If you are reading this article it is most likely that you have experienced a water main leak as a result of electrolysis. It is important to truly understand what electrolysis is and how it ends up causing our water mains to leak.
Without getting too technical, electrolysis is an underground electric leak which is very similar to how your water main would leak below ground. The electric leak below ground is in the form of a stray current that finds its way and is attracted to copper pipes. Once the current leak reaches your copper pipe it will begin making small pinholes and ultimately will result in the pipe leaking.
It is possible that your water main is leaking below ground for several months or even longer before the water surfaces above ground and you become aware that there is a problem. The unfortunate part is that many homeowners do not become aware that their pipe is leaking from electrolysis until they experience a secondary leak on the pipe.
For example, when a water main is replaced the plumber does not inspect the entire water main to try and figure out exactly where the leak is and what caused the problem. Taking the time to find a crack, pinhole or broken water main may actually end up taking longer than the entire water main replacement itself. For this reason it is considerably more cost effective to simply install the new pipe and in most cases outside of electrolysis, the pipe will remain in good condition for 50-70 years.
In the event you have experienced a leak from electrolysis it is suggested that the copper water main is installed inside of a plastic tubing which will prevent the electrical current leak from reaching your copper pipes. The plastic tubing will service as a shield to protect your copper from future leaks.
There is not absolute guarantee that a pipe will not leak as a result of electrolysis after being installed inside of tubing. With that said, we have been installing copper inside of tubing for over 15 years and have not had one customer call us back to report that the pipe is leaking. Where we do not have hundreds of years of data due to this being a more recent issue, it does appear that the solution is extremely successful.