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How Pipe Corrosion Impacts Water Quality

Written By: City View Plumbing & Heating

How Pipe Corrosion Impacts Water Quality

If you have been a homeowner for a meaningful stretch of time, or if you have lived in a few city apartments, you may have experienced a corroded water pipe. When your water emerges from the tap with a foul smell, or your bathtub fills with brown liquid when you open the tap, it can be a disconcerting experience.

Corroded pipes can impact the quality of your water and affect its smell and taste…but not all pipes are created equal. Here are some busted myths and helpful tips from the water specialists at City View.

What Is Corrosion?

Corrosion refers to the process by which a material will rust, wear, break down, or decay as a result of interaction with water. For pipes that transport water, corrosion is often an inevitable circumstance.

Once a pipe corrodes, it can release particles into the stream of water it transports. Depending on the situation, this may or may not pose a health risk to the recipient of the water. When in doubt, always consult a water specialist to determine whether your pipes are experiencing corrosion.

What Types of Pipes Corrode?

At some point, all metal pipes will experience corrosion. If the pipes are properly sealed, this may not occur for decades, so you may not experience a corroded pipe first-hand in your home. However, if metal comes into contact with water consistently for many years, it will certainly undergo corrosion at some point. PEX pipes, while made of different materials than metal pipes, have been shown to leach contaminants after significant use as well.

On the other hand, there is no conclusive evidence that PVC pipes corrode or leach chemicals in any way that would pose a health risk. 

How Will Corrosion Affect My Water?

Whether a corroded pipe will pose any threat to the quality of your water depends chiefly on the type of pipe. Let’s look at some common examples:

  1. Iron Cast or Galvanized Steel pipes. Eventually, these pipes will begin to rust, which can even cause the blockage of the pipe. When rusted particles are passed into the water supply, it may change the appearance of the water, and you should certainly get this remedied by a plumber, but it likely poses no threat to your health.
  2. Copper pipes. If your water pipes are made of copper, significant corrosion will cause a metallic taste in your drinking water, and elevated levels could pose a health risk. However, the characteristics of the water would likely be noticeable before enough water is ingested to be considered dangerous.
  3. PVC and PEX pipes. As mentioned, PVC pipes have shown no signs of dangerous corrosion in the last 30 years. PEX pipes, on the other hand, can cause any number of chemicals to enter the water stream if not properly maintained. This material is not firmly regulated yet, so the risks are unclear.
  4. Lead pipes. The use of lead pipes has been banned for years, but unfortunately, some old buildings still contain them. Lead pipes can carry toxic chemicals into the water supply, causing birth defects and even death. There is no level of lead that is safe for children.

If you have any questions about your water pipes or water quality, be sure to get your water tested by a professional.

Consult a Water Specialist

The best way to fix a corroded pipe, or to test your water supply for signs of corrosion, is to consult a plumber from a trusted source. If your water is serving as a transport for contaminants, it is absolutely vital to fix the root issue before the tainted supply makes drinking or bathing unpleasant, or worse, harms you or your family member. The friendly plumbers at City View can quickly diagnose and treat any water-related issue affecting your home. Don’t leave corrosion risk to chance – work with a specialist to keep your water safe and crisp for years to come. Partner with us today to make your home more comfortable.