In the United States alone corrosion costs us more than a billion dollars a year. Copper corrosion in the household plumbing systems can cost many hundreds of dollars per year. Aside from causing the pipes to fail, copper corrosion can cause damage to the household , leaving blue stains anywhere that it touches.
If there are copper pipes in a household, copper corrosion can cause tinting of the laundry and can even cause blonde or light colored hair to be tinted blue. Iron pipes can corrode and cause the pipe to simply stop working, in many cases in well under ten years time you’ll have to revamp the household piping
What is Corrosion?
Corrosion is a deterioration of something due to reacting with its environment. In very simple terms, the metal from the pipe simply dissolves because of a reaction to the water or to other environmental factors.
What Causes Corrosion?
The main causative agents of pipe corrosion in the United States are low ph or acidic water that is typically found in well water, though it may also be a problem found in municipal water systems.
The water may be running at high velocity due to smaller pipe diameter and for this reason can cause a problems with the piping that is actually wearing down.
Poor plumbing may also be a part of the problem for corrosion in the household.
The fix of course for the corrosion is to correct the problem that is causing the corrosion and to replace those pipes and other items that have become corroded. Identify the source by investigating all of those things that could possibly be causing a problem. Raise the pH if needed and check to see if the water is still corrosive as well as checking to see if anything electrical has been connected to the piping and that it has continuity.
Corrosion can cost you plenty. Making sure that you nip it in the bud is always the best option.
Certain types of rain gutters will rust. If not removed, the rust will mean replacing the gutters sooner than would be necessary. Prevention, including cleaning, is the best solution but rust does happened and needs to be treated before further corrosion occurs. You could call someone to do the job for you but you can take care of it yourself. To do this, you will need sandpaper and paint specially made for rain gutters. A siding or roofing supply store should have what you need. So you are prepared and do not need to make additional trips, purchase new straps and new sealant for the elbows. It is a good idea to see if you can tell if any parts have enough rust to require replacement parts so you will have them ready when needed.
This job normally only takes a couple of days. You will need to dismantle the downspouts through which the water drains from the troughs that catch the rainwater. Because the troughs are more difficult to put back on place, it is best to leave them where they are and clean the rust from them there. The downspouts are more easily reinstalled.
Remove the straps that hold the downspouts in place so the spouts are not secured to the side of the house. It is best to leave the elbow that connects the downspout to the trough in place since it is sealed to the trough. Sand to rust until no more rust is visible; normally rust is only on the surface of the metal. Should you sand all the way through without removing all the rust, the metal will have lost integrity and you will need to replace that part of the gutter.
After you have sanded away the rust, paint the gutters to keep them from beginning to rust again right away. after the paint has dried, reinstall the downspouts to the elbows. Inspect the sealant that holds the elbows to the troughs and if necessary, apply new sealant made for the purpose. If the straps can be reused, reattach them to secure the downspouts in place, starting at the top and working downward. It may be necessary to replace them but, fortunately, the straps do not cost much to replace.
With your rain gutters resurfaced and painted, you will not have to worry about them rusting through so water drips off the roof and goes where it could cause damage. Doing it yourself may take some time but will save money.
There are many ways that you can prevent rust in your home, the simplest way is to use metal products that are designed to be rust resistant.
One of the simplest ways to prevent rust is the use of galvanized products. Galvanized steel has been coated with zinc or cadmium, which provides resistance against rusting. Fasteners, I.E: nuts, bolts, nails, brackets, hangers etc. that are going to be used outside, or in a damp area of your home, should be galvanized. Galvanized fasteners are available in any home improvement store or hardware store. These products are easy to identify by the matte grey coating that they have on them. It is important to realize, that while galvanization prevents rust, the coating will wear off over time, particularly at the seams and joints where the coating has been compromised.
Another common product that is available that will save you the headache of rust issues is stainless steel. This is another option for the aforementioned fasteners that are used in the home. Stainless steel is steel that is impregnated with chromium; this serves the same purpose as the zinc on galvanized steel. However because the chromium is mixed in with the steel during manufacturing it cannot be worn away. Stainless steel is quite a bit pricier than the galvanized option
.However if you do not want to use galvanized or stainless steel there is another option. Coatings and paints will form a barrier between iron/steel and the moisture that will cause rust. Oiling steel or iron is a common coating method used to prevent or slow the formation of rust. For metal products inside your home or basement a simple way to prevent rust is to keep the relative humidity below 50%. This is a fairly simple process through the use of a dehumidifier. If you live in a coastal region rust can be even more of an issue, the salt that is found in the spray from the ocean will accelerate the rusting process rapidly. The only thing that can really be done about this is to clean the metal regularly. Washing off the salt residue will help to slow the formation of rust.
You should always make sure to do everything in your power to prevent rust, because it is extremely hard to stop the rusting process once it has begun. There are ways to remove the rust if it is too late though. Most professionals in the industry recommend scraping or wire brushing the metal as a simple way to remove the rust. Also sanding or low pressure sand blasting will effectively remove the rust, with either of these methods it is necessary to use caution to not go to deep past the rust layer, you don’t want to wear away at the good steel beneath. Once the rust has been cleaned up the use of rust inhibiting primer or paint will effectively slow the future formation of rust on the material. There are many effective ways of removing rust, but again the best way to prevent rust is to take the proper precautions.
Protecting Your Home with Gutter Repairs
Your gutters make up one of the most important aspects of your home exterior. Leak protection, water flow, and completing the look of your roof all comes down to your gutters. Because of this, it’s important to make sure that your gutters are well maintained and free of blockages at all times.
Gutters that are leaking, sagging, or even broken can lead to inadequate drainage and even bigger problems including rust and rot. Repairing and cleaning your gutters will not only protect the structure of your home, but also the surrounding soil, plants, trees, and pavements.
Common Aluminum Gutter Repairs
Aluminum gutters are long lasting, strong, and resilient to environmental damage. However this is not to say that they are impervious to problems.
Aluminum gutters can sometimes fail at the seals when debris has built up and allowed sealant to deteriorate. This can lead to leaks. This problem can be easily repaired by clearing the gutters of any debris and resealing them. Through this process your gutters will be as good as new.
Sometimes blockages may be so severe that gutters end up overflowing. This type of blockage can be serious if not seen to promptly. Overflowing water may enter your roof, or cause erosion damage to nearby gardens and soil. Leaves, dirt, tree limbs, and even children’s toys could be causing blockages. A professional exterior contractor will be able to clear the debris that’s causing the problem, clean and inspect your gutters, and finally reseal the gutter where required. An easy way to avoid blockages that lead to overflowing is to install gutter cover systems. These mesh covers allow your gutters to work flawlessly without allowing debris and other objects to enter the system.
Hail damage is also common, but is rarely structurally destructive. You can spot hail damage from the ground in the form of indentations and small dings. If the hail has completely punctured your gutters, you’ll need to get a professional in immediately. After any particularly bad hailstorm it’s best to have a specialist inspect your gutters for damage that could lead to future problems.
Loose, Fallen, and Sagging Gutters
In extreme circumstances your gutter could move, begin to sag, or even completely separate from the mounting spikes. This can occur after particularly harsh weather, when leakages and blocks aren’t attended to, or after the home expands and contracts due to seasonal changes.
Regularly maintaining your gutter is the best way to avoid costly gutter repairs and reinstallations.
Repairing Rusty Gutters
Steel guttering is more at risk of corrosion than modern aluminum solutions. Aluminum gutters are assembled on-site to create a seamless gutter. Unfortunately, the same is not true for older gutters.
Repairs on galvanized steel gutters are only a temporary solution, and aren’t recommended. Some contractors may offer touch ups with priming and repainting, but after time you’re going to be facing the same problem again as corrosion sets in and turns to rust. In this situation it’s best to replace your gutters, with aluminum gutters providing protection for the lifetime of your home.
Maintaining your gutters and making repairs when necessary will ensure that your seamless aluminum gutters are always working to protect your home. After storm inspection, unblocking, resealing, or even installation of mesh gutter covers are all small investments that will benefit your home for many years to come.