Are Your Pipes Being Damaged By Chloramines?

Are Your Pipes Being Damaged By Chloramines?

While your drinking water may be safer, your home could be at an increased risk of water damage. According to the California Professional Association of Specialty Contractors (CalPASC), the copper piping that is a widely used material throughout California and other areas of the United States is at risk of failure due to the chloramines found in water supplies. So, are your pipes being damaged by chloramines? 

The Chloramine Basics

Most of us are aware that our water is treated at municipal facilities to ensure that it is free of bacteria and microorganisms. While chlorine has been used for over a century, the increasing awareness of potentially dangerous disinfectant byproducts has led to many treatment facilities switching to chloramine. Chloramine is a compound that contains a mixture of chlorine and ammonia. This not only extends the disinfecting power of the chlorine in water supplies, but is thought to produce fewer DBPs. While this may make your water safer, it could be having a detrimental effect on thousands of homes throughout the U.S.

The Issue of Copper and Chloramine

Research presented at the Drinking Water Symposium organized by CalPASC discussed copper pipe failure and points to the presence of chloramine in the water systems of California. Following the EPA guidelines, the Metropolitan Water District switched to using chloramine to treat drinking water. The District supplies over 60 percent of the drinking water to California’s cities.

According to EPA data, over one in five American homes use drinking water that has been treated with chloramines. Chloramines have been linked to pinhole leaks in copper pipes, which while they are seemingly small, they can lead to big repair issues. Due to the tiny size of pinhole leaks, these leaks can go undetected for a prolonged period. This can not only lead to gallons of wasted water, but also contribute to water damage and mildew.

Is Your Water Treated with Chloramines?

The first step to evaluating whether your pipes are in danger from chloramines is to check if your water is treated with chloramines. Chloramine disinfection is used by lots of water companies, but this doesn’t mean you should assume that your water is being treated by chloramine. Fortunately, it is very simple to establish whether your municipal treatment plant uses chloramines. Your utility company will send you an annual water quality report that details levels of contaminants and what is used to address any quality issues. This will include details of whether chloramines or chlorine is used to treat your water.

Protecting Your Pipes

If you do find that your water is treated with chloramines, you will need to ensure that your pipes are protected. Fortunately, there are a number of water treatment devices that can remove traces of chloramine from your water supply as it enters your home. This will allow you to enjoy the benefits of chloramine disinfection without putting your pipes at risk.

If you have concerns about chloramines in your water, you should speak to a water treatment professional. A fully WQA certified technician can not only assess your water, but guide you through the treatment options that are proven to provide industry standard chloramine abatement.

By Mark Williams (NicMar President Mark Williams holds degrees in Applied Science and Industrial Thermodynamics, along with Agricultural Mechanization and Systems Engineering from Ohio State University.  He also holds the highest possible industry ranking, being WQA (Water Quality Association) LEVEL 6 Certified.

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