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6 Telltale Signs of a Corroded Pipe

Have you ever tried sipping your tap water only to find an odd metallic taste? Or experienced fluctuating water pressure from your showerhead?

If so, you could be dealing with corroded pipes.

Believe it or not, corroded water pipes are a common problem many homeowners face. And people living in households over 50 years old are more likely to deal with rusty pipes.

Most homes built around the 20th century used metallic or metal alloy pipes, like cast iron or copper. After decades of continuous use, corrosion will inevitably reveal itself for many reasons.

Unfortunately, metal pipe rust is only a drop in a ripple effect of problems.

Corroded pipes don’t just have an unpleasant and distasteful flavor. When left untreated, simple rust in your pipeline may escalate into irreparable damage. Nipping the problem in the bud can save you from overwhelming corroded pipe repair costs.

The first step to corroded pipe repair is understanding the signs of pipe corrosion.

Read on because this Drain Magic article will share the telltale signs of metal pipe rust.

What are the Signs of Corroded Pipes?

Does your water line use old metal pipes? Here are six signs that your pipeline is laced with corrosion:

Metallic taste tap waterMetallic taste tap water

A metallic note infiltrating your tap water clearly indicates underlying pipe corrosion. Don’t dismiss the taste as a mere inconvenience when you notice this.

Ideally, the typical taste of tap water should be clean, fresh and neutral without discernable taste. Municipal water systems treat the water to ensure it meets specific quality standards. That includes removing impurities and contaminants that could alter its taste.

However, an unpleasant flavor could mean your water line is the culprit. 

Flowing water can leach out trace amounts of metal from the corroded pipes, resulting in a metallic taste. This occurrence is widespread in older homes where aging metallic or metal alloy pipes, such as cast iron or copper, are prevalent.

Low water pressure

Another critical indicator of corroded pipes within a plumbing system is the noticeable decrease in water pressure. While metal-based lines can develop rust inside and out, corrosion typically happens where water flows. Each water molecule contains an oxygen atom that becomes a substrate for a process called redox reaction, resulting in rust.

In other words, the more water flows inside the pipeline, the higher the likelihood of corrosion.

Corroded pipes lead to a buildup of rust-like scales or sediments, continuously accumulating and reducing the pipeline’s internal diameter. As a result, the water flow becomes restricted, resulting in little to no water pressure from your fixtures.

Additionally, the rough surfaces created by corrosion can promote the adherence of other debris and substances, exacerbating the clogging issue. This combination of rust, scale, sediment and other contaminants contributes to gradually restricting water flow within the affected pipes.

Foul odor from the tapFoul odor from the tap

The presence of a foul odor in your tap water can be a clear indication of corroded pipes within your plumbing system. But contrary to popular belief, the smell is not limited to metallic, copper or iron scents. Pipe corrosion can also produce a rotten egg odor permeating the tap water, and here’s how:

Rust in pipes creates an environment for the growth of sulfur-reducing bacteria. The bacteria may react to the sulfates found in water, converting them to hydrogen sulfide gas. This gas is characterized by its peculiar rotten egg-like odor.

Water discoloration

Another potential indicator of corroded pipes within plumbing systems is water discoloration. 

Rust causes the breakdown of metallic materials, releasing rust sediments along the water flow. As a result, you may observe changes in water color, ranging from a slight yellow or brown tinge to more noticeable discoloration. Moreover, the rapid accumulation of rust particles over time also causes water to appear cloudy or murky.

Strange noises from pipelines

Did you know that corroded pipes also leave audible clues for homeowners to crack?

However, unlike taste, odor and color, detecting strange noises from the pipeline is more challenging. If you notice strange noises emanating from your plumbing system, it could be an indication of corroded pipes.

Corroded pipes often develop irregularities on their inner surfaces due to the effects of corrosion and rust. As water flows through these damaged sections, it can create turbulence and disruptions in the otherwise smooth flow. This turbulence can manifest as strange noises, including rattling, banging, or squealing sounds.

Fluctuating water temperature

Fluctuating water temperature

Temperature fluctuations within your plumbing system can be a potential sign of corroded pipes. Corrosion weakens the structural integrity of pipelines, making them more susceptible to changes in temperature. Water flowing through these compromised pipes can cause temperature irregularities in the water supply.

Corroded pipes may lack proper insulation or have damaged sections allowing heat exchange with the surrounding environment. As a result, you may experience sudden shifts in water temperature, such as unexpected bursts of hot or cold water.

The signs of corrosion can range from easily noticeable to elusive. But it’s crucial to be familiar with these clues as not all may manifest.

If you notice the first sign of corrosion, call your water line experts to check your pipeline. For homeowners in South Central Pennsylvania, Drain Magic can solve your corroded plumbing. Don’t hesitate to reach out.

Book an appointment here.