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  1. #1
    Jeffrey Fanger's Avatar
    Jeffrey Fanger Guest

    Default Cold water copper lines Blackened:

    Okay, I goofed! It is the COLD water line, not the hot! The only chemicals in the room were paint cans. 72 degrees, 50% humidity, no condensation anywhere. Room is 6x10 with furnace, grinder, sump pump and water heater. All other copper in the room was clean except for the jumper on the meter. The bottom end of the TPRV extension was also blackened. I also checked for voltage in the pipes and they checked out okay.

    Thanks in advance!
    Jeff

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Snowbird (this means I'm retired and migrate between locations), FL/MI
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    4,086

    Default Re: Cold water copper lines Blackened:

    First off, that Zinsser "Strip Fast" is OLD and probably been sitting there a LONG time (Zinsser no longer "Strip Fast" has been replaced with "Power Strip" for several years now, those (paint?) cans, and other noxious yuck (what's in the bag - "ice melt"? fast setting wall compound? whatever...)shouldn't be piled up and adjacent to the fuel-fired storage type water heater - or stored in the "enclosed space" containing same. They don't belong stored in a less-than well-ventillated environment - and flamables, corrosives, etc. shouldn't be stored in the presence of fuel-burning equipment -- let alone AJACENT to it!!

    For example Stripper vapors SINK (heavier than "air") react with water, oxygen, on the copper. vapors burn when that WH fires - fumes and noxious resulting plus water react on cold copper water pipe (and may react in burn chamber - baffle & flue of WH, and vent), similar furnace - etc. Surface tension of collected dropplets of condensation on copper collect/filter particles from burnt fumes which with water and oxygen react with the copper pipe.

    The COLD water lines SWEAT, esp. in the warmer, more humid, months.

    Chemicals, acids, caustics, water (condensation on the cold copper pipes) plus oxygen - and limited ventillation, and/or settling so near bsement floor - could easily be the explanation. The bare "jumpers" in contact with and looping low at lines before and after meter can surface tension same condensation.









    Other WAGs: incorrect or incomplete fully bonded electrode system less than 25 hms, jumped over valves, brass, bronze, not just meter;

    Other present or induced current - proximity and relationship to utilitiy, above or below ground transmission/distribution and/or pipeline facilities, cathodic protection, type of soil...parallel metal fencing, etc.

    Flooding history...(?) ground contamination? Near big-agr pig farm?

    visual exploration, Investigtion with megger, etc., contact with utilities, etc.

    Noted gas piping behind WH, is home provided with refined utility NG or direct tap off nearby (oil or gas) well?

    SWAGs' asside, Likely culprit is the the fumes and vapors from all that crud stored there that shouldn't be - esp. in the presence of open fuel burning equipment - esp. in less-than-well ventillated unconditioned, unfinished basement areas, reacting with the cold sweating (condensation) water pipes as those heavier than air fumes are being burnt off - esp. in the summer months. Get that flamable toxic stripper can and the rest of the crapola stored, "outta there!"

    Methylene chloride, dichloromethane now; formerly ??? don't recall, MEK? same? different formulation...etc. By the pile of junk - what other nasties are present.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 09-23-2012 at 02:16 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    26,248

    Default Re: Cold water copper lines Blackened:

    First thing I would do is put a clamp-on ammeter on that blackened ground bonding conductor and both the not blackened hot and the blackened cold water lines.

    I'm curious as to how much, if any, current is on those conductors.

    Then put the clamp-on ammeter on the service entrance conductors, the 2 hots, neutral, and the grounding electrode conductor. Theoretically, the hot with the highest current flow will equal the current flow in the other hot and the neutral, if it does not, then add in the current on the grounding electrode conductor and see if that does, and if not, add in the current on that blackened bonding conductor and the copper water piping ... I am curious how much current is going where it is supposed to go and how much is going where it is not supposed to go.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Snowbird (this means I'm retired and migrate between locations), FL/MI
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    4,086

    Default Re: Cold water copper lines Blackened:

    Vapors/fumes plus cold line copper surface condensation and the gas appliances in basement explains the pattern and location of the "blackness" on the cold water pipes and the bare bonding jumper at the water meter so near floor of basement. Probable suspects for same/sources are pictured abutting water heater, ignoring warning labels pictured on gas-fired storge type water heater and warnings on prime pictured suspect zinsser "strip fast" can (flamable btw).


  5. #5
    Jeffrey Fanger's Avatar
    Jeffrey Fanger Guest

    Default Re: Cold water copper lines Blackened:

    Well said Watson and Jerry, both very informative. I did do all that Jerry pointed out and that is all good and well. I also made it clear in my report about the flammables stored near open flames. Since my post I have learned that the basement was finished approximately 2 years ago and according to the home owners, the basement did not have a dehumidifier in it. So for about 4 years, the basement had high humidity and that would explain the cold line sweating. BUT, I think this problem may have been accelerated due to Watsons explanation.

    Good job guys and thanks again!

    Jeff


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