How do you test a pipe for corrosion?

1 December 2021


Corrosion is a serious plumbing issue that can damage your water system. It is not just a problem that might ruin your water system in the long run, but it can also be hazardous to your health, and the environment.

There is more to it, corrosion can be costly! If your pipes are rusty, you may need to replace them completely. This can be a significant inconvenience requiring time, energy, and money. Keep reading to find out how you can test and discover this problem before it gets out of control.

What is pipe corrosion?

Pipe corrosion occurs when piping material breaks down due to its environment. It’s a sign of structural deterioration.

What is corrosion?

Contact is the most basic source of corrosion. Metal suffers from corrosion when it comes into contact with water, oxygen, filth, or other metals. Any of these can cause corrosion, but each one does so for different reasons.

Corrosion is a chemical reaction. When a piece of metal loses electrons, it weakens and starts to decay. When a metal comes into touch with an electrolyte, such as water, or electron-hungry compounds, those electrons are encouraged to escape.

This causes the metal to become prone to other damaging chemical reactions such as rust, cracks, and holes. Pipe corrosion is self-perpetuating, which means that once it starts, it only gets worse. There are, however, measures to prevent corrosion from penetrating piping and non-piping surfaces.

What does copper pipe corrosion look like?

Blue, green, and black are the most typical copper color variations:

  • Blue: Corrosion can be indicated by the presence of blue or bluish-green coloration. Corrosion is most likely inside the water pipe if the water comes out blue or bluish-green when it flows out of the taps. You have a pinhole leak if the outside of the pipe starts to turn colors.
  • Green: The presence of green or greenish tints on the outside of your copper water pipes indicates the presence of water leaks, and most likely corrosion. This is particularly true if the water is staining other items such as clothing, sinks, and fixtures.
  • Black: The presence of black copper could suggest excessive sulphur levels or other pollutants in the air, such as sewage gas. It could also mean that the pipe has come into touch with non-compatible metals, such as galvanized steel.

Is it true that all copper pipe corrosion results in pipe failure?

When we talk about copper corrosion, we are referring to conditions that cause the metal to corrode and/or eat away at it. Pinhole leaks, cracks, and burst pipes can occur as portions of the pipe wall get thinner. Pipe corrosion can lead to full-pipe failure and the need for emergency plumbing if not restored.

How can you tell if a pipe is corroded?

You can tell if a pipe is corroded if:

  • The water has a weird taste
  • There is leakage
  • The pipes are clogged

These signs of corrosion are mostly caused by oxidation and the gradual ageing of pipes. Corroding water pipes can cause water leaks and contaminate your water, putting your plumbing system at danger of health problems.

Weird taste

Oxidation can cause the water to absorb too many minerals, giving it an odd flavor that is disturbing for the taste buds. This is a solid sign that something is wrong with the water, and it is recommended to contact professionals to determine whether the water is safe for your health and if there is a solution.


As corrosion causes pipes to corrode, leaks can appear. By inspecting your plumbing system, you should be able to tell whether the leaks are dispersed throughout the pipes or concentrated in one area. A leaking system is usually an indication that your corroded pipe can no longer handle the water supply, therefore it should be a reason for concern as soon as you find it.

Leaks can also spread damage to other parts of the building, such as the roof and floors, resulting in mold and, eventually, respiratory illnesses. Leaks can be particularly difficult to detect because they occur in small stages and expand to a larger region over time, causing harm to your infrastructure.


Corrosion frequently generates a build-up inside pipes, causing them to narrow. This clogs the pipes and creates a build-up of pressure that may explode or rupture the metal. These implications are far more severe than a leak since the latter can be repaired without having to replace the whole system.

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What you need to know about pipeline corrosion

What you need to know about pipeline corrosion is that it is best to contact professional plumbers since corroded pipes can put people’s health in danger. This will ensure that the piping system has been thoroughly inspected and that the solution will be effective.

4 common ways to check for corrosion

The 4 common ways to check for corrosion are:

  1. Find out what pipes you have
  2. Do a water test
  3. Inspect the exterior of the pipes
  4. Hire a professional

1. Find out what pipes you have

The first thing you should do is figure out what kind of pipes are in use in your home. It is possible that your pipes are corrosion-resistant and therefore a corrosion test isn’t even required. Find a pipe sample within your water system or check every pipe that is easily accessible, as different types of pipes can be used in your home.

2. Do a water test

A water test can reveal a lot about your system and your water supply. Corrosion tests that reveal extremely high copper concentrations are a sign that the metal is decaying.

3. Inspect the Exterior of Pipes

Corrosion can be checked on any exterior pipe section that is not underground. Finding pinhole leaks that are starting to leak is as simple as running your palm along the line. If you locate any leaks, look for corrosion indications like rusty, white, and blue stains, as well as sediments.

4. Hire a professional

Plomberie Pro-Drain can help you with any plumbing problem whether it be related to your toilet, air conditioning system, heating system, or plumbing pipes. Our plumbers have the resources, equipment, and expertise required to ensure that all of your installations are stable, clean, and compliant with all the safety regulations in place.

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