copper pipe plumbing

Copper pipes, when properly installed, can last for 20 to 50 years in the state of Arizona. Copper pipes last longer in Arizona than in areas with high humidity and extreme temperature changes. While copper pipes are typically very durable and reliable choices, some choices might be more suitable in some situations. 

Consult with a plumbing expert with Plumbing by Jake if you have any questions.  

Hard Water May Be a Problem for the Lifespan of Copper Pipes

While copper pipes should last quite some time, there are factors that impact their lifespan. Arizona is known for having some of the country’s hardest water. Hard water means that there is a high mineral content in the water. Arizona has an abundance of natural water sources, from underground aquifers to the Colorado River. 

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) informs us that the water in Arizona ranges from moderately to very hard. Some areas contain a high mineral content and cause mineral buildup to form in pipes and appliances. This can make it difficult to clean effectively, and laundry may be discolored. 

Many Arizona homes employ water softeners and other methods to treat the high mineral content in their water supply. Having your water tested for hardness regularly by an experienced Arizona plumbing service is the best way to understand the specific needs you may face for your pipes.

How does Hard Water Affect Your Pipes

As the minerals collect, they cause a buildup inside your pipes and appliances. This causes a reduction in energy efficiency and can shorten the lifespan of your pipes. It can cause detergents, be less effective, and increase soap scum. 

Water Quality Issues

The quality of the water repeatedly running through the pipes can impact the lifespan of copper pipes. Copper pipes resist corrosion and are pretty durable, making them a favorite for plumbing systems for decades. The lifespan varies, but you can usually depend on them lasting for twenty to fifty years. 

Having a plumber monitor your water quality can head off problems before they begin. Consider having periodic checks of your water quality. 

Temperature Can Play a Factor in the Life of Your Copper Pipes

Arizona’s hot, dry climate and extreme temperatures can impact how long copper pipes might last. When exposed to extreme temperatures, the pipes must contract and expand. This can eventually cause leaks and cracks in the pipes. 

Pipes that are exposed to direct sunlight will degrade even more quickly in Arizona’s extreme heat. It is important to properly insulate copper pipes so that their usefulness is prolonged.

Soil Conditions May Also Play a Role in the Degradation of Copper Pipes

Arizona’s soil conditions may be another factor that impacts how long copper pipes might last. When there are high levels of salt and minerals in the soil, it can cause the pipes to corrode more quickly. 

In addition to the mineral buildup, shifting soil can put pressure on copper pipes. This pressure and shifting and settling of the soil can cause the pipes to crack or break. If the pipes are installed using the proper techniques, some of these issues can be avoided, ensuring copper pipes have a long life. 

Maintenance May Prolong the Lifespan of Copper Pipes

By taking steps to protect your copper pipes through regular maintenance, you may increase the time they will last. A few suggestions may prolong the life of your copper plumbing.

  • Regular inspections 
  • Identify leaks early so that repairs can be made before there is substantial damage.
  • Have your pipes flushed to remove buildup as a preventative measure that will extend the life of your copper pipes.

Proper installation and maintenance will extend the lifespan of your pipes. 

Other Options for Pipes

If you are replacing pipes or if yours is a new construction project, you should note that there are other options for your plumbing needs than copper pipes. In Arizona, PEX pipes may be a viable option. These pipes are engineered from a durable plastic type that is resistant to corrosion. 

PEX pipes are predicted to last up to fifty years, giving them a comparable lifespan to copper pipes. The goal is to have plumbing that functions well for decades. When determining which pipe will serve your needs best, you will want to speak with a plumbing professional to make an educated decision. 

When Copper Pipes Outlive Their Usefulness

Once copper pipes begin to outlive their usefulness, several indicators may signal it is time to call in a plumber. Copper pipes have a lifespan of between 20 and 50 years, so if your pipes are approaching that time frame, consider speaking to a plumber. 

 Warning signs that you may need to call a plumber are listed below: 

  • You may have corroded or damaged pipes if you notice leaks or have frequent drips. This requires prompt, professional attention. 
  • Notice the color of your water. If it shows signs of discoloration or has a metallic taste or smell, your copper pipes may have corroded or be showing signs of deterioration. 
  • Another cue that your copper pipes might be outliving their usefulness is if you have a consistently low water pressure or if it fluctuates between normal and low water pressure. The pipes may be blocked or damaged, and they need professional attention before they burst and cause even more damage.
  • Corrosion and damage to your pipes might present as a green or white buildup on the pipes themselves. There could be visible damage, like breaks and dented areas, which are usually pretty clear signs that your pipes are close to the end of their lifespan.

If the timeline on your copper pipes seems to be swiftly ticking away and you are planning another remodeling project around your home or place of business. In that case, this might be a stellar time to replace your plumbing system. This gives you an opportunity to make sure everything is up to date, properly installed, and meets today’s stricter building standards. 

Plumbing by Jake to the Rescue

If you have noticed damage or corrosion, it is critical that you address the problem immediately so that you can avoid serious damage to your structure and a host of potential health risks. The team of experienced plumbing professionals at Plumbing by Jake can inspect your pipes and determine if there are any serious issues. 

Plumbing by Jake is available to answer all of your questions. If there are problems, they can help you to determine the smartest course of action. This might include doing spot repairs and replacing damaged sections of pipe or updating the entire system with PEX pipes or copper replacements.