Tap Water - Corrosive Pipes - Lead Joints and Other Information You Must Know - Flushing Out the Inside of Your Old Pipe
Clean tap water is the foundation for health. All too often we
forget the complexities that surround tap water. Yes, we turn on the
faucet but behind the faucet is a distribution system and production
department that works hard to deliver fresh, clean and safe water. Water
looks simple and yet it is very complex. It is what we do not see that
can hurt us. Corrosion in the piping and the growth of microorganisms
Water is loved by all - including microorganisms that we cannot see and often cannot taste. Great tasting water is pure water - free from the taste of helpful chlorine, free from potentially harmful microorganisms.
Reverse Osmosis Verses POU Ozonated Water
Chlorine the Necessary Evil for Public Water Distribution Systems
Life thrives or dies with or without water. So too with bacteria. For this reason, chlorine is needed to control the bacteria in plumbing. All too often the water utility is blamed for the quality of the water - when in reality is the plumbing. Sadly, chlorine protects us but substantially affects the taste of water. Chlorine is a necessary evil in delivering tap water because it kills bacteria and keeps our water safe.
Copper is Natural Antimicrobial
Copper is a natural antimicrobial. Both copper piping and galvanized pipes can corrode over time. Copper piping is the best but it does require lead joints to effectively handle the various turns in our household.
Lead Joints - Let Your Water Run Cold
Even if you have plastic piping and not copper with lead joints, you always want to run your water cold. Drinking the water sitting in your piping is not recommended - this is where the bacteria can and do live.
Chlorine Dissipates - Second Reason to Let Your Water Run Cold
Remember as your water sits in your plumbing, the chlorine that the water utility put in the water to protect you has traveled in many cases miles. More importantly, chlorine will dissipate over time. For this reason alone, you always want to run your water cold before drinking or using for cooking.
History of Tap Water aka Running Water
While common in the mid-20th century, indoor plumbing was introduced in the late 19th century. Prior to "running water", water was separate from homes. The introduction of the interior plumbing was a major change for the world as we know it and something we all too often take for granted. It has now become a basic necessity.
Indoor Plumbing Needs
In order to deliver indoor plumbing, a complicated set of piping is needed from water mains to service lines to various joints to various types of valves not to mention massive amounts of electricity to run the pumps. Additionally, water towers are needed to elevate the water in case the electrical supply were to interrupted.
Indoor plumbing needs include not just piping and systems for your potable/drinking water but also for your sanitary sewer. While the quality of the sanitary sewer is not an issue other than delivering away from your domicile, still the piping is needed.
Chemicals in Your Tap Water
Chemicals added to tap water sometimes include fluoride. Interestingly, fluoride is common in the United States and essentially rare in Europe. The controversy over fluoridation and the arguments for and against are immense.
Water can contain many natural but relatively harmless contaminants. Scaling agents like calcium carbonate in hard water and metal ions such as magnesium and iron not to mention the obvious odoriferous gases such s hydrogen sulfide. But these are not necessarily harmful. And many forms of E. coli are also harmless but not all. E. coli has been known all too frequently to shut down wells - both public and private.
Dangerous levels of potentially hazardous nitrates in the public water supply occurred in Kingman, Arizona. And the reports of harmful E. coli are too numerous to list here.
Copper Pitting: What the Utilities Need to Know
Common Spots for Leaks in Your Plumbing
Understanding your water is helpful to protecting both you and your family. Your home plumbing system is a complicated series of pipes and joints all serviced by one pipe called a service line. It is your home's service line in the front of your home that delivers water to you and your family.
Most Common Spot for a Pin Hole Leak in Your Water Service
When searching for a water leak, be aware that the most common place for any leak even a pin hole leak is on first 12' of pipe that comes in to your house. This portion of your water service has the highest amount of usage and every gallon of water that you use must pass through this portion of the piping.
Second Most Common Spot for Leaks - Joints
Within each joint or elbow of piping the water is very turbulent. All the various joints and fittings or turns in the piping are subject to the most extreme turbulence. For this reason, the second most common spot for a leak is at the joint. The elbow of a joint takes allot of pressure and turbulence to keep the water flowing.
Hard Water Contributes to Corrosion and Leaks
A water softener is not just for convenience for your skin, it is also helpful to your piping. Hard water is hard (please forgive the pun) on your piping.
Know Your Water Objectives
"So, if you want to remove viruses then you need technology that removes viruses, like reverse osmosis or ultraviolet light, ozone treatment. If you're concerned about taste and odor issues in your water, then a simple carbon filter that's very inexpensive," Reynolds says.
University of Arizona Zuckerman College of Public Health Microbiologist Kelly Reynolds
Tap Water In Arizona - New Study Find 50% Contamination
On Jan 28, 2010 Barbara Grijalva reported problems in a new study of drinking water around southern Tucson, Arizona.
University of Arizona Zuckerman College of Public Health Microbiologist Kelly Reynolds says they "...found that over half of the machines tested positive for a bacterial indicator or human pathogen. So, things like E. Coli, which is a fecal bacteria or enteroviruses, which are viruses that we know cause disease in humans,"
And the harmful bacteria was not due to mismanagement from the local utility. The bacteria entered from the plumbing - from the home's distribution system. Remember the highest possibility for a leak is at the home's service line. Once your line is open, you are inviting the bacteria.
Reynolds went on to advise "So, if you want to remove viruses then you need technology that removes viruses, like reverse osmosis or ultraviolet light, ozone treatment. If you're concerned about taste and odor issues in your water, then a simple carbon filter that's very inexpensive,"
"But you have to remember to change the filter regularly, or there's no point in having it."
While chlorine is added by the public utility - chlorine can dissipate from water that just sits there for a while, for instance, in your plumbing - your service lines - your home's internal plumbing.
Effects of Corrosion on Our Plumbing
- Effects of Corrosion and Scaling | The Water Treatments
Effects of Corrosion Corrosion, like that shown below, can cause economic, health, and aesthetic problems. Economic problems result from
What is Corrosion? Is Corrosion Harmful?
"Corrosion is the disintegration of an engineered material into its constituent atoms due to chemical reactions with its surroundings. In the most common use of the word, this means electrochemical oxidation of metals in reaction with an oxidant such as oxygen. Formation of an oxide of iron due to oxidation of the iron atoms in solid solution is a well-known example of electrochemical corrosion, commonly known as rusting. This type of damage typically produces oxide(s) and/or salt(s) of the original metal. Corrosion can also refer to other materials than metals, such as ceramics or polymers, although in this context, the term degradation is more common.
In other words, corrosion is the wearing away of metals due to a chemical reaction.
Corrosive piping can change the quality of the water that you are drinking. The bottom line is the best filtered water, the best drinking water is from point of use filters that sit right at your sink - either right on your tap or under mounted.
The proper installation of a whole house filter is to change out the home's plumbing. When you think about it you initially believe this is absurd but when you see the interior of piping, then you can visually understand the reasoning.
Is the day coming that we have two sources of water in our homes? Yes, it is here. We now know enough about bacteria and metal corrosion and breakdown of materials to understand pure water deserves and demands a separate source of water. Point of use water filtration system have definite advantages.
- How to Solder Copper Pipe - Water
Find out how to solder copper pipe joints for solar water heating systems
"Solder is a fusible metal alloy with a melting point or melting range of 90 to 450 degree Celsius (190 to 840 °F), used in a process called soldering where it is melted to join metallic surfaces. It is especially useful in electronics and plumbing. Alloys that melt between 180 and 190 °C (360 and 370 °F) are the most commonly used. By definition, using alloys with melting point above 450 °C (840 °F) is called brazing. Solder can contain lead and/or flux but in many applications solder is now lead free.
The word solder comes from the Middle English word soudur, via Old French solduree and soulder, from the Latin solidare, meaning "to make solid".source: wikipedia.com
Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion in Sprinkler Piping
Pin Hole Leak from Corroded Copper Piping
Point of Use Ozone Generator with Smart Technology and LED Light
Solutions for Plumbing
Even if you have the best copper piping. Even if you have no lead leaching into your home's plumbing. Even if you have no leaks at joints or in your service line. Even if you have no corrosion in your pipes, you still have standing water that harbors bacteria. And while not all bacteria is bad, some forms such as E. coli can be life threatening to those with compromised immune systems. If you or a loved one has ever had food poisoning you know what we are trying to prevent.
Two simple take a ways for working with your plumbing system:
Run Your Tap Water Cold for Drinking or for Cooking
1.) Always run your water cold before drinking or using in cooking. Remember chlorine dissipates over time, you want you need fresh water - don't drink the water sitting in your home's interior plumbing.
Invest in Point of Use Water Filter
2.) Invest in a point of use filter. Look for items beyond just taste (removal of the chlorine) look also for lead reduction. You don't need to drink the chlorine - we need the chlorine in the lines to fight the bacteria that is nesting with the corrosion in the piping. And yes, I am biased, I am employed by a point of use company and I have worked in the water industry for over 20 years. Even simple carbon filters will dramatically improve the taste of your water with only the removal of the chlorine taste. Take the time to learn about water. Test your water and set clear objectives.
Flushing Interior of Copper Pipes
- Flushing Out the Inside of Copper Pipes. | Fine Homebuilding | Breaktime
Forum discussion on flushing out old copper pipes.
New Water Softener Systems with Purification
Update: The author has heard that there is a revolutionary water softener system that includes a purification system such as ozone that serves to effectively combat the interior build up inside of the pipes. Please contact me if you want more information, it is a simple phone call for me to make.
Air Water Ozone Generator - Purifier Sanitizer
Love this website and wish to join us?
Who is the Water Research Foundation
Notes of Appreciation
Corrosion Problem photo courtesy of thewatertreastments.com
Galvanized Pipe corroded photo courtesy of dcwasa.com
Cross section of copper pipe with lead joint courtesy of levahnbros.blogspot.com
Soldering a copper pipe photo courtesy of reuk.co.uk
Medical Disclaimer: This information is provided for informational purposes only. None of the products promoted or sold here are designed to diagnose, treat, or cure any illness or ailment. Please contact your physician for additional information, diagnosis, testing, or advice on how to use the information/products listed on this site.
The use of a food sanitizer will not replace the need for safe and hygienic food handling and storage practices; rather, the use of this device is intended to augment such per-existing practices. The use of a food sanitizer will not render contaminated food safe to eat or unsanitary surfaces to use.
© 2010 Ken Kline