How Long Does a Copper Water Main Last ?

August 31, 2012

Copper pipes last longer than any other piping material used for plumbing. On average a copper pipe will last 60 years and in many cases much longer. The average life span assumes that the pipe has not been hit with electrolysis or tampered with by another person. Copper water mains are widely used as a material for water piping, the corrosion resistance is a function of many different factors like water chemistry.

Water main and tap connection to the city main

What is Electrolysis?

Electrolysis of copper pipe

Electrolysis is defined as “a method of using a direct electric current (DC) to drive an otherwise non-spontaneous chemical reaction.  Electrolysis is commercially highly important as a stage in the separation of elements from naturally occurring sources”.  DC current is commonly used in train systems and electrical utilities which may play a factor in a water line break, pending the location of the piping.

Read more on electrolysis

The most common reasons for a copper water main leak

  1. Corrosion
  2. Frozen pipes
  3. Electrolysis
  4. Age

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