Yellow brass pipes, pipe fittings and valves have recently come under scrutiny, especially after increase in the number of lawsuits filed by the property owners. Use of these components in the plumbing systems of buildings can lead to high-level damage. The very composition of these pipes is being questioned as the pipes are waning away after being used for some time. Most houses have the plumbing system made of these pipes; so if these pipes start to wear away, the system dilapidates in no time. As a property owner, you must know the problems associated with them, along with the methods to identify and deal with them.
What is Yellow Brass:
Yellow brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, with more than 30% zinc content. Property developers since the past 10-15 years have been using the alloy for pipes and pipe fittings because:
• It is much cheaper than traditional piping materials like copper
• It is easy to machine and install
These fittings and valves are also used to connect PEX pipes that further reduce the cost for the developers.
What Are the Issues:
Constant flow of water through yellow brass components lead to dezincification, a process by which zinc leaches out, leaving behind copper with low mechanical strength. A white powdery substance starts accumulating on the inside of the fitting. The process further leads to the following situations:
• The overall plumbing system weakens and may fail prematurely
• Pipes may derail, leading to flow of water into walls, floors and ceilings
• Formation of zinc oxide which get deposited in the pipe, thereby blocking the flow of water.
Identify The Issues:
Experts believe that recognizing the defects caused by yellow brass pipe fittings are difficult to detect. However, the following signs can help you in this:
• Formation of mold at places like kitchen entry and laundry room back side should be treated as an indication of dezincification.
• Pinhole leakage points which may take no time to become bigger are an indication too. These small holes can get bigger and problematic over a period of time.
• White powder deposits of zinc oxide outside the pipes.
• Reduced water supply to water heaters, dishwashers, washing machines and other appliances are a signal that it is time of inspection of pipes.
Once you start noticing these indications, get the pipes thoroughly checked. Often due to delayed reaction, the entire pipe structure is severely affected. You can consult experts in plumbing and repiping industry to understand the options you have to restore the fittings.
Dealing with issues of pipe fittings may be extremely costly. However, the only alternative is re-piping, which involves complete replacements of the components. You can learn about the process of filing lawsuit against the property developer to claim compensation for the damage caused. It may help you bear the cost of restoring the plumbing system. Remember that it is important to act on the right time, before the building components are subjected to acute damage.
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