Not all water piping comes from the same material, which means each type of plumbing will require care that you might not be able to apply to different pipes. Copper piping is no exception, but if you don’t know much or anything at all about copper pipe plumbing, there’s no need to be stressed. We’ve compiled the most common questions about copper piping so you can get a handle on at least the necessary information on that penny-colored piping in your home.
What is the life expectancy of copper plumbing?
With proper installation, copper plumbing should last you at least 50 years, though it can last you upwards of 60 or 70 years if you maintain your pipes properly. Issues like pinhole leaks, corrosion, and dirty piping can decrease the lifespan of your plumbing, so you’ll want to be sure you tackle any problems with your pipes as soon as you can identify them.
How do you permanently cap off a copper pipe?
Capping off a copper pipe is an involved and somewhat tricky process, so you’ll want to make sure you wear shoes, long pants, long sleeves, sturdy gloves, and eye protection. It will also help if you have a fire extinguisher nearby since the process involves using a flame. Before you do anything, you’ll also want to make sure you turn your water off so that the house doesn’t accidentally flood when you take the piping apart.
The first thing you’ll need to do is open the supply line faucet (the same one as the one you’re capping off) and drain the line. With a pipe cutter, cut the pipe, and ream the inside with a reaming tool. From there, you’ll want to insert a thin vinyl or rubber tubing of about 24 inches into the open end of the plumbing. Suck on the other end of the pipe to start a siphon and then hold that end over a bucket to let the water drain out into it.
Next, you’ll want to use steel wool to clean the outside end and the inside of the cap fitting you’ve chosen to cap off your pipe. Once the piping is bright and shiny, apply paste flux with a flux brush to clean the outside of the tubing and inside of the cap fitting more thoroughly. After this, slip the cap fitting onto the end of the pipe.
The next step is when you’ll want to get out a fire extinguisher because it involves using a propane torch. It’s also safest if you use a cement backer board to separate your drywall and cabinets from the pipe since those are combustible surfaces and might be a fire hazard. You’ll also want to get out about 6 inches of lead-free solder from a solder roll.
When you light your torch, make sure the flame is steady and blue in the center. Apply the heat to the joint of the pipe and base of the cap fitting, focusing only on that spot. On the side opposite of the side you have your flame underneath, touch the solder to the pipe right below the cap fitting, feeding solder to the joint area when it begins to melt. Once a bright silver ring forms around the entire joint and base of the cap fitting, remove the heat, turn off the torch, and watch the joint for a few seconds to make sure it properly cools.
With a damp rag, wipe down your pipe. Finally, turn the water supply back on and inspect for any leaks.
Can you clean copper water pipes?
You can undoubtedly clean copper pipes, and there are a couple of different ways to do it too. The most traditional approach would be to purchase a commercial cleaner to tackle calcium, lime, and rust. You’ll also always want to make sure that you wear a face mask and gloves while mixing chemical cleaners per manufacturer’s instructions.
For a more organic solution, you can make a mixture of vinegar and salt to clean your copper piping. You’ll want to leave the mixture on your pipes for about 10 minutes and then rinse with hot water. To get an even deeper cleaning, you can turn off your water supply, remove your pipes, and soak them in vinegar for about 15 minutes. Once you rinse them and put everything back where it goes, you’ll have pipes that look brand new.
How do you stop copper pipes from corroding?
To stop the corrosion, you’ll need to identify the source of the problem. Sometimes, corrosion issues happen due to electrical faults, such as wiring that connects to the piping when it isn’t supposed to or plumbing that isn’t properly grounded and prevents the water from flowing correctly. Other times, corrosion happens when the pH level of the water flowing through the pipes is off, creating acidic water that eats at the metal over time.
To fix corrosion, you can install either a calcite neutralizer tank or a phosphate feeder. A calcite neutralizer will deal with your pH problems, adjusting the pH level of the water to less acidic nature. A phosphate feeder is an excellent choice for reducing external corrosion issues because it coats the piping in a protective layer that helps it outside damage.
Do copper pipes need to be replaced?
Like all piping, you will eventually need to replace your plumbing, or the very least look into copper pipe repair. If you’re lucky, you might get all 50 years from your copper plumbing, but sometimes wear and tear happens quicker than you’d like. If you notice musty and stagnant smells, see bulges on your walls and ceilings, or notice green crust on your pipes, this means you’re probably going to have to fix or replace your pipes sooner than you had hoped.
Once you start to experience issues, it’s best not to scramble to figure them out yourself. We offer professional and reliable services when it comes to copper pipe repair so that you don’t have to stress about taking on the job yourself when you might not have the knowledge or experience to do so. For trustworthy copper pipe repair, contact us today so we can provide you the service that you need.