Repiping Your Copper Plumbing

(ARA) - Plumbing systems don’t typically fail overnight. Rather, failure is often a long, gradual process of corrosion and scale forming inside and around copper pipes that run throughout the home. But while corrosion and resulting pinhole leaks can strike year-round, problems with scale buildup tend to be more noticeable during the warm weather when water consumption is at its peak.

Activities such as watering the garden, washing the family car or filling the kids’ swimming pool require extended periods of water usage. And it is during these times you are most likely to notice if water flow is not what it should be. Chances are if you’re experiencing a decrease in water flow, you have scale buildup.

Copper and other metals naturally scale with age, decreasing the diameter of the pipe and restricting water flow until only a trickle of water is able to pass through. Since there is no way to effectively remove buildup or reverse the scaling process with metallic piping systems, homeowners with scaled pipes are eventually forced to repipe the entire system.

The other primary cause of failed copper plumbing, according to plumbing veteran Garry Gage, a plumbing contractor for more than 20 years in California and a consultant for FlowGuard Gold Pipe & Fittings, is corrosion, which can lead to pinhole leaks. Gage explains that these leaks typically start very small. Barely noticeable at first, they can eventually cause tremendous property damage if left unchecked. In the beginning, it’s possible to simply replace or repair those leaking sections of pipe. But according to Gage, who has completed thousands of repipes in his career, after three or four incidents, a full system repipe is usually recommended at an average price of $4,500 to $6,500, depending on the region and size of the home.

The good news for homeowners is that there is a plumbing pipe material on the market that is totally immune to the effects of both scaling and corrosion. FlowGuard Gold plumbing systems, made of high performance chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC), have more than 40 years of proven experience in potable water applications. In all that time, the product has not experienced a single incident involving corrosion, scaling or leaching. Both water quality and water flow remain consistent throughout the entire life of the system.

Ideal for new construction, remodeling or replacement applications, FlowGuard Gold CPVC pipe is also quieter than metal, is more energy efficient and minimizes condensation. It is also faster, safer and less expensive to install, thanks to a one-step solvent cement bonding system that eliminates the need for a soldering torch inside the home.

Copper systems, on the other hand, over this same 40+-year time period, have experienced both an increase in the number and frequency of publicized premature failures. At one time, it was reasonable to expect copper plumbing to actually outlast the life of the home. Today, however, as documented in numerous newspapers and trade publications, premature failures are occurring in as little as two years -- and not just in southern coastal areas of the country where more aggressive soil and water conditions prevail. Even more northern and inland areas, such as Washington, Baltimore and Akron, Ohio are publicizing record failures and homeowner complaints as a result of corrosion and pinhole leaks. And, according to the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the problem is expected to get worse. Cost projections indicate that the total price tag of corrosion-related problems may soon exceed $16 billion per year!

Although numerous government and privately funded studies are underway to determine what’s causing the increase in copper pipe failures, no one, to date, has effectively offered a solution that will ensure a consistently reliable performance of metallic systems.

For more information about scaling and corrosion problems that can necessitate a whole-house repipe, or to learn more about cost-effective alternatives to copper plumbing, visit www.flowguardgold.com.

Article courtesy of ARA Content

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