Green pipes are a kind of warning light to homeowners. Think of this greening as a kind of rusting that only occurs on copper pipes. Rust can be harmless but it also signals corrosion. This is exactly the case with copper pipe oxidation. Pipes can continue to function completely fine and even sometimes better with this layer of oxidation acting as an additional waterproofing measure. An oxidized layer of copper can also be much less susceptible to other reactions. Though patina is a sign that the plumbing wasn’t done correctly in the first place, it could mean there is a leak, or a leak could spring from a corroded copper pipe.
A bad plumbing job isn’t the only reason you could be experiencing patina. Low water PH, chloramines, and particle corrosion are all additional causes for green copper pipes. Having low PH water (usually from a well) can cause those small holes that lead to patina. Chloramines are used to clean municipal water, but this combination of nitrogen and chlorine can also cause holes in piping leading to patina in the future. The final cause is caused by corrosion in your water heater. A corroded water heater can mean that small metal particles get flushed through copper pipes scratching and eventually puncturing the copper.
In any case that your pipes are already green, have a plumber assess. A plumber will be able to recommend the best course of action. In many cases, the best, most effective, and safest thing to do, is to replace your pipes. While replacing the patina ridden copper pipes might sound expensive and dramatic, it will be saving you money in the long run.
Whil green on your pipes may not mean the end of the world, to be safe, get them checked out by a professional just to avoid disaster. Take a look at our list of plumbers and call for an inspection and quote.