interruption of laminar flow resulting in localized high water
      velocity and cavitation.

      Protrusions into the flow stream caused by excessive lumps of
      solder/brazing material, improperly fabricated tees (branch protruding into
      the run pipe), etc. These protrusions can also cause the
      interruption of laminar flow resulting in localized high water velocity and

      A lot of misfits also use self cleaning (ACID) fluxes and never properly flush the system (joints) and over time this flux actually eats away at the base metal.

      Excessive water temperature. Heating water above 140 degrees Fahrenheit
      can accelerate the process of erosion/corrosion. As the temperature
      increases, the velocity should be lowered. At 180 degrees Fahrenheit, the
      velocity should be down around 2 – 3 feet per second (fps).

      Bear in mind that these conditions are not peculiar to copper tube, but can
      affect other materials as well. However, when erosion/corrosion does occur
      in copper tube it is readily identifiable by the horseshoe shaped pitting
      throughout the inside of the tubes. Identification OD these pits or grooved
      corrosion-product-free areas on the inside of the tube can help you
      determine that water velocity is too high and that the reduction of velocity
      can correct the condition. Good luck .. Ask BUNGIE if you need an more detailed report as he is from Biscane and knows EVERYTHING about copper tubing failures.
      (He thinks I give to much )information out

    • #287278

      Thanks for the info I will get my water tested and start there My plumber is hoping we dont have to re plumb it could be opening a whole can of worms.

    • #287279

      Hi got my water tested, the ph is 6.02 the hardness is 28.0 the iron is 0.04. I was thinking to install a filter system to raise the p.h. level would this stop the pin hole leaks from reacuring? Thanks for help Gail

    • #287280

      The EPA guidelines for water systems recommend a pH of 6.5-8.5, Iron at 0.3 mg/L. Your iron level is below recommendations, which is fine. The EPA does not set a standard for hardness, & with a hardness of 28 ppm, your water is classified as slightly hard, which should not effect your pipes. As for the pH, a pH of 6.02, the only type of filter which would raise your pH would be a cation exchange – but honestly, I don’t know if raising the pH will help with your leak problem. Wish I could help you more, Kathy

    • #287281

      I am thinking of installing an upflow nuterlizer filter system which should bring my ph up so I have been told .. what is some advice you can share…

    • #287282

      Gail: You have received enough information on your post to boggle the average mind. You mention in your post a device that installs in the incoming water line to deal with pin hole leaks.
      We manufacture such a device , it is not a magnetic device however. It is an “active” Magnesium anode that provides a continuous supply of Magnesium ions that protect the interior surface of the copper pipe or tubing. If this is the device that you made reference to, I invite you to check the site below for further information on the subject of Pin hole leaks..High copper and heavy metals in the potable water and what options are open for remediation.
      As mentioned there are other types of corrosion that can also be a problem. Erosion corrosion is caused by water at high velocity abraiding the walls of the pipe by frictional drag and turbulence.
      Externally caused pipe failures are generally the result of sloppy installation practices, corrosive vapors or trench and back-fill media conditions.
      Suncoast Plumbing Inc.

    • #287283

      Thank you Bud for your email this sounds like just what I am looking for. Now do we have a plumber or a well man install this device?? Also what is the cost of this device? I will call you at the 1 800 # on monday THANKS AGAIN GAIL

    • #287284

      Gail for what it is worth Bud is the plumber US Master plumbers ask advice from.

      Bud is without any doubt in my mind the best of the best.

      I strongly you listen to any advice he may give you.

      Bud nice hearing from you again stay healthy and God bless..

    • #287285

      You guys are wonderful thanks so much for your help and patience. I really am grateful thanks Gail

    • #287286

      I am not a plumber, but I am an analytical chemist. a water pH of 6.02 should be left alone. Even in ideal circumstances, water is never really a pH of 7 unless it is buffered. You must remember that pH is an inverse-logarithmic scale, where the lower the pH the more acidic (protonated) the water is. If your pH was above neutral (pH=7) then I would consider a filter because that would mean you have “hard” water, which is an excess of calcium and magnesium ions.

    • #287287

      Hello, I have read most of the responses to your problem and quite frankly I wouldn’t recommend magnetic devices in this case.
      Although magnetics may rise you pH enough to prevent further pitting of your copper pipes, in doing so the magnetics will alternately further exacerbate the problem be removing further scale from within the pipe system revealing even more pinholes. I have seen this many time in cases just like yours, I know how magnetics works I have been using, manufacturing, and developing magnetic system for many years and I can tell you in your case you will could have a disaster on your hands.
      I recommend a sequestering agent, this will coat the inside of your copper pipe stopping and preventing further leaks, it will also contain your iron and hardness problems to give you an all round solution.
      Contact Jerry at Aquasmart in Atlanta Georgia. This I believe is the only way for you to go.
      If I can help you further please don’t hesitate to contact me direct.
      Good Luck
      King Regards
      Ian Gundrill

    • #287288

      I dont know why these people answer this way. Plastic pipe doesnt pinhole like this. The new pex pipe with aluminum can replace it and not get holes no matter what the ph. Go have it changed to the new stuff and forget the old advice. We arent living back in the old days with cast iron and lead and even galvanized much anymore.

    • #287289

      Could electrolysis be a factor here?

    • #287290

      Holy smokes people. There are lots of causers of pin hole leaks in copper pipe. Low pH of 6.2 is just one. This person could have in addition to that any number of other causer’s. If Bud has a device that can resolve all of them in one felled swoop, God Bless Him. He should be a very wealthy man very soon.

      Some causes:
      Low pH – Less than 7

      Electrolysis – caused by dissimilar metals, stray electrical currents or grounding of electrical wiring to the pipe. These are aggrevated by high Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in the water.

      High Chlorides in the water – Over 25 ppm.

      High Oxygen content.

      Extreme water flow velocity.

      Low pH is the easiest to treat by installing a Calcite Neutralizing Filter. This will neutralize that pH to somewhere slightly above 7.

      The other causer’s need to be confirmed by water analysis and by plumbing inspection. Contact a local Masterplumber and a local Water Treatment Specialist and hopefully they will work together to resolve your problem. Whatever it is.

    • #287291

      People might want to question the quality of the copper in the pipes as well. All the postings re pitting in copper pipes appear to be from USA, when the site is frequented by English, Australian, and Asian customers. It would seem the problem goes deeper ??

    • #287292


      Originally posted by GaryPurolite: You have stated the case quite well. Pin hole leaks and high metallic content in the water are the result of an internal corrosion process most commonly called Electrolysis.
      This post has drawn much interest, and is a subject dear to my heart. I have been a Plumbing Contractor for 51 years, and have spent a great deal of time tilting at the pin hole Windmill.
      I first became interested in the pin hole problem in the 60’s. It is hard to maintain credibility with your customers if you repair a
      pin hole leak under a slab or in a wall only to return in 6 wks. or 6 months to repair another 6″ or so from the earlier repair site.
      By degree is in Bus.Adm. and did
      not help at all in the search for answers for this growing plague of pin hole leaks.
      I was very fortunate to have had
      the talents of really smart cookies in Metallurgy and Electro-Chemistry at my doorstep. During the 60’s my section of Florida was awash with highly skilled people who had been working in the space
      program contractors. As things started to wind down in that area, there was an abundence of skilled
      people in need of employment. I hired a man who wrote technical
      manuals for the astranauts working
      at a Super Market rounding up shopping carts.
      I had as a kid worked for Consolidated Edison in metro NYC. My job there was to install Zinc anodes to protect the gas distribution lines from attack from corrosion. And learned the basics of cathodic protection by means of the sacrificial anode principle that had been around a hundred years or so.
      During the Korean War I served with the 127th Airborne Engineers, and fell into the job of protecting
      Missle Silos from corrosion.
      In 1953 I moved to Florida and have been a Plumbing..Gas..Utility
      Contractor since.
      I became aware early on that most pin hole leaks occur in the cold water piping ( unless it is hot water recirculation line with high velocity water whizzing through it 24 hrs. a day).I guessed
      this might be due to the presence of the Aluminum or Magnesium anode that is to be found in virtually all water heater.
      I enrolled in night classes in
      Chemistry and Physics, so I could get a better handle on the interaction of pH values and ambient DC current on the inside of a closed plumbing system.
      I thoroughly digested the electroplating analogy and electro desolution scales. There was an still is a myth that if you have a perfect 7 on the ever popular pH scale, you and your copper pipes will have a long and happy life.
      In the desert South West people
      drink Alkali water with a pH of 9+.

      If the water in your very own piping system has the ability to conduct an electrical charge(and it does), it is an electrolyte no
      matter the pH.

      If your very own piping system has any DC voltage present, (and it does) You have all that is needed to get into the pin hole biz. The DC voltage is really tiny
      and is measured in Milivolts. A Milivolt is 1/1000th of a volt.
      There is a great deal of disagreement as to where this mystery voltage comes from, and depends in large part on who you ask. I have an opinion from whence it comes, and will be happy to share that with you after class.

      Here in essence is what happens inside the piping system…….

      For simplicity sake imagine your entire piping system as one contiuous 3/4″ type “L” copper tube
      500 feet long. The water enters at “A” and travels through and discharges at “Z” by way of a #74 boiler drain into a covered container.

      Turn the water on so that there is a flow of 1 gallon per minut(approx). coming out of the boiler drain.

      Take an 8’copper clad ground rod an
      drive it all the way into the ground at the mid point of your 500 foot water line, but don’t connect it to the water line. Now
      connect the black lead of your new
      digital volt/ohm meter to that ground rod. The black lead is 250
      long so that you will be able to walk back and forth over the entire length of your water pipe.

      Set the digital Volt/Ohm meter to the 20 milivolt function. Now stroll up toward the “A” end of the pipe, every few paces take the red lead and touch it to the copper water line. Take those little adhesive tags I gave you and
      write the milivoltage value on it and stick it on the pipe. You have 50 tags to use 25 on either side of that mid point will give the best overall information..if the
      milivolt reading goes off scale, turn the function knob to a higher
      setting and continue sticking dem tags.

      You will notice a great disparity
      in voltage readings as you wander up and down the pipe. I have found
      readings as high as 2000 milivolts
      (2000 milivolts is 2 Volts)

      If you remember your high school chem. 101, you will recall that
      electrical charges are analogous to Mother Natures dislike of vacuums. An area of higer electrical potential will travel by any means available to a lesser
      charged area. The means of travel in our scenario is by way of our electrolyte (water) that is flowing
      through the pipe.

      Ions are positively charged particles that would like to establish an electrical balance in side the pipe. As these Copper ions are detatched from the wall of the copper pipe, the copper leaches into the water. If there is chlorine in the water, you will be getting some green stains in the covered container eventually.
      If there is any sulfur in the water blue stains from copper sulfate can be expected.

      The DC electricity is the force that drives this corrosion process, the water aids and abets in this by transporting the copper scrap. This process is 24 hrs. a day for years or decades but eventually a hole will be munched through the wall of the pipe and a pin hole leak will be born.

      The more voltage difference within
      a given piping system and or the more efficient the electrolyte, the more copper you will be drinking and the more pin hole parties you will be invited to.

      This is not a perfect world we cannot always control the quality of the water that is delivered to us. And there is not a whole lot that can be done about the unwanted electrical energy that finds it way to our piping system and induces the copper to leave home.

      We can take the cowardly approach of tossing the baby to the wolves.
      The Sacrificial anode concept is just exactly that ie it allows the Magnesium anode to be consumed by the vicious copper eating wolves.
      As long as ther is an available meal for the critters, they will spare the copper..kinda like plate glass insurance.

      The hardest part of the development of the Copper Knight was the never ending difficulties of getting a NSF certification.
      Bud Hardman
      Suncoast Plumbing Inc.
      Sunny Florida
      State Certificate

      Holy smokes people. There are lots of causers of pin hole leaks in copper pipe. Low pH of 6.2 is just one. This person could have in addition to that any number of other causer’s. If Bud has a device that can resolve all of them in one felled swoop, God Bless Him. He should be a very wealthy man very soon.

      Some causes:
      Low pH – Less than 7

      Electrolysis – caused by dissimilar metals, stray electrical currents or grounding of electrical wiring to the pipe. These are aggrevated by high Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in the water.

      High Chlorides in the water – Over 25 ppm.

      High Oxygen content.

      Extreme water flow velocity.

      Low pH is the easiest to treat by installing a Calcite Neutralizing Filter. This will neutralize that pH to somewhere slightly above 7.

      The other causer’s need to be confirmed by water analysis and by plumbing inspection. Contact a local Masterplumber and a local Water Treatment Specialist and hopefully they will work together to resolve your problem. Whatever it is.

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