You may be surprised to notice your pipes start to develop a green color in some areas. This is a type of corrosion that’s common in copper pipes, and while it may look unsightly, it’s actually not harmful. Although in severe cases it can damage your pipes. So what causes this green corrosion on copper pipes?
What Does Green on Copper Pipes Represent?
The green or greenish-blue substance that you see on copper pipes is the result of oxidation. It occurs when the metal is exposed to water and oxygen for a long period of time. Over time, these elements cause the copper to break down, which results in the formation of this green substance.
Oxidation may be a sign of a problem with your pipes which can result in pipe failure unless it’s addressed. So if you see any green corrosion on your copper pipes, be sure to have a professional like Acme Plumbing take a look at it.
Why do Copper Pipes Turn Green?
Because copper is a good conductor of heat, most systems use it for their piping. Unfortunately, this also makes it susceptible to corrosion. When hot water goes through copper pipes, they absorb the heat and then radiate it back out to warm the space.
As mentioned earlier, the green color occurs as a result of oxidation. When the copper is heated up and cooled down repeatedly, it remains hot for a significant period. This makes copper an ideal choice for heaters, but it also causes green corrosion over time.
This oxidation is corrosive and can lead to pipe failure if it’s not addressed. In fact, it’s one of the most common causes of pipe failure in most plumbing systems. You’ll mostly see this discoloration around where the copper pipes go through a concrete or brick wall. The dampness of these materials speeds up the oxidation process. That is why the green coloration can also be a sign of dampness in your wall that you should investigate.
Should You Replace Green Copper Pipes?
The green substance on your copper pipes is not harmful and won’t affect the quality of your water. However, if the discoloration is severe, it can be a sign of a problem with your pipes. It may be as a result of a leak or dampness on the wall. In this case, you may need to replace the affected section of the pipe.
If you don’t replace the affected pipes, the problem could worsen and cause a burst pipe. While it is not an emergency, you should still address the issue as soon as possible to avoid any future problems.
How to Remove Green Corrosion From Copper Pipes
You don’t have to use harmful chemicals to remove the oxidation from copper pipes. If you want to remove the green corrosion from your copper pipes, there are a few methods you can try. First, you can use an acidic solution and a light abrasive rub like salt to scrub away the discoloration. Frequent cleaning will help prevent the green corrosion from coming back.
You can also use ingredients that you can find in your kitchen like salt, white vinegar, baking soda, and flour. Prepare a mixture of equal parts of all four ingredients and apply it to the affected area. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes before scrubbing it off with soapy water. Dry the pipe to prevent further corrosion.
Another method is to use salt alone. Sprinkle salt on a damp piece of cloth and rub it onto the green corrosion. Leave the salt on for a few minutes before wiping it off with the cloth. Dry the pipe thoroughly.
Another Method to Remove Green Corrosion on Copper Pipes
If you spot severe oxidation and discoloration, you can use a piece of light grit emery cloth to scrub the oxidation completely off the pipe until the original color is revealed. This will require a little elbow grease, but it will remove the corrosion.
Apply some acetone on a rag and wipe down the oxidized section of the pipe. Next, clean the acetone off the pipe with a wet, soapy cloth. Finally, dry the pipe completely.
Since acetone is a flammable solvent, be sure to use it in a well-ventilated area and avoid using it near any open flames. Acetone can be harmful to your health so you should wear gloves and eye protection when handling it. You should also use a respirator if you have one, to avoid inhaling the fumes.
While the green corrosion on copper pipes is not harmful, it can be a sign of a problem with your pipes. If the discoloration is severe, you may need to replace the affected section of the pipe. You can remove the green corrosion from your copper pipes using an acidic solution, salt, emery cloth, or acetone. Be sure to use these solutions in a well-ventilated area and protect your hands and eyes when using them.
Contact Acme Plumbing if You Have Any Questions About Your Plumbing
Are you concerned about the green corrosion on your copper pipes? Do you need help with replacing a section of pipe? At Acme Plumbing, our experienced professionals can help you troubleshoot the problem and find the best solution for your needs. Contact us at (919) 688-1348 for all your plumbing needs. We are here to help you 24/7!