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Epoxy coating Copper piping rather than re-piping

Q. An increasingly high percentage of our homeowners insurance claims are due to water damage caused by leaking copper pipes. I heard mention of a system that can coat the interior of copper piping with a strong epoxy. This very thin but very strong layer resists future corrosion. If this is an effective approach to reducing water damage claims, the insurance industry may offer discounts on our policies to those who have had this done.

Can anyone comment on the effectiveness of this new technology?

Frank Augusta
insurance - San Clemente, California

A. Hi Frank,

I am SURPRISED that any insurance Company would accept claims for copper pipe water damage.

W H Y ? The copper could have been a sub-grade (more likely) or the brazing done incorrectly or the supporting structure was inadequate.

We did have a problem with sub-standard Copper piping in Canada in past years, i.e., too thin a wall ... and I was never, ever involved with this at all. And if it happened in Canada, then surely it could have/would have happened in other countries, too.

As to lining the inside, ah, that sounds NICE doesn't it? But what about the connections? If brazed, then you'd have to remove the liner material and with epoxy that would be difficult & expensive ... and still no guarantee at those brazed points. The only connection that would work would be an expensive compression fitting.

I think that you are being led up the proverbial garden path!

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton [deceased]
(It is our sad duty to advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).


thumbs up signI thank you for your response to my inquiry. I understand your skepticism. However, on their web site they appear to have a credible story and some solid references.

Frank Augusta [returning]
insurance - San Clemente, California

A. Hi Frank,

What they say is that they'd force some aluminum oxide down the copper piping to remove, THEY SAY, any oxides etc ... and then pump in the epoxy. They say, too, that this is a practice in Europe and Japan for the last 30 years ... goodness, gracious me .... to think that all these other countries also have suspect copper piping for decades ... I just don't believe it...

I'm not saying that their epoxy injection system won't protect the piping ... but if it hit any valves at all, ah, then it would cause them seize up, wouldn't it? They sure would!

My background has been mainly in the (corrosion resistant) thermoplastics ... and I know nothing about this epoxy idea but it sounds GOOD, especially to the Tyro ...but I doubt that it is practical at all if one had to do any later rework, i.e., the joints would have to be re-soldered ... and how then, unless one had again to pump the epoxy through the piping, could one protect the connections?

Copper piping containing water could well fail in winter if exposed to subzero temperatures. So would any other pipe except Polyethylene. For the copper to fail is surely not the plumbers' fault but due to a poor quality copper, But what about a wet exterior condition, the presence of other metals or even electricity. That's galvanic attack and copper is a pretty good metal, corrosion-wise.

I'd suggest you contact Anaconda Copper and Brass ... and like Companies before you ponder any insurance. OK?

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton [deceased]
(It is our sad duty to advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).


Q. I am interested in learning more about copper repiping vs. epoxy. My house is 40 years old with galvanized pipes.
What grade of copper should be used to ensure a high standard/quality material?

thank you.

Jan L. Keith
- Lake Forest, California

thumbs up signI know that epoxy pipe restoration works and works well. I am an owner of a similar coating business here in Orange County. We have now coated over 10,000 copper lines and have now still never had one failure. It is true that we cannot coat through a valve or any moving parts, we use adapters to fit on the inside of shower valves, when the process is done, we replace the old working parts.

Eric Weissmann
- San Juan Capistrano, California
October 21, 2009

thumbs up sign I manage a co-op in Washington DC and we have SUCCESSFULLY used the epoxy coating on all five of our buildings with a company based in Canada.

The process is relatively simple and the results have been fantastic. We started the process in 2006 and are just finishing our 5 building this summer.

Ann Benefield
- Washington, DC
June 28, 2010

A. Yes we believe epoxy coating can do wonders if formulated properly can withstand any type of corrosion effecting copper coils.

Sachiv Dhawan
- New Delhi, India
February 26, 2015

Q. We live in an area where chloramines (created as a byproduct of water purification) cause pinhole leaks in copper water pipes. We just had this occur in a small portion of the system that was accessible (raised foundation) -- BUT since the majority of the house's water pipes are encased in a concrete foundation we are considering epoxy coating as a preemptive move to avoid a slab leak. (The plumber says it's just a matter of time.)

Since the epoxy coating has been around for a number of years now, I am interested in any feedback on how this solution is holding up. Thank you!

BJ McLaren-Wiseman
- Laguna Beach, California
August 2, 2015

Q. Is Epoxy Pipe Coating affordable for homeowners compared to other methods?

Frank Palmezzo
- Norwalk, California
April 9, 2016

A. Hi Frank. There are many youtube videos on "epoxy pipe lining" but I did not find any that were by an industry association rather than directed towards the commercial benefit of a particular company, so I don't want to put one on this page (allowing commercial benefit from a posting has proven again & again to turn the site into a spam magnet). You will see that it is a multi-step process involving thoroughly drying the pipe, then sandblasting it, then slowly advancing the epoxy through it so it unfolds without any missed spots. Time is money, exotic equipment is money, so it's certainly not cheap, but I'm pretty confident that it's the right answer for many homeowners and landlords.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
April 2016

Q. If I had a slab leak and repaired it with PEX would getting an epoxy coating damage the repair? I was told epoxy would not coat PEX, but would it have any effect on the overall coating of the copper?

John Adams
- Lakeland, Florida
April 19, 2017

Q. The building I live in was given some kind of coating treatment in the pipes maybe 3 weeks ago now. Recently I've noticed a smell in the water that reminds me of oil so I'm guessing its an epoxy resin. Are there any other coatings that might have been used, and if there's an odor, has something gone wrong with the process? I'm scared to drink from my tap now.

Melanie Nesbitt
- Kitchener, ON, Canada
June 30, 2017

A. The coating that we use is NSF 61 approved and certified annually; it's odorless and tasteless. There should be no oily smell. Occasionally we get some white pipe dope on the inside of some new fittings, this could be the source of a smell. The dope should wash out in a week or two.
We have now coated over 100,000 copper lines in Orange County and still very good results. The process and product is good yet not perfect -- nothing is. Yet with less than 1% call back rate we have proved this product is a viable solution to the copper pinhole leak problem.

Eric Weissmann
- San Juan Capistrano, California
July 14, 2017

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