Understanding Water Line Electrolysis

May 19, 2021

The water and sewer system you interact with every day is much more finicky than you might believe. It’s easy to think that you won’t experience problems with your water line here in New York City, but many things can happen to it that you simply can’t control. One thing that could go wrong is known as electrolysis. It’s not common, but it is a nuisance that you may need to deal with on occasion. In this article, we help with understanding water line electrolysis so you can deal with it correctly.

What Is Electrolysis?

There are multiple definitions for electrolysis, but we will only concern ourselves with how it relates to plumbing and piping. Essentially, electrolysis refers to the process of a direct electrical current going through the water in your water line. While electrolysis is integral to function in some cases (as with batteries), it’s harmful when it occurs in a water line. It can damage your pipes and alter your water in unpleasant ways.

What Causes Electrolysis?

To understand water line electrolysis, you need to understand how it happens in the first place. Electrical wires and piping are often close together. Electrolysis occurs when stray electrical currents from the wires become attracted to the metal of the plumbing. Electricity then travels through the water in the pipes, deteriorating them in the process.

Another way that electrolysis can occur is via the touching of two different metals. This can cause electrical currents to jump between the metals, resulting in damaged pipes. Copper pipes are especially susceptible to this.

Understanding Water Line Electrolysis

What Does Electrolysis Do?

So, what are the exact effects of electrolysis? One common thing that might happen is that the electrolyzed water and piping may give off an odd odor that wasn’t present before. A much less obvious sign that electrolysis has taken place is that the pipes themselves have corroded in strange ways. Corrosion is most evident in copper pipes. Electrolysis can stain them green, and the decomposition can begin to appear in seemingly random patterns. People often refer to this as “pitting” since the random arcs of electrical current will form small corrosion pits along the pipes’ surfaces.

How Do We Stop Electrolysis From Happening?

The only way you’ll safely be able to stop this from happening is by calling in professional sewer and water contractors. Our team here at Harris Main and Water Sewer Contractors has been handling problems like electrolysis in New York City for years. If you believe electrolysis is a problem near you, don’t wait another minute to give us a call.

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