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Shorty dishman
Chloramines and plumbing damage

I live in a suburb of Houston, Texas, where they have stopped using chlorine to purify our water, replacing it with choramines. I've been told chloramines would damage galvanized pipes used in homes in my area. One neighbor had much of his galvanized plumbing replaced with PVC (at a cost of $7,000) to avoid damage from chloramine. Another neighbor had a water-filtering system installed to prevent that pipe damage. Another person told me a water-softener would prevent the problem. The galvanized pipes in my house are more than 30 years old and I've put clamps on a couple of corroded spots to prevent leaks. Will chloramines cause my galvanized pipes to leak and, if so, should I replace them with PVC, install a water-softener and/or a water-filtering system?

Re: Chloramines and plumbing damage

Chloramines aside, you should replace your galvanized pipes. You've already admitted to having leaks, it is inevitable you'll have more. Nothing will prevent future leaks in galvanized pipes.

I don't know how copper reacts to chloramines. It's the most expensive common plumbing material. With certain types of water, it leaches copper compounds that could be harmful. Unlike PEX, it is prone to freeze damage. A careless plumber could burn your house down installing it. Of course, many people swear by copper. Despite all of its disadvantages, copper sure is pretty, , it's lightweight, and it's reasonably durable under the right conditions.

PVC (pure white) is not suitable for hot water, and it gets brittle when exposed to sunlight. CPVC (cream colored) is suitable for hot water, but it gets brittle after several years, even when not exposed to sunlight.

My preference would be PEX (cross-linked polyethylene; it's a stable, food-grade plastic). It is freeze resistant; it just swells up when frozen and shrinks back to its original size without damage when it thaws. PEX can be less labor-intensive to install than CPVC, and since it's flexible and comes in long coils, it can often be fished into places with minimal wall & ceiling damage.

(P.S. -- The paragraph on copper is just a jab at the people who believe that copper is a holy and all plastics are evil. I probably just committed sacrilege.)

Re: Chloramines and plumbing damage

I agree with the post above. Your pipes have been in need of replacement for a long time, chlorine or no chlorine. In our fair city CPVC is code, as well as a number of other materials. Choose wisely and get a number of estimates.

I would recommend a whole house filter for the sediment we get round here. A 5 micron and larger will do the trick. Mine gets replaced 2x a year. The old one comes out brown.

Re: Chloramines and plumbing damage

USE PEX Or copper CPVC has major issues and wouldn't be surprised of a class act lawsuit in future and get a good carbon filter for whole home. chloramine is and chlorine isn't good chloramine is cholrine and ammonia mixed together its good to remove it if its damaging your pipes whats it doing to your health? just good advise.

Ben Franklin Plumbing Of Alpine
304 Meadowlark Dr, Alpine, UT 84004
(801) 960-1567 ‎

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