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  1. #1
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    Default Corrosion at soldered joints

    This home built in 2004 has corrosion at most if not all of the fittings. I'm used to seeing minor corrosion in places but not like this. My guess is they may have used the wrong type of solder. Any help here is greatly appreciated. What I'm really wanting to know is if the corrosion is active. The client will be finishing the basement and is concerned that a problem could occur.

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  2. #2
    Nate Postrech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    flux. the plumber didn't wipe away the flux after soldering. that's my guess, especially if it's at all soldering points.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    Bill,
    as Nate said, it's merely flux, there's no problem with the solder. It's a sloppy soldering, and non-use of a water bottle to spray and clean after the joint is set.

    Some claim that in time excessive flux will create pinhole leaks. Maybe you could advise a cleaning with a custom flux cleaner?


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Anglin View Post
    This home built in 2004 has corrosion at most if not all of the fittings. I'm used to seeing minor corrosion in places but not like this. My guess is they may have used the wrong type of solder. Any help here is greatly appreciated. What I'm really wanting to know is if the corrosion is active. The client will be finishing the basement and is concerned that a problem could occur.
    Yes, corrosion is likely to still be deteriorating the copper pipe and fittings.
    There is a high probability of failure (leaking) at these connections.

    Keep in mind, in a 2 bath home there may be over 100 solder connections, most hidden from view.
    Just one leaking connection can cause thousands in damage.
    Replacing every connection will cost another several thousand.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  5. #5
    Jim McMillan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    For Rick - I have been suspect about excess flux corrosion since I started inspecting 15 years ago. Most plumbers around my area don't worry about this. In support of my concerns do you have any reference items that I could use to address my concerns with the plumbers when I call this out on my reports? Any help is appreciated.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    Search Google for Flux induced corrosion
    Below are some of the pages I found

    http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA285268
    Background
    Copper potable water piping systems are generally expected to have a service life of 100 years with
    minimal maintenance requirements. In practice, however, some copper piping systems fail much sooner.
    Corrosion resulting from poor workmanship in the assembly of the system, specifically the excessive use
    of aggressive soldering flux, has been found to cause such failures.

    http://www.nuflowtech.com/Portals/0/...er_Service.pdf

    Popular plumbing problem solving and remodeling DIY discussion advice forum site.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  7. #7
    Jim McMillan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    Thanks, Rick. Good reads.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    Copper Pipe White Paper

    Design and Installation Factors
    Soldering Flux Induced Corrosion
    Application of excess soldering flux during fabrication of soldered joints has been found to be a significant cause of corrosion failures in copper water tube

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    All god info, but keep wires away from pipes!! (also)


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    Rick,
    Thank you for the citations, but the studies refer to flux inside the pipework not on the surface, which is the case with the pics posted by Bill.
    Note in the plbg.com reference, that hj, a well respected ( if grumpy ) plumber of 50yrs experience, has never seen excessive flux pin-holing.

    Ref. the Copper Development Assn. claims - so what! Scientific evidence is required to substantiate such large and potentially expensive assertions.
    Where is the scientific evidence - the empirical experiments, and the random selection of case studies in different states?

    I've heard hearsay of pin-holing, but have only actually observed it in the the copper tube, not the fittings, and the systems were compromised with mixed ( ie. copper and galv. ) pipework.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    Quote Originally Posted by tom daley View Post
    Rick,
    Thank you for the citations, but the studies refer to flux inside the pipework not on the surface, which is the case with the pics posted by Bill.
    Yes, the studies found that flux on the inside of a copper tube would cause pinhole leaks from corrosion.
    Are you saying that flux on the outside of the copper tube does not corrode from the outside as well?

    Quote Originally Posted by tom daley View Post
    Note in the plbg.com reference, that hj, a well respected ( if grumpy ) plumber of 50yrs experience, has never seen excessive flux pin-holing.
    So, since a grumpy (but well respected) old plumber has not seen it, it does not exist. Or could it be he has seen it (pinhole leaks) but did not know it was caused by excessive use of flux?

    Quote Originally Posted by tom daley View Post
    Ref. the Copper Development Assn. claims - so what! Scientific evidence is required to substantiate such large and potentially expensive assertions.
    Which "assertions" do you think are false?
    (1)Yes, corrosion is likely to still be deteriorating the copper pipe and fittings.
    (2)There is a high probability of failure (leaking) at these connections.
    (3)Keep in mind, in a 2 bath home there may be over 100 solder connections, most hidden from view.
    (4)Just one leaking connection can cause thousands in damage.
    (5)Replacing every connection will cost another several thousand.

    Quote Originally Posted by tom daley View Post
    Where is the scientific evidence - the empirical experiments, and the random selection of case studies in different states?
    Do you do this on everything you write up?
    I don't.

    Quote Originally Posted by tom daley View Post
    I've heard hearsay of pin-holing, but have only actually observed it in the the copper tube, not the fittings, and the systems were compromised with mixed ( ie. copper and galv. ) pipework.
    You heard of it, then you seen it, but you still question it.

    Basically it's like this
    The instructions say not to apply excess flux, and to clean flux after soldering.
    To me it looks like;
    Excess flux was applied
    Flux was not cleaned

    The plumber did not follow instructions
    If to much flux is on the outside, and the flux was not cleaned.
    I think it reasonable to come to the conclusion that to much flux is likely on the inside as well.
    Now, both of us agree that flux on the inside of the copper tube is a bad thing.

    Again, just one leak could easily cost $2000, maybe a lot more.
    If your lucky, the homeowner will only sue you for the ONE leak, and not for replacement of all fittings.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    Copper Pipe White Paper
    Design and Installation Factors
    Soldering Flux Induced Corrosion
    Application of excess soldering flux during fabrication of soldered joints has been found to be a significant cause of corrosion failures in copper water tube [16]. ASTM B828 describes the proper procedures for preparation and joining tube ends to fittings by soldering. The standard warns against careless workmanship that can cause problems long after the system has been installed. Heat applied during soldering melts the flux to clean the surface for bonding of the solder. If excess flux has been applied, the heating process can result in the flow of melted flux on the inside of the tube and fitting. Lead-free solders mandated by amendments to the SWDA in 1986, are more difficult to use correctly compared to traditional lead-tin solders, and have probably contributed to overzealous use of flux in some cases.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    Pictured is not original "plumbing" work, not performed by a "plumber" it is unqualified work after the original, modifying the systemS. Doubt any permits were pulled when the area (loosely applied) "work" was done as multiple systems have been modified by a hack.Required Master Plumber or Eng. to review and proscribe corrective design and remediation of the plumbing systems. the real plumber can advise as to timing of the electrician visit(s).


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    There is a problem in the way the solder joints were made. Maybe it will not leak right away, maybe it will not leak at all. But to dismiss the possibility is ignoring the evidence, and letting your customer take the risk without their consent or knowledge.

    Water is the single biggest cause of most damage to/ in a house.
    Many inspectors have customer problems because of not identifying water damage.
    Just watch one of Mike Holmes shows, every one ( that I have watched) of his shows finds water damage that was not identified by the home inspector.

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    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Pictured is not original "plumbing" work, not performed by a "plumber" it is unqualified work after the original, modifying the systemS. Doubt any permits were pulled when the area (loosely applied) "work" was done as multiple systems have been modified by a hack.Required Master Plumber or Eng. to review and proscribe corrective design and remediation of the plumbing systems. the real plumber can advise as to timing of the electrician visit(s).
    H.G.,
    I know you have a direct line to "The Psychic connection" and also are clairvoyant , But how do you come to a conclusions that :

    1)"Pictured is not original "plumbing" work"
    2) "not performed by a "plumber"
    3) "it is unqualified work after the original, modifying the systemS."
    4) "multiple systems have been modified by a hack ."
    . .Where did electrical come from?
    5) "the real plumber can advise as to timing of the electrician visit(s)"

    Just want to understand......

    Last edited by Garry Sorrells; 08-23-2012 at 07:36 PM. Reason: clarification

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    I know you have a direct line to "The Psychic connection" and also are clairvoyant , But how do you come to a conclusions that :

    1)"Pictured is not original "plumbing" work"
    2) "not performed by a "plumber"
    3) "it is unqualified work after the original, modifying the systemS."
    4) "multiple systems have been modified by a hack ."
    . .Where did electrical come from?
    5) "the real plumber can advise as to timing of the electrician visit(s)"

    Just want to understand......
    Why would you ask that?

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    Rick,
    Just curious on how the great mind works or doesn't.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Rick,
    Just curious on how the great mind works or doesn't.
    I have an idea.
    Magic 8-Ball - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    Oh, I agree with HG - with all those pretty greens, it was surely done by an artist!

    What's the white stuff on the wood in the third photo? Looks just like the corroded copper.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    H.G.,
    I know you have a direct line to "The Psychic connection" and also are clairvoyant , But how do you come to a conclusions that :

    1)"Pictured is not original "plumbing" work"
    2) "not performed by a "plumber"
    3) "it is unqualified work after the original, modifying the systemS."
    4) "multiple systems have been modified by a hack ."
    . .Where did electrical come from?
    5) "the real plumber can advise as to timing of the electrician visit(s)"

    Just want to understand......
    No you don't. You're just engaging in your usual troll behavior, as you have made clear with your dozen or so posts/cross posts within the same idle time period.

    Perhaps if you bothered to LOOK you'd see its as plain as the nose on your face (assuming you're graced with one).




  21. #21
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    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    Once corrosion on metal starts it cannot be stopped....slowed maybe.....corroded pipes need to be replaced before he covers it up....... I've seen a lot of leaky copper pipes......fix one spot and then another pops up later at a different spot.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    H.G.,
    "Pictured is not original "plumbing" work, not performed by a "plumber" it is unqualified work after the original, modifying the systemS."

    Is the extrapolation based on the unsecured wire?
    .
    .
    .Not totally "troll behavior" since I was sill asking on how you made your determinations.

    Troll Behavior:
    Troll (Internet) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    "..... troll is someone who posts inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages ..."

    Did get a kick from learning something new. Was not familiar with term.
    Did you learn of it from being accused of "toll behavior " or were you a developer?


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Anglin View Post
    This home built in 2004 has corrosion at most if not all of the fittings. I'm used to seeing minor corrosion in places but not like this. My guess is they may have used the wrong type of solder. Any help here is greatly appreciated. What I'm really wanting to know is if the corrosion is active. The client will be finishing the basement and is concerned that a problem could occur.
    Bill,
    Is the house on a well?
    If so does it have a water treatment system ?

    I would cast a vote on just replacing the copper before finishing the basement off.
    It may not be an absolute guarantee (though probable) that the pipes will leak, but replacement now would save a lot of time and materials on redoing the finished basement.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    I, too, am interested in what makes this obviously an amateur job besides the messiness and the overuse of flux.

    Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.
    - James Burgh, 1754.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Corrosion at soldered joints

    I think the following thread is reason enough to at least consider that green streaks are worth mentioning in the report.

    http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...er-beware.html

    It's better to explain your findings now than to defend your not reporting it later.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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