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Formicary Corrosion

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  • Formicary Corrosion

    Here is an install of mine that may end up in litigation unfortunately...

    Background: New Construction (Habitat House) Ultra tight design (R30 Walls / R50 Roof),

    The coil pictured below is 12 months old


    Notice the Color of the Liquid Line feeding the Evaporator (The suction line insulation was removed just before pic taken)



    All of the exposed Copper is being attacked by formic acid formation
    (Here is a view inside the electrical panel notice the black starting to show up...)



    The Rinnai tankless Heater is also showing the blackening (which is the tell of formic corrosion)
    The Smoke Alarms keep going off in the house as well (replaced multiple times)

    The source of contamination is a dry floor drain (installed without any type of primer) and exaggerated by the tight nature of the construction and a negative pressure inducing exhaust fan.

    FYI and be on the look out:-)

  • #2
    Re: Formicary Corrosion

    Why not positive pressure to prevent anything being drawn from the dry drain?
    Can't seal the drain to prevent water loss?
    I'd take an educated guess - but I'm unqualified.
    It ain't just soot, it's paydirt.
    "I swear, wherever Gift goes, argument follows." -Youtube comment

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Formicary Corrosion

      Originally posted by Robert Gift View Post
      Why not positive pressure to prevent anything being drawn from the dry drain?
      Can't seal the drain to prevent water loss?
      Gravity will always ensure that they dry floor drain will vent sewer gas, wet it or seal it. Unfortunately, that is not my call.

      I'm fortunate to carry both a Master Plumbing License and A Master Mechanical License, I did not plumb this job but did watch it in the ground and tried to tell them *shrug*

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Formicary Corrosion

        Dry floor drain? Like a typical floor drain in a basement in case of a water leak? What's gettin' drawn into the residence to react with the copper? Great pics!!!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Formicary Corrosion

          So it's been determined that the Formic acid is coming from the dry floor drain? Seems unlikely to me. That much contamination in such a short time is probably internal. Carpeting, drywall, insulation, cabinetry could all be leaching formic into the atmosphere. I hope someone is monitoring CO levels in there as well.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Formicary Corrosion

            There was an interesting article in the HVAC News magazine some time ago about Chinese manufactured drywall corroding all exposed copper in homes. I'd be looking at items inside the home as well like stated above.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Formicary Corrosion

              Do a search for formic acid. I found a really good article from hydro-temp.com. Lots and lots of possible causes inside a home.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Formicary Corrosion

                The current train of thought is that the dry traps are allowing sulfur compounds into the area and those compounds are reacting with the copper.

                I do agree that it could also be one some or a combination of all of the building products used on this project as the effects are not localized but have appeared all over the house.

                I was told last week that I was going to be taken to court over this because of my faulty equipment and because 410A refrigerant eats copper

                I think the Habitat folks are calming down now and are realizing they have a big problem with this house, the copper is just now showing it to them...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Formicary Corrosion

                  Faulty 410A!!! Somebody better get on the horn and let Dupont and Refron and Honeywell and National Refrigerants and all those other guys know about this atrocity and STOP production now!!! Make sure you record this conversation...for the sheer laugh factor!!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Formicary Corrosion

                    I wonder if they know that your 410A refrigerant is on the INSIDE of the pipe Clearly it's all your fault Bill

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Formicary Corrosion

                      Another Company came out and told Habitat that there was a leak in the coil which released the 410A and it was the 410A that caused all of the copper damage.

                      How do you explain to Habitat who is just looking for someone to blame that the second opinion they hired are retarded.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Formicary Corrosion

                        Tell them what the gauges will read, show them, then say it. It couldn't have been an HVAC company. It would be good to document this now that people are throwing the C word out. I would cover my rear just in case. It is one thing to say it didn't or couldn't but to show proof of no leaks, that's another.

                        I have seen sewers run in copper for years and only find that the ones on a septic tank have problems. I was called out to a house getting ready to be sold. I wasn't called out by the owners because they somehow didn't smell it but their agent did. I went in and told them I found their odor problems. They used copper guttering instead of pipe. Once there eyes quit bugging out of their head I showed them how the septic gases ate out the top of about 15' of their sewer line.
                        AllurePlumbing.com
                        • leak detection
                        • drain cleaning
                        • utility locating
                        • conductor fault locating
                        • and other specialties.

                        Greensboro NC, Winston-Salem NC, High Point NC, Thomasville NC, Kernersville NC

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Formicary Corrosion

                          The reason I was called in the first place is the A/C was not cooling properly (I installed the system), The system was flat, I found at least a dozen separate leaks under the tree bark on the evaporator coil.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Formicary Corrosion

                            Get as many pictures as you can. I can't see this being more than a minor aggravation to you.
                            AllurePlumbing.com
                            • leak detection
                            • drain cleaning
                            • utility locating
                            • conductor fault locating
                            • and other specialties.

                            Greensboro NC, Winston-Salem NC, High Point NC, Thomasville NC, Kernersville NC

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Formicary Corrosion

                              I though I would update the story a bit and update the Pics for everyone's benefit.

                              The local gas company contacted me yesterday, they were at the house investigating a gas smell. No leaks but they decided that the Tankless water heater was improperly vented so they capped the gas supply to it.



                              The tankless water heater is also being attacked by the corrosion (The black pipe on the left is actually copper)


                              Here is an example of what the electrician is seeing when he removes switch and plug covers. (The grounds are disintegrating all over the house).



                              As a side note:

                              An unfortunate aspect of this issue is that it appears I am actually being painted the villain , I have been getting word from multiple people associated with this that an administrative person investigating this issue is actually making derogatory comments about me and my business. I'm in a small town and I believe this is already affecting my business. What would you do as a business owner in this situation? How long do you let this negative behavior continue?

                              It is unfortunate as this is a great and worthwhile organization that needs everyone's support.
                              Last edited by OkieBill; 06-22-2012, 10:49 PM. Reason: I cant spell administrative

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