Copper pipe turned purple

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Old 05-21-17, 07:07 PM
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Copper pipe turned purple

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My sister had a pinhole leak in her main water supply line.
A 3/4 copper running horizontally a few feet from the city entry point.

The pipe has purple batches all over it and has turned green inside.
The few other visible pipes, under the kitchen sink etc look normal.

Any idea what would cause this?
 
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Old 05-21-17, 07:23 PM
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The green inside is normal. The purple indicates that it may have been exposed to Sodium Chloride or Ammonium Hydroxide (salt or ammonia).
 
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Old 05-21-17, 07:26 PM
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I've only seen copper turn purple when heated... especially as with an acetylene torch.

Is it possible that that line had frozen at one time and heated with a torch to unthaw it ?
 
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Old 05-22-17, 03:46 AM
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As a caution. If she had one pinhole leak, there are a hundred more waiting to happen. Copper can "thin" out over time and cause the walls to fail, first with pinhole leaks. You can repair one, then another, until it isn't feasible to do it anymore. Replacement with another product, like PEX, PVC, or black plastic is always best.
 
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Old 05-22-17, 04:39 AM
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This Old House discussed the causes of copper pipe leaks. There are several phenomena that can cause copper pipes to develop leaks from the inside out. And, as Chandler mentioned if there is one bad spot there are usually many more that are about to leak.
 
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Old 05-22-17, 12:49 PM
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Thank you guys.

She is not the first owner of the home, the pipe has never frozen while she has been in the house, but she lives in the country and winter snow storms and power failures are an annual affair out there, so it is totally possible the pipe has frozen in the past.

When I first saw it, I thought it has been over heated when soldered together, but over the 4 feet length, that would be impossible. So the torch to thaw the pipe makes sense.

I changed the full length of that horizontal run.

Thank you for the link Pilot Dane.
That series of videos begs the question, how often should you change a hot water tank's anode rod?
I installed 2 new tanks last year, to help keep the tanks runner longer, should I just change the rod every X number of years?
 
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Old 05-22-17, 12:55 PM
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well or city water?

Can be PH issues.
Can be electrolysis type corrosion... etc..
 
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Old 05-22-17, 05:18 PM
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I would pull the anode out after about five years. If it looks good you can go longer in the future.
 
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