How Long Should Copper Water Pipes Last?

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Copper valves
Copper valves (Image: valve with shadow image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from Fotolia.com)

Longevity of the Average Copper Pipe

Copper pipes last longer than any other piping material used for plumbing. They last anywhere between 25 to 50 years, according to Atlantis Plumbing. Installation practices push the pipes to the lower or higher end of the scale.

New Pipes and Aggressive Water Don’t Mix

Municipal water chemists adjust the water’s hardness to coat the inside of copper pipes with a thin layer of calcium, states Ask the Builder. Older pipes build up a thicker layer, making them more protected. New pipes, without this protective coating, can corrode and leak after a mere 2 years when exposed to aggressive acidic water.

Bottom Line

Most people use copper pipes for over 25 years without any problems. Those with extremely acidic well water from their own well or from a municipal well experience faster corrosion. Depending on how acidic the water, this can happen in just a few years.

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