Causes of Copper Corrosion in Plumbing Systems

Revised September 2017

This edition has been fully revised from the earlier 2003 and 2010 editions. The aim of this publication is not to be an authoritative text book but rather to assist practitioners to diagnose the many different types of corrosion failures, which can occur in copper plumbing systems and help to avoid them occurring. It is not meant to be a substitute for expert opinion in serious cases.

The following covers failures which can occur in both hot and cold domestic water systems, not closed central heating systems. Although failures of copper and brass fittings can occur in central heating systems, they are extremely rare as the dissolved oxygen content of the water is normally insufficient to cause corrosion. That is not to say that copper corrosion failures are common in domestic (drinking) water systems. Considering the hundreds of miles of copper pipework which is installed in the UK each year, the number of failures is quite low.

The sections deal with the many different types of copper corrosion in plumbing systems. For ease of use, each section follows the same format: manifestation, cause, and how it can be avoided.

Copies of the report are available from the Foundation, price 15.00, less 20% to FWR members.

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