What Causes Green Discoloration on Copper Pipes? Here’s What You Should Know

Copper Pipes

Most people only pay attention to their plumbing system unless a problem occurs when it comes to home maintenance. When you do decide to inspect or have it repaired, that’s when you realize that the problem is worse than expected. That is why you should call a professional plumber immediately when you see any issues with your drains and pipes. 

Have your copper pipes turned greenish? Is that even a bad sign? What should you do if you see green spots on your copper pipes? Here’s what to know about green discoloration on copper pipes, what causes it, and the steps to take to get rid of it. 

Why do copper pipes turn green? 

Copper jewelry tends to turn green after some time. The same happens to copper pipes. Back then, old homes usually have either steel or iron pipes. Nowadays, there are many pipe materials such as PVC and copper. The latter materials are more lightweight and more durable. 

But like any other pipe materials, they could also be prone to discolorations later on. But why do copper pipes turn green? The greenish tinge you see on your pipes is called patina which is caused by several reasons. 

While the occurrence of patina is common and not an urgent health hazard, you should get rid of it. Among reasons why patina occurs are the following: 


It is the main reason why copper pipes turn green. It is the result of oxidization when copper mixes with water and air. Long-term exposure to these elements results in patina, that green/bluish-green tinge on your copper pipes. Patina is not dangerous to one’s health but can lead to burst pipes and corrosion. 

Chemical contact 

Another possible culprit for the appearance of patina on your pipes is the presence of sulfur. It causes the copper pipes to darken or turn green. It could be that the pipe came into contact with other non-compatible metals such as galvanized steel. Nonetheless, it could still be a potential hazard, especially when using cheap copper. 

Unfortunately, many builders use cheap copper pipes without the homeowners realizing it. That is until problems start to appear, including the appearance of green tinges on your pipes. 

How to remove patina on copper pipes 

Corrosion is not good news for pipes. Also, did you know that patina or some layer of oxidization can have benefits for your copper pipe? It keeps your pipes safe from other chemicals from further damaging their material. Still, make sure not to leave it in there for a long time, or it could further damage the pipe. 

Before matters get worse, make sure to deal with the greenish thing on your copper pipes. Here are tips to remove patina on your copper pipes: 

Try painting over the patina. 

Make sure to choose paints specially designed for copper pipes. It looks like real copper color and makes the green stain almost invisible. This might only be a band-aid solution, but at least it will make your pipes look better. 

Clean using natural ingredients. 

You can also use household products to get rid of patina, such as vinegar, black coffee, and lemonade. All of these items are acidic, which makes cleaning out the patina a lot easier. 

Call a professional plumber. 

If all else fails, it is better to call an expert to help with your pipe problems. Contact a professional plumber in Franklin, TN today!
Copper Pipes


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