How Does Pipe Corrosion Work?

No matter what type of pipe you have in your home, with time, it can become corroded and suffer damage. Learn more about the process of corrosion, what causes it, and how to prevent it. Discover the steps you need to take to keep your pipes in good condition for years to come.

How Does Pipe Corrosion Work

What is Corrosion?

Corrosion occurs when the metal from which your pipe is made interacts with the oxygen, water, or other elements in its environment. This interaction causes the surface of the pipe to weaken. In extreme cases, this can lead to complete deterioration of the pipe and failure.

Different types of pipes are affected by corrosion in different ways. Iron and steel pipes are particularly prone to corrosion due to their exposure to oxygen and water. Copper, plastic, and galvanized pipes may not corrode as quickly or severely, but they are still susceptible to the effects of corrosion over time.

What Causes Corrosion?

The most common causes of corrosion in metal pipes are exposure to water and electrical current.

Hard Water

Hard water is high in minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which can corrode metal surfaces. As the water moves through the pipes, it carries these particles with it and gradually weakens the surface of the pipe.

Electrical Currents

Ungrounded electrical currents can travel through copper pipes and cause corrosion by weakening the surface of the pipes.

High Oxygen

Water with a higher percentage of oxygen can corrode pipes faster than water with lower oxygen levels. The process of corrosion starts with oxidation or rust.

Acidic Water

If your water has a PH level lower than 7, it may be acidic and can corrode pipes by causing them to dissolve from within.

How to Prevent Corrosion

The best way to prevent corrosion is to have a professional plumber monitor the condition of your pipes and address any problems as soon as they arise. Regularly check for signs of rust, discoloration, or pitting on the surface of your pipes. If you discover any of these symptoms, you should take steps to repair the damage before it becomes too severe.

You can also take proactive measures to protect your pipes from corrosion. Installing a water softener or water filter can help reduce the effects of hard water and acidic water. To identify the cause of corrosion in your water, make use of the Langelier Saturation Index (LSI) test. 

The LSI test is a standard water quality test that checks the following:

  • Alkalinity
  • Conductivity
  • Total dissolved solids
  • Hardness
  • PH

How Does Pipe Corrosion Affect Your Water?

The effect corrosion will have on your water will depend on the type of pipes you have. The major effects are:

Foul Odor And Taste

Corrosion can leave your water with a foul odor and a bitter taste because of the buildup of iron, manganese, or other metals in the pipes as they corrode.


Your water may be discolored if the corrosion has led to rust or iron deposits forming. This discoloration is usually red, orange, yellow, or brown. It can also take on an odor that resembles rotten eggs.


Corrosion can also cause your water to become cloudy or murky due to the build-up of metal particles in it.

Health Issues

If left unchecked, corrosion can lead to serious health issues since your body can absorb the metal particles in the water. This can cause various symptoms, such as nausea, headaches, skin rashes, and more.

How Does Pipe Corrosion Affect Your Plumbing?

When pipes corrode, they can become weak and prone to leaks. If left unchecked, these leaks can lead to water damage in your home and the need for costly repairs. Corrosion can also block the flow of water through your pipes and cause clogs or reduce the pressure of your pipe system.


Corrosion can create tiny holes in the pipes, which lead to leaking. Over time, these leaks can lead to higher water bills or cause major water damage to your home or business.

Reduced Water Pressure

Corrosion will eventually form a layer of sediment on the inside of your pipes, reducing their diameter and causing clogs. This buildup of particles will also reduce the water pressure in your pipes.


When corrosion weakens your pipes, they can become brittle and eventually break open due to the pressure of the water flowing through them. This will cause a major flood in your home or business and require expensive repairs.

Water Damage

If left unchecked, the water damage caused by corroded pipes can lead to mold growth and other serious issues. It’s important to take action as soon as you notice signs of corrosion to avoid these costly repairs.

Ultimately, understanding the process of pipe corrosion and following a few simple prevention steps can go a long way toward keeping your pipes in great shape for years to come. With regular maintenance and care, you can avoid costly repairs and health issues associated with corrosion. Take action today to protect your home or business from pipe corrosion!

Contact Rick’s Plumbing to Repair or Replace Your Corroded Pipes

If you have noticed signs of corrosion in your pipes, don’t wait to take action. Contact Rick’s Plumbing today at 203-874-6629 for help identifying the cause and repairing or replacing your corroded pipes. We can provide professional plumbing services that are tailored to your specific needs and will keep your home or business safe from water damage.