The Impact of Chloramines on Your Pipes

The water quality standards in the United States are extremely stringent and carefully monitored by the EPA to ensure that our water is safe. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that the water isn’t causing damage around your home. Plumbing professionals have recently highlighted the potential issue of copper pipes failing due to the presence of chloramines. So, are chloramines causing problems with your pipes? 

What Are Chloramines? 

Chloramines are compounds that are formed when ammonia and chlorine are mixed. This is added to water to extend the disinfecting capabilities of chlorine to protect drinking water from viruses and bacteria. Unfortunately, while chloramines have not been shown to be a risk to health, research that was presented at the Drinking Water Symposium hosted by the California Professional Association of Specialty Contractors CalPASC has highlighted that chloramines could be causing copper pipe failure.  

The Situation in California 

Following EPA federal guidelines, the Metropolitan Water District in California switched to using chloramines to treat drinking water supplies. The Metropolitan Water District supplies approximately 60 percent of drinking water in Californian cities. Unfortunately, the area is now experiencing copper pipe failures and issues throughout their network, and this is thought to be due to the chloramines in the water.  

What This Means for Homeowners 

According to the EPA, over one in five Americans is supplied with drinking water that has been treated with chloramines. This may mean that your home may develop copper pipe issues that can create massive problems. Pinhole leaks are common, and these seemingly tiny holes can easily go undetected. This means that your home may be wasting gallons of water and have underlying water damage and mildew issues.

The Consumer Confidence Report supplied each year by your utility company will detail whether your home is supplied with water treated using chloramines. Since chloramines are becoming more commonly used, there is a very good chance that if your home has a municipal water supply, your pipes may be exposed to chloramines and may be suffering damage as a result.  

Correcting the Problem OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fortunately, there is a solution to the potential problem of chloramines causing damage to your copper pipes; water treatment solutions. The Water Quality Association has recommended the installation of in home water purification devices, reverse osmosis systems or whole house filters to eliminate any traces of chloramines in your water supply. An experienced technician can assess your water supply to determine if there are water contaminants including chloramines that may be compromising your home.

If your water supply is found to contain chloramines, it may be a good idea to check for any signs of leaks in your home. Pinhole leaks can be challenging to determine, but if your water consumption has increased or you’ve noticed that your water bills have increased for no apparent reason, you may need to have a plumber check your pipes.  

If you have concerns about your water supply, you should speak to a water treatment specialist. A fully WQA certified professional can not only assess your water quality, but guide you through the available options that are best suited to your specific requirements.

By Terry Reeh, EcoWater Systems of Nebraska. 

With more than 25 years experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Terry is a WQA (Water Quality Association) certified water specialist, LEVEL 3, as well as a WQA certified sales representative.  Terry currently sits on EcoWater Systems (a Berkshire Hathaway Company) national Peers committee, as a water treatment expert advising other water professionals with less experience on best trade and technology practices. EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery businesses in the state.

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