Whether you own a residential or commercial property, you know the importance of maintaining plumbing systems and pipes. Like many, you may not be aware of the threat posed by internal rust.
Fortunately, our team at Advantage Plumbing specializes in rust removal. As a trusted plumber in St. Charles, we provide expert plumbing guidance, installation, maintenance, and repair services to people from all walks of life.
In this blog, we cover how to remove rust from inside pipes. As we’ll explore, rust is one of the most common yet serious threats to residential and commercial plumbing systems.
To learn more about cleaning and repairing rusted pipes, reach out to our staff with your questions today.
How Does Rust Form in Pipes?
Water works as a universal solvent. Over time, it can break down any material on earth. It should come as no surprise that water will erode plumbing pipes over time.
Waterline pipes, drain pipes, and other plumbing fixtures often use types of metal, such as copper or galvanized steel, as a base material. When water begins to break down these metals, it forms corrosion or rust.
Many water supplies possess low pH values, making them acidic. This acidity speeds up the leaching of hard metals from pipes, increasing the rate of pipe dissolution and corrosion formation.
Problems Caused by Rust in Pipes
Acidic water corrosion leads to several severe plumbing problems. Highly acidic water increasingly leaches from pipes and other environs it comes into contact with, carrying those extracted minerals and compounds with it as it goes. This leaching makes the water increasingly hazardous and toxic to health.
Problems caused by internal pipe rust include:
- Heavy metal water toxicity
- Metallic taste to drinking water
- Discolored water
- Rust build-up in hot water heaters
- Stains on plumbing fixtures like toilets, showers, and sinks
- Small leaks
- Total pipe failure
- And more
If you suspect rust in your pipes, skip the dangerous DIY wire brush fixes. Instead, schedule a detailed plumbing inspection at your earliest convenience to learn how to remove rust from inside pipes safely and effectively.
How to Determine If Your Pipes Have Rust
Rust can occur on the inside and outside of pipes. Assuming any rust visible on the outside cannot reach the inside puts your plumbing at risk. Eventually, this rust can and will eat through your pipe, leading to water contamination, reduced water pressure, leaks, and other problems.
So how do you know if your pipes have rusted on the inside? Look out for warning signs such as:
- Water discoloration
- A tangy, sharp, or metallic taste to drinking water
- Orange-red stains in toilet bowls, sinks, showers, and tubs
- Particulates in the water
- Visible rust at joints and on pipe exteriors
- Holes or leaks forming midway through pipes or around joints
Plumbing professionals have the training, knowledge, and experience to catch signs of rust that many property owners may miss. For this reason, it pays to schedule regular plumbing inspections to check for pipe rust and other potential issues.
How to Remove Rust from Inside Pipes: Targeted Methods
Professionals remove rust from inside pipes using specialized tools and methods. How to remove rust, how much rust can be removed, and whether to replace the pipes depend on a number of factors.
First, removing rust from inside pipes begins with the right tools.
Rust Removal Tools and Supplies
To remove rust from inside pipes, plumbers use a variety of tools. Those tools include:
- Rust-removing chemicals
- Wire brushes
- Replacement pipes
- Water softeners
- Electric drill
- Specialized drain snake
Professionals have the training and experience to use these tools to clean drains without further damaging a client’s plumbing systems. Never use harsh chemicals for DIY plumbing fixes; trust the professionals first.
Removing Rust from Cast-Iron Plumbing
Cast iron pipes last an incredibly long time, up to 50 years or more. Despite their durability, the iron in these pipes rusts over time. Property owners must clean their cast iron pipes periodically to maintain water quality and prevent staining and other rust-related issues.
Experts use water softeners to remove mild to moderate rust from cast iron pipes. If water softeners do not remove a satisfactory amount of internal rust, experts will use a combination of water flow and chemical rust removers.
Removing Rust from Galvanized Steel Plumbing
Galvanized pipes also corrode over time, with rust forming on the pipe’s interior and exterior.
Some water softeners may contain alkaline salts that worsen corrosion problems in galvanized steel pipes. For this reason, we recommend not attempting to use water softeners in a galvanized steel plumbing system without expert plumbing guidance.
Experts choose the best water softener for your specific plumbing system. They will carefully apply the softener in combination with gentle jets of water to dislodge the rust build-up.
If water softeners don’t work, experts may try vinegar soaks or the electric drill method to weaken and dislodge built-up rust.
Replacing Rusted Pipes
Some pipes have rusted through completely. In most cases, plumbing professionals will elect to replace these sections of pipe.
Pipe replacements offer property owners the opportunity to upgrade to more corrosion-resistant materials. Speak with your trusted plumbing professional team to learn more about plumbing options for your property.
Benefits of Working with Plumbing Professionals
Many property owners mistakenly assume that DIY plumbing fixes can save them ample time and money. However, plumbing professionals go through years of training and certification to learn critical maintenance tasks, including how to remove rust from inside pipes.
As a result, these experts provide fast and lasting solutions that pose little to no risk to you, your property, or your budget.
Get Expert Plumbing Services in St. Charles
Now that you know more about how to remove rust from inside pipes, keep browsing our blog to learn about common drain pipe problems, plumbing maintenance, and more.
Don’t let plumbing problems escalate. To work with a trusted plumbing company in St. Charles, call the Advantage Plumbing team today at (847) 613-1344.