Home Improvement

Home Improvement Questions? Ask a Handyman for Answers

Ask an Expert,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Home Improvement

Why do copper water pipes turn blue on the outside?

Customer Question
Why do copper water pipes turn blue on the outside?
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Home Improvement
Ask Your Own Home Improvement Question
Answered in 9 minutes by:
10/23/2011
Home Improvement Expert: Eric M. Bright, We Don't Comprehend the Word Can't! replied 6 years ago
Eric M. Bright
Eric M. Bright, We Don't Comprehend the Word Can't!
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 1,923
Experience: I've been been doing things for my clients that others have said cant be done for over a 1/4 Century
Verified

Hi, Welcome to JustAnswer.com, I am glad you are here! My name is Eric & I will endeavor to answer your question.

 

There is nothing dangerous or destructive happening when your copper pipes turn Green / Blue neither are they deteriorating.

 

Nignthoujam Sandhyarani ties it up very nicely as follows:

Copper oxidizes whereby it turns Blue / Green. Oxidation is a phenomenon whereby an element loses electrons (and/or hydrogen) on interacting with another element. There are many examples of oxidation, which we observe in our day-to-day life. To mention a few; there is oxidation of iron, aluminum and even, a freshly cut apple.

Oxidation of iron, referred to as 'rust', leads to corrosion and/or formation of a flaky, reddish outer layer. Another example is the oxidation of aluminum, leading to formation of white, flaky layer. This is usually seen in aluminum doors and windows after a heavy rainfall. When an apple is cut and the cut surface is exposed to air, it turns brown. This is nothing but oxidation.

Similar to iron and aluminum, the element copper undergoes the process of oxidation, if it is exposed to air. Copper metal reacts with oxygen, resulting in the formation of copper oxide, which appears green in color. It is to be noted that copper does not react with water. The outer green layer, formed after the oxidation of copper, is known as patina.

Unlike other destructive oxidation, patina acts as a protective layer. This is the reason as to why, copper is considered as an important metal, resistant to corrosion. The patina prevents further corrosion of copper beneath the oxidized layer. Very often, patina is seen on the roofs of old buildings, which acts as a waterproofing layer.

The function of patina as a protective layer can also be seen in the Statue of Liberty. According to the Copper Development Association, the oxidation of the statue's copper skin is only about 0.005 inch till now. For preventing oxidation, the best way is to protect the surfaces, that are likely to be exposed to air and water, with the help of a protective coat. This way, the surface of the metal is prevented from reacting with oxygen and/or water.

 

 

Ask Your Own Home Improvement Question
Home Improvement Expert: Stephen Cutler, General Contractor replied 6 years ago
Stephen Cutler
Stephen Cutler, General Contractor
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 2,062
Experience: 35 years of troubleshooting construction, remodel, component & material failures. What to do next
Verified
The reason you see it on copper pipes AT the fittings, is because the plumbers use acid flux to "eat" oxidation off the pipe prior to sweating the joints. Crappy/lazy plumbers leave the acid on the pipe and it oxidized the pipe at an acclerated rate. Plumbers who are particular about their work wipe the pipe with a damp rag while the pipe is still hot. This removes the acid. You can tell what kind of plumber did the work on your pipes by how clean they are. The pipes should be a fall leaf brown and uniform in color throughout. But don't freak out just because you have an installation with excessive oxidation at the joints. Even with accelerated oxidation by acid, it will be 20-30 years before the joint begins to leak. If you have exposed joints that exhibit acid exposure, you can still clean the acid off with dishsoap & a scrubby sponge. My point is that discoloration at the fittings is not the normal oxidation rate. It is evidence of failure to clean joints after sweating, and does rise to the level of panic. If you live in a climate that has reactive soils, AND your copper plumbing runs under a slab on grade, you will need to have the dwelling repiped sometime between 20-30 years after the date of construction. This is VERY common in FL.
Ask Your Own Home Improvement Question
Home Improvement Expert: wkingkick, Building Inspector replied 6 years ago
wkingkick
wkingkick, Building Inspector
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 17
Experience: Professional home/building inspector. Learn what inspectors will be looking for before.
Verified
Besides the corrosion that is taking place hat everyone is telling you about, you might find it even stranger to find that the water could actually turn blue as well. Many people feel that the change in color is from electrolysis which occurs when two different metals touch each other. This may be the case if correct connectors are not used. The simple fact is that all new copper pipes dissolve at a rate of .001-.003 per inch, per year during the first few years of installation. Soft water conditioner, accelerated rate of copper dissolving possibly due to a low ph level below 6.5. One other strange event that began after the EPA Safe Water Act of 1991 when the NOM's began being removed from the water. It caused a lack of the protective patina which occurred when copper begins to dissolve.
Ask Your Own Home Improvement Question
Ask wkingkick Your Own Question
wkingkick
wkingkick
wkingkick, Building Inspector
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 17
17 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Professional home/building inspector. Learn what inspectors will be looking for before.

wkingkick is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

You did one super job of explaining to me everything there is to know about this fridge. I'm looking forward to asking you questions in the future.

JimmyBagley, IA

Thank you for the expeditious answer. It's good to know you're out there and awake in the wee hours when I finally have time to ask questions about my Jenn Air.

JeanRiverhead, NY

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!!

AlexLos Angeles, CA

Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult.

GPHesperia, CA

I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion.

JustinKernersville, NC

Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around.

EstherWoodstock, NY

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Brian

Brian

Architect

2,153 satisfied customers

Licensed Architect- 17 years, L.E.E.D. AP

The Home Smithy

The Home Smithy

Home Builder

2,084 satisfied customers

#1 Home Improvement Expert 30+ years experience

Steve G.

Steve G.

Handyman

221 satisfied customers

VP of electronic repair company and home theater advisor.

StructuralEng

StructuralEng

Civil Engineer

14 satisfied customers

Licensed Structural Engineer

Eric M. Bright

Eric M. Bright

We Don't Comprehend the Word Can't!

1,923 satisfied customers

I've been been doing things for my clients that others have said cant be done for over a 1/4 Century

Phil

Phil

Mechanical Engineer

682 satisfied customers

Retired contractor, 51 years experience

Rich

Rich

Home Improvement Enthusiast

674 satisfied customers

Over 35 years construction and home maintenance experience

< Previous | Next >

Related Home Improvement Questions
The beeping continues on and on after I, open door and think
The beeping continues on and on after I cook, open door and think I am through. Not so, beeping has gone on two hours … read more
Eddie
Eddie
Home Improvement Contractor and Repairs
High School or GED
1,040 satisfied customers
I have a Genie GS1930 that is running slower than it used
I have a Genie GS1930 that is running slower than it used to. both the lift and drive function and does not move in slow drive mode. … read more
Eddie
Eddie
Home Improvement Contractor and Repairs
High School or GED
1,040 satisfied customers
I have an LGLMXS30776S fridge that's not cooling. Maybe 2
I have an LGLMXS30776S fridge that's not cooling. JA: What's the make and model of the fridge? And can you guesstimate how old is it? Customer: maybe 2 years JA: Do you plan on doing the work yourself… read more
HVAC Guru
HVAC Guru
Service Technician
Associate Degree
682 satisfied customers
I have serious mold and mildew in my washing machine gasket
I have serious mold and mildew in my washing machine gasket that doesn't come out after I wash it. I've used bleach, baking soda and washing machine cleaning tablet but it is still three. What do I do… read more
Eddie
Eddie
Home Improvement Contractor and Repairs
High School or GED
1,040 satisfied customers
Well, my garbage disposal backed up.. and I read where you
well, my garbage disposal backed up.. and I read where you use uncooked pasta and running water to free it but now it just hums and doesnt turn so I think it's overloaded. … read more
Rick the plumber
Rick the plumber
Owner
9,857 satisfied customers
Our home was damaged by a pipe burst...presently, a drying
Our home was damaged by a pipe burst...presently, a drying and mitgation company using fans and humifiers are drying out the house before the to dry out home. We need to have an electrician rewire the… read more
Rick the plumber
Rick the plumber
Owner
9,857 satisfied customers
I have a plumbing problemishes in my tub. I changed the
Second opinion] I have a plumbing problemishes in my tub. I changed the washers on the spindles (hot/cold/diverter) but when I turn off water it still has running for about 10 seconds. How can I fix t… read more
David Bowden
David Bowden
Owner
463 satisfied customers
I have a micro touch massage chair that has quit working.
I have a micro touch massage chair that has quit working. … read more
Susan Latta
Susan Latta
Kitchen and Bath Designer, Contractor
Bachelor\u0027s Degree
110 satisfied customers
I have a regency gas fireplace that the pilot lights fine
I have a regency gas fireplace that the pilot lights fine but will not turn on. It has both a remote and manual switch underneath. Neither one makes it go on. I actually have four of these in my home … read more
David Bowden
David Bowden
Owner
463 satisfied customers
Is there a way of fixing this ceiling from leaking or
Is there a way of fixing this ceiling from leaking or cracking more ? This is the last floor and when it rains on the rooftop it has been leaking. The landlord has not fixed the holes on the rooftop. … read more
Susan Latta
Susan Latta
Kitchen and Bath Designer, Contractor
Bachelor\u0027s Degree
110 satisfied customers
Garage door opens by itself. [email protected] Web. I
How do you usually access your email? On a phone or tablet, or through a web browser?… read more
Jarrett Baker
Jarrett Baker
Building Analyst and Home Inspector
BPI license
11 satisfied customers
Repairing 100 year old basement floor. Every 5+ years the
hello, repairing 100 year old basement floor. Every 5+ years the water table rises and has caused serious spalling and crumbling in localized areas ( 20-25 areas up to 6" diameter in 1500 sqft basemen… read more
Machinc
Machinc
Retired
948 satisfied customers
I have a model ch1000 wizard 2113 and I need to find the
I have a model ch1000 wizard 2113 and I need to find the learn button on it to program a remote … read more
Eddie
Eddie
Home Improvement Contractor and Repairs
High School or GED
1,040 satisfied customers
How do I stop moisture from condensing on the inside of my
How do I stop moisture from condensing on the inside of my metal roof, above ceiling panels, and dripping into the house?… read more
Phil
Phil
Mechanical Engineer
Degree, Mech Engr Technology
682 satisfied customers
I am installing a new fan; replacing an old one. Very old
I am installing a new fan; replacing an old one. Very old home. Switch has standard, new looking cable; black, white, and ground. The fan has two sets; a new black and white; and a very old set, cloth… read more
Eddie
Eddie
Home Improvement Contractor and Repairs
High School or GED
1,040 satisfied customers
Water well low preasure found leak in well house. Replaced
Water well low preasure found leak in well house. Replaced all fitting preasure switch gauge and valve they screw into. While replacing wind chills dropped too single digest. Turned breaker on gauge r… read more
Rick the plumber
Rick the plumber
Owner
9,857 satisfied customers
We are not getting hot water. There are no error codes. You
We are not getting hot water. There are no error codes. … read more
HVAC Guru
HVAC Guru
Service Technician
Associate Degree
682 satisfied customers
I recently found a finish nail in a copper water line with
I recently found a finish nail in a copper water line with no leaks. It must have been done years ago since no work I had been done since I've lived here (6 years) is this in common? How long can a na… read more
Rick the plumber
Rick the plumber
Owner
9,857 satisfied customers
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x