How to Remove Green Corrosion on Copper Pipes

May14 By Pipes
How to remove green corrosion on copper pipes in Seattle, WA

How to Remove Green Corrosion From Copper Pipes

Copper turns green when it is exposed to the elements. Copper oxidation can turn your copper pipes green and affect their beauty. When copper pipes are regularly cleaned and maintained, they are less likely to develop a green appearance or copper pipe corrosion. Most people dislike this appearance and would prefer to have clean, bright, shiny copper pipes in their homes. At Puget Sound Plumbing and Heating, we offer fast, effective solutions to all plumbing issues, big or small. Keep reading to find out how to remove green corrosion from copper pipes in Seattle, WA, and then call us if you need plumbing repairs or emergency plumbing services.

What Causes Green Corrosion on Copper Pipes?

Copper will begin to oxidize in damp, moist, and cold conditions. This is what causes the green and white build-up on your copper pipes. The process of copper pipe oxidation is actually a protective measure that creates a shell over the surface of the copper. This protects the copper from breaking down or becoming destroyed by the elements. The best way to prevent this from happening is to keep your copper pipes clean and bright with regular plumbing maintenance. Copper conducts heat very well, so it is often used for hot water pipes and heating system pipes. However, these pipes are often installed in dark, damp, or moist areas where they are highly susceptible to corrosion. When they absorb heat from water, they remain hot for a long time and may emit steam if they are in a cool, dark environment. This makes them more likely to experience oxidation.

Is Copper Pipe Corrosion Bad?

Copper pipe corrosion can indicate an underlying problem with your copper pipes that should be checked out. If you notice a green, greenish-blue, or green-and-white powdery substance on your pipes, you should call an experienced plumber to inspect your pipe system. Without cleaning and plumbing services, the corrosion can eventually cause pipe damage and failure. Green copper pipes can also indicate a water leak or damage in your walls or under your flooring, which should be investigated and addressed immediately. Corrosion on copper pipes can be harmful to your entire plumbing system and can indicate problems that could affect the structural stability of your home and its safety and value. Copper pipe corrosion can also increase your risk of copper leaching into your home’s water supply. Contaminated water can cause major health and safety issues for you and your family. If your water has a strange taste, odor, or color, it is possible that something has contaminated your water supply, so you should schedule emergency plumbing services. Copper corrosion can also cause appliance damage to appliances like dishwashers and washing machines. If the pipes become corroded, the water flow to these appliances will be restricted, and they will not work as well.

Do You Need to Replace Copper Pipes When They Turn Green?

If you catch copper pipe corrosion quickly enough, you can clean your pipes rather than replace them. However, if the corrosion is widespread or serious enough that your water supply has been contaminated, you will likely need to replace your copper pipes. Copper pipe oxidation and corrosion can cause expensive and extensive plumbing repair and replacement costs. This is why it is best to schedule preventive plumbing maintenance services and have your plumbing systems inspected regularly for signs of problems. You should also clean your copper pipes regularly to remove corrosion and oxidation. Green oxide is not dangerous, but it does indicate that your pipes have been exposed to moisture. You should call an experienced plumber to inspect the pipes and find the source of the moisture. If the oxidized pipe is left as is, the situation will get worse and could cause a major leak, burst or damaged pipe, and other problems.

How to Clean Copper Pipe Corrosion

Most homeowners can remove minor areas of green corrosion from their copper pipes by themselves. However, if the problem is extensive or if it looks like there is damage to your copper pipes, you should schedule professional plumbing services. There are a few different ways that you can clean copper pipe corrosion using safe household products, but do not ever use abrasive tools or cleaners on copper pipes. They will scratch the surface and cause damage. Do not use wire brushes, scrub brushes, metal tools, or abrasive household cleaning products like Comet. Ways that you can safely clean your copper pipes include:

  • Salt, Vinegar, and Flour – You can mix equal parts of salt, vinegar, and flour into a paste. Wear gloves and use a microfiber cloth to rub the paste all over the affected areas of the pipe. Let the paste sit for 30 minutes, and wipe it clean with a damp or soapy towel.
  • Salt—You can also use salt to clean off stubborn copper pipe corrosion. Cover the surface with salt and rub it vigorously with a microfiber cloth.
  • Ketchup – You can use ketchup to clean and polish copper pipes. Rub ketchup over the affected areas of the pipe and let it sit for 20 minutes. Then rinse the ketchup off with warm water and dry the area with a clean microfiber cloth.
  • Lemon – You can cut a lemon in half and cover one half in salt. Rub the cut half of the lemon over the surface, using it as a scrub brush to remove copper oxidation. Squeeze the juice from the other half of the lemon into a bowl and apply cream of tartar to make a thick paste. Apply the paste to the areas of copper oxidation and leave it for one or two hours. Then, wipe the surface clean.
  • Olive Oil or Linseed Oil – After cleaning copper pipes, you can coat them with a thin layer of olive oil or linseed oil to protect them. This oil will create a barrier that can prevent oxidation for a while and maintain your clean, bright copper pipes.

How to Prevent Copper Pipe Corrosion

You can reduce your risk of copper pipe corrosion by caring for your copper pipes and scheduling regular copper pipe maintenance and inspections. Copper water pipes require regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent problems like oxidation, corrosion, and leaks. You can prevent copper pipe corrosion and keep your copper pipes in good shape by:

  • Regularly Checking for Leaks – Inspect your pipes regularly for signs of leaks. Look for signs of water damage inside and outside your home, like water stains, damp walls or floors, pools of water, rust or corrosion, sagging ceilings, warped floors, a musty or moldy odor, mold or mildew growth, peeling or bubbling paint or plaster, and the sound of dripping or running water. If your home water bill suddenly increases and you know that you haven’t been using more water than usual, it could be a sign that you have a water leak, and you should call a plumber as soon as possible for water line repair services.
  • Scheduling Plumbing Maintenance – Preventive plumbing maintenance services will extend the lifespan of your pipes and plumbing systems. Your plumber can also offer early detection of problems like oxidation or corrosion on copper pipes.
  • Clean Your Pipes Regularly – When debris, dirt, and other contaminants build up on your copper pipes, they are more likely to become damaged. You should clean your pipes regularly using special pipe cleaners or an auger. You can also schedule professional drain and pipe cleaning services from a local plumbing company.
  • Install Pipe Insulation – If your exposed pipes are at risk of freezing, you should install pipe insulation to protect them. This will reduce the risk of burst pipes, water leaks, and other expensive problems caused by extreme temperatures.
  • Inspect Your Water Pressure – A sudden increase or decrease in water pressure can indicate a major problem with your water pipes. Check your water pressure regularly to make sure it is normal. You can also schedule a plumbing inspection, and your plumber will check the water pressure.
  • Inspect Your Water Lines—You should also schedule regular inspections of your water lines. This will give you early warning if there is a problem, and your plumber can repair it before it becomes more expensive and extensive.

The Importance of Hiring a Professional Plumber

While some plumbing maintenance can be completed by homeowners, it is best to call a professional plumber for more extensive or complex work. Trying to teach yourself how to do plumbing repairs or replace copper piping could result in property damage or injury. You may even end up violating your home warranty or your homeowner’s insurance policy. Plumbing installation, repairs, and replacements require specialized tools and extensive knowledge of plumbing systems, building codes, and ordinances. When you hire an experienced, licensed plumber, you can be sure that the work will be done safely and correctly and that everything will be according to code and industry standards. Your plumber will also look for early warning signs of problems that could get bigger, more dangerous, and more expensive over time. The earlier you catch these issues, the less expensive they will be to repair.

Get Help With Copper Pipe Corrosion in Seattle, WA

At Puget Sound Plumbing and Heating, our experienced plumbers can prevent and clean up copper pipe corrosion in the Seattle, WA, area. We provide comprehensive plumbing services throughout Seattle, WA, including Everett, Renton, Tacoma, and the rest of Seattle’s Eastside, North End, and South King areas. We specialize in plumbing inspections and diagnostic services, plumbing maintenance, plumbing repairs, 24/7 emergency plumbing services, and plumbing installations and replacements. We work efficiently and provide quality workmanship and exceptional customer service. We have over 20 years of experience in the industry, and we are a family-owned and operated plumbing company. We believe everyone should have access to safe, reliable plumbing, so we keep our rates reasonable and offer monthly payment options through Hearth. Call us today or contact us online to make an appointment.

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