When exposed to too much oxygen, pipes are vulnerable to corrosion and the development of rust. All metal pipes, including copper, cast iron, and galvanized steel, are vulnerable to corrosion, and hot water pipes are even more susceptible than their cold water counterparts. If you’re worried about rusty plumbing, consider these three precautions.
1. Check for Signs of Rust
Sometimes your water will warn you of rusty pipes before you even start looking. Rust spots inside pipes can discolor water or pepper it with rust flakes. Rusty water can also taste or smell metallic, even when it’s clear. If you notice discolored or metallic tasting water, contact a professional plumber for a more formal evaluation.
Although exterior rust is usually less common than interior rust, you may see exterior rust under your sink or on the supply lines of your water heater. Have a plumber periodically check your pipes for rust in order to catch any potential problems early.
2. Remove Rust and Rusty Pipes
Not only can rust break off into your water supply and add chemical contaminants, rust can weaken the walls of your pipes, making them thinner and more fragile. Spots with corrosion are much more likely to develop cracks and leaks. Depending on your local ordinances, plumbers may be able to add an epoxy lining to your copper pipes or spot repair galvanized steel and cast iron.
3. Prevent Rust Development in the Future
Catching and stopping rust damage quickly is a great way to protect your home from water leaks. If you have a rusty water heater, consider replacing it before the rust spreads to the actual water lines. A plumber may also be able to stop rust from developing in the first place by installing an epoxy liner to copper pipes or replacing metal pipes completely. Epoxy doesn’t rust, so it can extensively lengthen the lifespan of your pipes. Plumbers can also smooth out rough connection points and burrs that can wear away over time and add iron to your water.