Be Careful of These Pipe-Destroying Issues

pipe-leakPlumbing pipes are built to last quite a long time. In fact, there are still plenty of homes across the country that still use old iron and lead piping, despite the standard being copper since the late 1950’s. If you do happen to have older pipes like that, we recommend that you get them replaced (especially if they’re lead.) However, you should know that even newer pipes are not invincible. There are plenty of dangers that the environment can pose to your plumbing system, and it is a good idea to know what they are.


The primary reason that copper supplanted iron and steel pipes in the latter half of the twentieth century is because copper is practically immune to rust. That’s good news for everyone involved, but it’s not exactly the whole story. Copper may not rust the same way that iron does, but it does corrode.

There are two main types of corrosion: formicary and pitted. Formicary corrosion is what happens when your copper pipes are exposed to formaldehyde. That may seem rare, but minuscule particles do exist out in nature. The particles eat microscopic holes through the pipe, weakening it and making it more likely that it develops leaks in the future.

Pitted corrosion is the result of chlorine exposure, and eats tiny pinhole leaks in the pipes. Pinhole leaks are too small, typically, to give off any warning signs that they exist. That is, unless you have professional pipe inspection equipment available on-hand. If left unchecked, as they often are, pinhole leaks are capable of causing quite a bit of water damage.

Lime Scale

Lime scale is what happens when a surface is exposed to hard water for a long period of time. Hard water is just water with a high level of magnesium and calcium particles in it. These particles get deposited on the walls of the pipes as the water flows through them, eventually forming lime scale. Lime scale restricts the flow of water through the pipes in your plumbing system, reducing their efficiency by lowering your water pressure. That’s not the worst of it, though.

If the lime scale isn’t properly cleaned out in time, it will harden and become almost impossible to remove without damaging the pipe. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have your pipes inspected and cleaned every year or so, just to make sure.

Tree Roots

This is more of a threat to your water or sewer line, which are far more likely to be close to a tree than the pipes in your home. Tree roots extend well beyond the visible parts of the tree, and can easily penetrate a plumbing pipe if given enough time. Once the root has infiltrated the pipe, it can grow and spread until it has almost completely blocked the flow of water through it. Always make sure you have your water and sewer lines checked out every once in a while, especially if you live in a very wooded area.

Service King Plumbing & HVAC offers plumbing repair services in Crystal Lake, IL. Contact us today for an appointment.

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