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Old 10-09-2013, 06:45 AM   #1
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Did I just ruin my copper pipes with steel wool?


In a master bath remodel, the floor is open and all the plumbing is visible. I have been concerned about pin hole leaks because several neighbors in my condo community have had that problem. I saw some green discoloration all over the pipes along the 6 foot area exposed in the floor. I've seen plumbers use steel wool to clean copper pipes in prep for soldering on how-to videos. I used it to remove the surface grime on all the pipes to see if the patina was superficial or deep pits. The good news is it was only surface. The bad news is after using steel wool, it occurred to me that isn't the best thing to have done and have since read online not to clean copper pipes with steel wool as it may leave tiny bits of steel in the copper surface of the pipes. Have I just damaged all the pipes in a six foot section of the plumbing in the floor?

I was concerned some of the discoloration was deep pitting that would become pinhole leaks, now I'm concerned I just created future leaks by using steel wool to clean off the grime to check for leaks.

Last edited by ghutch; 10-09-2013 at 06:49 AM.
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:02 AM   #2
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Did I just ruin my copper pipes with steel wool?


Just wipe it off with a clean rag to get the steel flakes off.
If other people are having leaking issues it's most likely because of something in the water causing it.
I would just replace all the copper with Pex or CPVC while the walls are open so there's no future problems.
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