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Thread: Electrolysis

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
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    South Dakota, USA
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    Electrolysis

    I have had local plumbers talking about multiple job locations of pin holes in copper water lines. They are telling there customers that it is caused by electrolysis and want the owners to have an electrician correct the problem by disconnecting the bonded water lines. One case had green tinted water and also blamed electrolysis. What is this, how do you determine electrolysis, and ultimately how do you fix the problem... Any help?

  2. #2
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    We get this question about every 6 months. Cut to the chase answer- it isn't an electrical problem but a water chemistry problem.

    -Hal

  3. #3
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    If the problem is from electrical issues - it will be a DC current that you are trying to eliminate from the water piping.

    I agree most such issues are probably water chemistry problems and not electrical problems.

  4. #4
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    Sometimes it is caused by poor practices of the installing plumber. Galvanized fittings mixed with Cu. High water flow. Excessive flux at soldering.

    Read up and go on the service call. Use the search feature at the upper right.
    Tom
    TBLO

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptonsparky View Post
    S...
    Use the search feature at the upper right.
    Or if, as often happens, the Forum search feature is not doing a very good search, try a Google search which also includes the qualifier site:mikeholt.com.

  6. #6
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    We maybe bucking the general consesus of this group but we have found the following.

    This problem seems to be more prevalent when supplied with well water.(possibly chemistry)

    We have found several 20 to 30 floor condo buildings with blue/green water and a sulphur type smell from the water. Ac current flow on the copper water piping throughout these buildings was 20 to 30 amps.

    When the AC current flow problem on the piping was corrected the problems gradually disappeared to eventually an acceptable condition.
    May the force be with you

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostbuster View Post
    We maybe bucking the general consesus of this group but we have found the following.

    This problem seems to be more prevalent when supplied with well water.(possibly chemistry)

    We have found several 20 to 30 floor condo buildings with blue/green water and a sulphur type smell from the water. Ac current flow on the copper water piping throughout these buildings was 20 to 30 amps.

    When the AC current flow problem on the piping was corrected the problems gradually disappeared to eventually an acceptable condition.
    Twenty to thirty amps is excessive and opens a whole new can of worms. Removing the bond is more likely to cause a shocking problem. Blue water or death? What shall we do? Find the problem as you have done and fix it. Removing the bond is incorrect.
    Tom
    TBLO

  8. #8
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    AZ
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    1) have the water tested to see what the supply has in it
    2) what type of copper, are the pipes stamped with type/maker

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptonsparky View Post
    Twenty to thirty amps is excessive and opens a whole new can of worms. Removing the bond is more likely to cause a shocking problem. Blue water or death? What shall we do? Find the problem as you have done and fix it. Removing the bond is incorrect.
    Well said.
    Once in a while you get shown the light
    In the strangest of places if you look at it right. Robert Hunter

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Bremerton, Washington
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    I work for a large municipal water system. Almost always, copper corrosion is caused by water chemistry, primarily low pH. Low pH water is very aggressive and erodes the protective oxide film that copper has, same with lead (what happened in flint is they did not have corrosion control)
    In about 1995 the EPA had the lead and copper rule, requiring testing certain homes (depending on when built) for corrosion issues. We started corrosion control in 1999 and we raise the pH from about 8-.0 to 8.5. Testing since then shows it has been very successful.

    Its not an electrical issue, I have the definitive study from the AWWA, that shows that. Your plumbers can always add a length of PVC pipe on the service line to isolate it if its is metallic to the water main.

    And have them do this, check with their water provider, ask for the consumer confidence report, look for the information on lead and copper.
    Or if on a private system have a water test done.
    Moderator-Washington State
    Ancora Imparo

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